Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Recent Shakeup Of The 140lb. Jr. Welterweight Division

On October 3rd two world championship fights took place to fill vacancies of the WBC and WBA Jr. Welterweight world championships that were previously held by Danny Garcia. In a bout for the World Boxing Association (WBA) world championship three-division world champion Adrien Broner scored a one-sided twelfth round stoppage of former International Boxing Organization (IBO) world champion Khabib Allakhverdiev in Broner’s hometown of Cincinnati, OH.

The story of this fight was Broner’s ability to be crisp and accurate with his offense as he picked his shots and battered Allakhverdiev for the majority of the twelve round bout. In what was his debut at 140lbs. , I was impressed by Broner’s approach in that he appeared to be all business for the majority of this fight and overall it was an impressive performance over a very “Game”, but over matched opponent in Allakhverdiev.

All of the facets which made Broner a three-division world champion prior to this fight were present. The ability to not only use quick hands and be accurate, but also to be solid defensively and not allow Allakhverdiev to get off consistently with his offense. Although this victory has given Broner his fourth world title in as many weight classes, there may be some who might criticize the WBA for sanctioning this fight for its vacant world championship.

The basis of the criticism would stem from the fact that Broner was rated number two in the world by the WBA prior to this fight while Allakhverdiev was rated number five in the world by the same organization. The WBA has since 2001 implemented a procedure with regard to their world titles in that one fighter can be designated as a “Super Champion” in instances where that fighter might be a unified world champion and hold more than just a WBA world championship in a given weight class. Meanwhile, a fighter or fighters in the same weight class are deemed as having interim/regular champion status in the WBA ratings.

As this observer has stated before although this structure would appear to ensure that top contenders get an opportunity to fight for a world championship whether the recognized WBA champion fulfills their obligations by defending their title against the fighter who holds interim/regular status as being technically the number one mandatory contender or not, it has created confusion among Boxing fans. In regard to the Broner-Allakhverdiev fight, they were fighting for the full championship of the WBA at 140lbs. It should not however, be ignored that the current number one contender who holds interim/regular status currently is Jose Benavidez and one may wonder why the number one contender was not involved in a fight to determine a new world champion and why that championship was decided between the number two and number five rated contenders. The politics of the sport notwithstanding, it does not take anything away from Adrien Broner’s performance and he has clearly established himself as a player in the Jr. Welterweight division and it will be interesting to see whether or not the political landscape of the sport will allow Broner to defend his world title against Benavidez in the near future.

The second fight that took place was a bout for the World Boxing Council (WBC) world championship at 140lbs. between undefeated WBC number one rated contender Viktor Postol and number two rated Lucas Matthysse in Carson, CA. This was a very competitive fight where both fighters were able to have periods of success. As the rounds went on it was Postol who was able to take over the tempo of the fight keeping Matthysse at distance with his jab and landing crisp combinations.

Postol not only showed the ability to outbox one of the Jr. Welterweight division’s hardest punchers, but he also showed the ability to take a punch when he had to. Gradually as the fight progressed Postol was able to wear Matthysse down and a counter right hand brought an end to the fight in the closing seconds of the tenth round. Along with winning his first world championship, Postol also became the only fighter to score a knockout of Matthysse, who has been one of the division’s cornerstones for several years.

These two fights ultimately did succeed in the purpose of filling the vacancies left by Danny Garcia as he has moved up to the 147lb. Welterweight division. The question now becomes who is the number one fighter at 140lbs.?

There are currently five recognized world champions in the division. Viktor Postol the WBC world champion, Adrien Broner the WBA world champion, Cesar Cuenca the IBF world champion, Terence Crawford the WBO world champion and the IBO world champion Eduard Troyanovski.

It will be interesting to see if one of these five fighters can emerge as the dominant fighter in the Jr. Welterweight division. Although there will likely be a difference of opinion for a period of time as to who is number one, it is something that could and probably will take time to materialize. With Postol and Broner successfully winning world championships, the attention will now turn to undefeated two-division world champion Terence Crawford as he prepares to defend his world title against former world title challenger Dierry Jean on October 24th in Omaha, NE.

Although it will likely take time for one of these fighters or perhaps a top contender to emerge as the division’s central figure, there is no question that a division that has historically deep in terms of talent remains just that a very deep and competitive weight class where several fights could be made that could be considered a toss-up. This observer looks forward to providing analysis and thoughts as the Boxing world waits for the next dominant Jr. Welterweight to emerge.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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