With baseball’s All-Star Game approaching and boxing in its usual mid-Summer funk, I thought it would be interesting to try my hand at one of these corny little lists so prominently featured on A-1 supreme sources of info like Bleacher Reports and Spitbucketrejects.com.
I’m going to go through each of boxing’s seventeen weight divisions and list the character that most embodies my uncouth, hack-o-rific aesthetic…Think “All-Madden Team,” but for boxing. How fucking original, huh?
David Haye– Let’s pretend that he never fought Wladimir Klitschko, never blamed his piss-poor performance on an injured pinky toe, and never took his boot off in the ring, post-fight, to show his damaged little piggy. Haye is strong, quick, and athletic. He’s also got a big mouth, good for marketing and making headlines. He has enough big wins at heavyweight to be considered “for real” and will be fighting Tyson Fury in September. Give me a David Haye in each division and things will be alright.
Krzysztof Wlodarczyk-– Underrated and under-appreciated, The Polish Eye Chart just keeps winning and has been a world class presence in the division since 2005. His recent stoppage win of big shot Russian former amateur star Rakhim Chakhkiev (in Russia!) was pure brilliance.
Bernard Hopkins– Wanna know a secret? Bernard Hopkins has been running on fumes for about eight years now. However, a mastery of basic boxing fundamentals and old school ring psychology has kept him among the top three of his division for that entire time and has also allowed him to take big victories over light-thinking top fighters such as Antonio Tarver, Kelly Pavlik, Jean Pascal, and Tavoris Cloud. At 48, Hopkins is still at the top of the rankings and owes it all to a blue collar work ethic and a devotion to his craft.
Andre Ward– Boring? Only if you don’t like boxing. Dirty? Only if your guy is getting manhandled by him. Ward is well on his way to all-time great status at 168 (and may already be there). When you see Ward fight, you’re seeing the best in prime form.
Marco Antonio Rubio– Shocked to not see Sergio Martinez or GGG? Rubio is not an elite middleweight, but the guy is the type of old school, blue collar pug the sport just doesn’t produce anymore. Vitiligo and all, Rubio is a two-fisted battler who never stops pushing forward. After his big money loss to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in February of last year, he could’ve taken a break and lived it up a bit. Instead, Rubio fought four bouts against solid opposition in the following thirteen months. Rubio will never be the best at 160, but few fighters offer more bang for your buck as a consumer.
Carlos Molina-– Upset specialist, Molina should’ve already had a shot at a junior middleweight world title. Since 2008, Molina’s only two non-wins have been of the controversial variety— a questionable draw with Erislandy Lara and a putrid DQ loss to James Kirkland. Yes, he’s a spoiler and his style is rough on the eyes, but this kid is my kind of fighter. Molina is an underdog, less gifted than almost anyone he’ll face in the top 10-15, but he’s a tough, smart, and persistent scrapper.
Floyd Mayweather– Simply the best. I’m not apologetic at all when I say that “Money” has the skills that deserve true reverence. Love him or hate him, Mayweather is the straw that stirs the drink in the sport of boxing at the moment.
Lucas Matthysse– There’s definitely some science behind this Argentine’s violence, but why bother with lessons in ring geometry when this one-man disaster film hits the ring? Aggressive, fearless, and relentless, Matthysse is one of the most compelling performers in the game.
Miguel Vazquez– A true anomaly, El Titere (The Puppet) is a slick, crafty Mexican stylist in the ring. Still as tough as any of his banging, brooding countrymen, Vazquez has been able to keep his IBF lightweight title for three years with an all-brain and not all-ball approach to the sport.
Mikey Garcia– He hasn’t officially fought at 130 yet, but is there any doubt that the former featherweight king will also own super featherweight? Garcia offers a bit of everything for fight fans, framing picture-perfect technique around a pair of heavy hands and the fight mind of a stone cold killer.
Orlando Salido– How bad-ass is “Siri” Salido? Six months after losing to Juan Manuel Marquez in 2004, Salido was arrested for stealing a car in his native Mexico. As old school as they come, Salido learned the art of prizefighting on the tough Mexican club circuit and eventually found his way to the WBO world title and two thrilling marquee wins over Juan Manuel Lopez.
Guillermo Rigondeaux– He may have become persona non grata at Top Rank and HBO for beating proposed cash cow, Nonito Donaire, but that takes little away from his genius-level performance against The Filipino Flash and his overall tactical brilliance.
Tomas Rojas– “El Gusano” (The Worm) is another blue collar battler with more grit than pedigree. Long and lean for his division, Rojas can do a bit of everything in the ring, but usually just comes forward and digs in.
Juan Carlos Sanchez Jr.-– “Surdito” (Lefty), at 22, may have already outgrown the 115 lb. division. Before losing his IBF belt on the scale, Sanchez was already more than a year into his world title reign. Expect action and an underrated skill set whenever this boy king fights.
Edgar Sosa– Although only 33, it seems as though Sosa has been around forever. The long-reigning former junior flyweight champ is now a long-standing top flyweight contender who never, ever fails to give the fans an honest night’s work.
Roman Gonzalez-– Pound for pound one of boxing’s best offensive fighters, the 26-year-old two-division world champ,”El Chocolatito,” may run out of opposition before even reaching his full physical and professional prime.
Shakira– Who knows that many strawweights, anyway. So, let’s make this last one interesting. I’m thinking more 2002 smoldering, writhing sexpot Shakira, not the current, lactating, celebrity judge, married to a fruity soccer player version. At just under 5′ 3″, consider this Colombian queen the spinner of all spinners and much, much sexier than Nkosinathi Joyi.
You can email Paul at email@example.com or send him indirect attacks via novelty Twitter account. Paul is a full member of the Burger King Kids’ Club, a born iconoclast, and an ordained minister in the Universal Life Church.
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