Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao was a fight long in the making, the two biggest Boxers of the noughties came together in what was the end of an era. In their prime both men were selling 1 million plus PPV’s frequently, any fight weekend involving either Pacquiao or Mayweather were huge events on the sports calendar.
Floyd Mayweather became a celebrity sports star who’s name was easily recognized even by people that hadn’t ever seen him fight, often seen pictured in public with the latest luxury cars and eye-catching jewellery. Whether he was spotted at a basketball game or tweeting a picture of his high stake betting slip you couldn’t go long without hearing something about Floyd Mayweather. The outspoken American backed up his brash talk by remaining undefeated throughout his career. A master of defense in the ring & a master of self-promotion outside of it.
Manny Pacquiao’s stardom was propelled by his all-action fighting style. The more difficult the competition got the more spectacular the performances became. Pacquiao’s rags to riches story had been well documented capturing the imagination of sports fans far and wide. Unique to him was the happy go lucky personality outside of Boxing that accompanied such a ruthless style in the ring. Pacquiao also juggled a career as a politician whilst writing one of the most legendary stories in the history of boxing.
Since the two men squared off ensuing opponents have been somewhat irrelevant, Pacquiao fighting guys below the level he was facing at his best. Mayweather choosing to retire, up until recent fan interest in a boxing match with MMA’s Conor McGregor caught his attention.
Boxing has a huge vacancy to fill in terms of having a marquee star, so let’s focus on the talent that has the potential to fill that vacancy in the coming years.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez
Boxing record: 48 wins (34 by ko) 1 loss, 1 draw.
Notable wins: Shane Mosley, Austin Trout, Erislandy Lara, James Kirkland, Miguel Cotto, Amir Khan.
Perhaps the most obvious candidate is Canelo, Another in a long line of talented Mexican fighters who have found success and an ever growing hardcore fan base on American soil. At the tender age of 26, Alvarez already has lots of experience in terms of ring time with top level competition. I believe Alvarez is one blockbuster fight away from becoming the next Mayweather or Pacquiao. Gennady Golovkin is the fight he needs in order to catapult himself onto the next level, a win over Cesar Chavez Jnr in May open’s the door to Canelo vs Golovkin either late in 2017 or early 2018.
Terence “Bud” Crawford
Boxing record: 30 wins (21 by ko), 0 losses.
Notable wins: Ricky Burns, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Viktor Postol.
The most well rounded from this list of fighters in terms of skills, marketability and in-ring entertainment would be Terence Crawford. Crawford’s list of opponents isn’t as impressive as Canelo’s, however intriguing fights with Mikey Garcia, Adrien Broner & Manny Pacquiao are on the horizon. Currently, a two weight world champion (lineal champion in both weight divisions). Crawford has the frame to compete as a welterweight opening up even more possible match-ups and the ability to become a champion in three consecutive weight divisions in the future.
Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko
Boxing record: 7 wins (5 by ko), 1 loss.
Notable wins: Gary Russell Jr. Roman Martinez, Nicholas Walters.
With a reported amateur boxing record of 396-1, Vasyl Lomachenko is one of the most decorated amateurs of all time. Along with an inconceivable record, he’s also the owner of two Olympic gold medals in two separate weight classes & two World Amateur Championship gold medals in two separate weight classes. After eight fights as a professional Vasyl is already a two-weight world champion, winning his first world title in only his third fight. His style is exactly what you would expect from a veteran of over 400 fights, a free flowing dance of efficient movement accompanied by unparalleled timing & fluid punch mechanics.
Errol “The Truth” Spence
Boxing record: 21 wins (18 by ko) 0 losses.
Notable wins: Chris Algieri, Leonard Bundu.
Last but not least is the wildcard. Spence is a young prospect, he hasn’t been tested by any of the top 10 ranked guys at welterweight as of yet but he will get the chance to showcase his skill against Kell Brook on May 27th. Even as an amateur Spence had a style better suited to the Professional version of the sport, all about punching to damage not just to score. Spence has thunderous power but far more deceptive due to his size is his hand speed. I expect him to shine on May 27th against Kell Brook & make his mark on a talent-laden division.