Boxing: As Floyd Mayweather & Manny Pacquiao's Time Winds Down, Younger Generation Emerges
For boxing fans, two things are pretty obvious at this point in time.
One, the welterweight division is dominating ratings and popularity like never before. The days of must-watch heavyweight fights are in the past. Two, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao are well past the prime of their careers. Mayweather is set to face Andre Berto in September, while Pacquiao is still recovering from his shoulder surgery.
The young and restless are set to take over boxing in a major way.
Mayweather and Pacquiao are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 respectively in the welterweight division today, but after that an obvious trend takes place. Fighters No. 3 through No. 16 in the welterweight rankings are all under the age of 33 years old. Boxing fans are in for a great future with Keith Thurman (4) and Kell Brook (3) leading the way.
Thurman has relentlessly called out Mayweather over the last year and half, but it doesn't look like we'll get that showdown. Thurman is just 26 years old, and he has a perfect career record of 26-0 with 22 knockouts. Thurman is the most powerful puncher in the welterweight division today. In his last fight he defeated Luis Collazo in the seventh round. Thurman doesn't have a scheduled fight next.
Brook, too, is undefeated. Brook is 35-0 after defeating Frankie Gavin in his last fight. Brook doesn't have the superior knockout power that Thurman does, but he does have great technical skills that could give him a victory over anyone. Brook also doesn't have a scheduled next fight, but many would like to see him take on Thurman later this year.
Timothy Bradley, who beat Pacquiao by a controversial decision, is rumored to be facing Sadam Ali in his next fight. Bradley doesn't have huge punching power, but he has quickness and athleticism.
Another boxer who is quickly risen up the rankings is Danny Garcia. Garcia scored an impressive knockout win against Paulie Malignaggi in his fist ever welterweight match, and is now the No. 9 ranked welterweight fighter. Garcia even knockout out Amir Khan back in 2012 when the two faced off in a lightweight title match. His two wins over Mexican great Erik Morales certainly had fans turning their heads.
According to boxing reports, Garcia is open to facing Thurman in his next fight.
Felix Verdejo is also another fighter to keep an eye on. He's the No. 9-ranked Puerto Rican-born boxer in the world despite being only 22 years old. Miguel Cotto is the top ranked Puerto Rican-born boxer today, and he will face Canelo Alvarez next. Verdejo is a perfect 18-0 in his young career. Many boxing fans think he could move up six pounds (141 to 147) to the welterweight division.
As for Khan, he also doesn't have a next opponent scheduled. Back-to-back losses to Lamont Peterson and Garcia erased any possibility of facing Mayweather or Pacquiao. Khan has many doubters, but at 28 years old, he has time to mend his mistakes. Khan is 31-3 in his professional career.
Even though the two best and most popular welterweight fighters are set to retire soon, boxing fans still have a lot to look forward to with so many quality young fighters. More than likely we'll see at least two of these notable welterweight fighters go at either this year or next year.
Follow Damon Salvadore on Twitter @DamonSalvadore1
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