Saturday, October 27, 2007

Boxing Blogging: Super Middleweight Division

For a long time, the super middleweight division had been somewhat of an ugly step-sister in the world of boxing. With the glut of talent from welterweight to middleweight, 168 pounds was where interest started to fade into the likewise unimpressive heavyweight ranks.

But recently, the supers have gotten a serious shot in the arm, and the future looks bright. Topping the list of upcoming boxing excitement is the unification bout between fellow undefeated titleists Joe Calzaghe (43-0, 32 KOs) and Mikkel Kessler (39-0, 29 KOs). Calzaghe and Kessler are indisputably numbers one and two in the division, making this fight all the more meaningful as a legitimate case of the best fighting the best. Even the loaded welterweight division can't do that, given that after pound-for-pound #1 Floyd Mayweather, it'd be impossible to decide who the legitimate #2 guy is (Shane Mosley? Miguel Cotto? Paul Williams?).

But even after the Calzaghe/Kessler mega-fight, there are some interesting events on the horizon -- most notably from middleweights decided to jump up to the division. Contender Allan Green (25-1, 18 KOs) is moving up to the division, and the "1" on his record, slugger Edison Miranda (28-2, 24 KOs) may well join him. Former division champion Jermain Taylor (27-1-1, 18 KOs) is widely expected to move up after he fights his rematch against Kelly Pavlik (32-0, 29 KOs), who I also wouldn't be surprised to see move up in weight after a few defenses.

Meanwhile, this season of "The Contender" is taking place at super middleweight. I know a lot of folks like to rap on ESPN's reality series. But the fact is, the level of competition on the show has gotten better every year, and the fighters remaining in the tournament (Jaidon Codrington, Sakio Bika, and Sam Soliman) all are live names in the division. Bika and Soliman have both presented themselves quite well against the top names at their weight classes. As for Codrington, after being on the wrong end of the 2005 knockout of the year (at the hands of Allan Green), he's rattled off nine straight victories and has torn through the Contender ranks, winning his two bouts in less than three rounds. Because of the speed and brutality of his knockout loss to Green, some folks question Codrington's chin. But in my opinion, anyone can get clipped, and while I do sometimes raz on Green, he's an excellent fighter with a killer instinct -- the sort of guy that'd threaten anybody in their 10th pro fight. Codrington has shown resilience coming back from that beating, and I personally think a re-match down the road (which is not out of the question, given that they are both on title contention paths) would be very intriguing (not to mention marketable).

No comments: