State of the Welterweight Division – Huge Fights Coming Up
From Henry Armstrong and “Sugar” Ray Robinson back in the day, to legends “Sugar” Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns in the early 80s, to modern Hall of Famers like Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, the welterweight division throughout history has been one of boxing’s most exciting and competitive weight classes.
Today, with the heavyweight division still trying to regain its former glory, the 147-pound weight class is without-a-doubt boxing’s best. 2017 will bring some excellent fights to a division stacked with talent and big names. Let us take a look at the top contenders in the welterweight division, as well as the best match-ups on the schedule for the upcoming months.
First, here are my personal welterweight rankings. These rankings are based off both potential for the future and resume/accomplishments.
Upcoming Boxing Welterweight Rankings
- Keith Thurman (WBC/WBA “super” champion)
- Danny Garcia
- Shawn Porter
- Manny Pacquiao (WBO champion)
- Errol Spence Jr.
- Kell Brook (IBF champion)
- Lamont Peterson (WBA “regular” champion)
- Timothy Bradley, Jr.
- Amir Khan
- Adrien Broner
The welterweight division is so good right now, that you have names like Andre Berto, Jessie Vargas, Adrian Granados, and Felix Diaz not even in my Top 10, among others.
Thurman is the clear number one after beating Danny Garcia decisively. Thurman showed once again his durability, power, and hand speed. Even though Garcia was outclassed on March 4th, he still proved why he deserved to be in the ring fighting for that top spot; his power and counterpunching ability did enough to keep Thurman honest.
Shawn Porter did well against Keith Thurman back in June of last year and took some hard shots from “One Time” en route to a tough decision loss. Despite his obvious lack of an elite defense, Porter has the speed, power, and chin to compete with anybody in the division.
Though Porter lost to Kell Brook a few years ago, he has done a bit more recently than the Brit, who I have ranked just under his next opponent, 27-year-old Errol Spence Jr. Spence hasn’t faced elite competition yet, but he has done what he was supposed to do against B-level fighters like Leonard Bundu and Chris Algieri.
Lamont Peterson has some solid wins under his belt as of late, and his performance against Danny Garcia in 2015 was impressive despite losing on the cards. The next couple of fighters, Tim Bradley and Amir Khan, have not done anything lately to warrant being ranked any higher. Adrien Broner did well against Granados in February and is on a nice three-fight winning streak after losing to Shawn Porter back in 2015.
Upcoming Welterweight Fights
Shawn Porter vs. Andre Berto (April 22)
Berto looked a bit shaky early against Victor Ortiz but got the job done at the end of the day. Will he have the firepower to keep “Showtime” Shawn Porter off of him? I don’t think so. Porter is a different animal and if Berto is not adequately prepared going into the fight, things could get ugly. Should be a very entertaining fight regardless.
Kell Brook vs. Errol Spence Jr. (May 27)
England’s Kell Brook has defended his IBF title three times against questionable competition, but this time he will have to take on a fighter of equal caliber in Errol Spence. Brook stated he was having problems getting down to 147 before he went up to 160 to fight Gennady Golovkin. Will he miss weight? Most likely not. The question is will he be healthy and strong enough to fight a young, undefeated up-and-comer like Spence? A less than 100% Kell Brook absolutely does not beat Errol Spence, even at home in Sheffield.
UPDATE: Pacquiao will not face Amir Khan next
Manny Pacquiao vs. Amir Khan (Date TBD)
Well, the fans got what they wanted. Instead of facing Australian Jeff Horn, Manny Pacquiao will take on the popular Brit Amir Khan this summer (and make some nice money in the process). Should be a tough match-up for both fighters. Khan has the height, the reach, and the age on his side, but will he be able to survive twelve rounds with an all-time great? Even a 38-year-old version of Manny Pacquiao is an awkward, tough opponent for any welterweight, and we all know how Khan’s chin is.
UPDATE: Pacquiao will not face Amir Khan next
With these big-time fights scheduled, we can be sure to see even more great fights later in the year.
It looks to be an excellent year for boxing so far, especially in the sport’s welterweight division.
Comment with your opinion on the rankings and the upcoming fights on the schedule.
Image By Denzel1312nico (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons