WELTERWEIGHT SCHEDULE HEATS UP
By TOM WATT on May 22 2015
The welterweight division has long been known as the ‘money division’ in Boxing not only because that is where the P4P King, Floyd Mayweather fights but also because of the incredible raft of talent at 147 lbs that includes fighters such as Juan Manuel Marquez, Tim Bradley, Keith Thurman, Marcos Maidana and Britain’s Amir Khan and Kell Brook to name a few. Below we have a look at some of the exciting match-ups on their way and what this means for the division.
Khan V Algieri | May 29th Barclays Center, New York
With hopes of the Brook V Khan mega-fight happening this year slipping away, British fight fans will have to make do with the pair fighting other opponents. Khan is set to take on former WBO Champion Chris Algieri in Brooklyn on May 29th at the Barclays Center. This fight doesn’t scream excitement on first reading but when you look at the styles that both men bring to the ring this could be an intriguing fight.
Khan out-boxed Devon Alexander for 12 rounds last December, making the former World Champion look average throughout the fight as he showcased his skill and speed that make him one of the most exciting fighters in the Sport at the moment. Many will expect to see him do the same against Algieri but Khan will need to try and stop the resilient Algieri if he is to make a statement May 29th.
For Algieri this fight represents a chance at salvation, after his brutal defeat to Pacquiao (where he was dropped six times en route to a lop-sided decision) Algieri needs a big win to put himself back into title contention or risk becoming a gateway fighter.
If Khan wins then his attention will no doubt turn once again to securing the elusive big-money fight with Mayweather that he has been chasing for so long now, it's a fight that would generate huge viewing figures given Khans loyal fan base in the UK and in Asia and as we all know, money talks. Algieri will see this fight as his chance at redemption and a win against Khan will put the Pac-Man defeat firmly behind him.
T2T Prediction: Khan to win by stoppage in rounds 10-12
Kell Brook V Frankie Gavin | May 30th O2 Arena, London
With Mayweather picking up Pacquiao’s WBO belt at the beginning of the month there stood only one other Welterweight Champion, Sheffield’s Kell brook. Brook beat American Shawn Porter in California last year to win his first World Title and the unbeaten fighter has made one successful defence so far. His next challenge comes in the form of his compatriot and stable-mate at Matchroom Boxing, ‘Fun-Time’ Frankie Gavin – who was ordered by the IBF to fight Tim Bradley for the mandatory position but circumvented the process via Eddie Hearn to set up the all-British clash.
‘Special K’ Brook will go in as a clear favourite for this fight and rightfully so, his recent performances have shown him to belong at the elite level and showed no signs of slowing down when he returned to the ring to dismantle Jo Jo Dan in his mandatory defence in March. Gavin on the other hand is former Olympian who’s rise to the top hasn’t been as quick as some would have hoped, when the class of 2008 came from Beijing Gavin was touted as one of the hottest prospects in the UK but it has taken him 7 years to get his first World Title shot and the former Commonwealth Champion is confident he has the skills to spring an upset on May 30th at the o2.
A win for Brook paves the way for a stadium fight in Sheffield towards the end of the Summer with a marquee name fighter, Brandon Rios and Juan Manual Marquez seeming the most likely at this stage although fans have been clamouring to see Keith Thurman make the trip to the UK. Should Gavin win then expect welterweight from around the World to be queuing up for their shot but if he is able to overcome the current Champion then it would be a fool that underestimate the talented young Brit.
T2T Prediction: A stoppage win for Brook in rounds 6-9.
Porter V Broner | June 20th MGM Grand, Las Vegas
Two former World Champions take to the MGM Grand June 20th in the ‘Battle for Ohio’ as both Ohio natives look to cement themselves another World Title shot later this year. Adrien ‘The Problem’ Broner is a former World Champion at two different weights and is rumoured to be looking to have another attempt at the Welterweight crown (having come up short against Marcos Maidana) later this year and a win over former IBF Welterweight Champion, Shawn ‘Showtime’ Porter would be a big step in that direction, albeit at a catch-weight of 144lbs.
For Porter this fight offers a chance to return to the limelight and regain some of the momentum he had before losing his World Title to Britain’s Kell Brook. Before that fight Porter was being heralded as the next big thing at 147 lbs and had been likened more than once to a Welterweight Mike Tyson – given his stocky physique, power and aggression. Brook was able to nullify all of this though and Porter will have to bring more to the table if he is to once again reach the top.
This fight on Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions represents a big risk for both fighters and is a very tough one to call, expect to see Porter be the aggressor with Broner looking to effectively counter and frustrate him. Broner is actually a more effective fighter when he begins to attack and lay traps of his own though and if he decides to take this fight t Porter we could have a tremendously entertaining battle on our hands. I expect to see this one go the cards and with that I would be surprised to see anything but a win for Broner – that being said, the blueprint for beating Broner has been laid out and Porter certainly has the ability to put it on him Broner as Maidana did if he is allowed to.
T2T Prediction: A very close fight, Split Decision win for Broner
Bradley v Vargas | June 27th StubHub Center, California
Tim Bradley has been pretty quiet since his Split Draw with Diego Chaves in which he sustained that horrendous cheek injury and did incredibly well to finish the fight, showing the grit and determination now synonymous with ‘Desert Storm’. Now though he has been placed in another tough fight, this time with Jessie Vargas for the vacant WBO World Title in California in June.
Bradley’s recent career has been littered with brutal wars and his fights with Ruslan Provodnikov, Juan Manuel Marquez and Diego Chaves cemented him in the hearts of many neutrals who saw the guts and determination of a man that wouldn’t give up.
Vargas is another fighter whose stock is on the rise and the former WBC and WBA Super Lightweight Champion is seeking to make the jump to welterweight with a bang by taking home the belt. Not known as a power puncher Vargas will be looking to outwork and out-box Bradley, with only 9 KOs in in his previous 26 wins it is unlikely that Vargas will have the power to end the night early – particularly with Bradley’s ability to stay in a fight so it is vital he gets on top early on and dictates the pace.
The StubHub Center has become known for bringing out the best in the fighters who compete there and I’d expect this fight to no different, both Bradley and Vargas bring strong supports with them and with them both hailing from California the atmosphere should be electric. If the crowd has any effect on the fighters and we see them engage in a toe-to-toe battle then my money is on Bradley but if Vargas can control the distance then he has a very strong chance of winning a belt in a second weight class.
T2T Prediction: Tough one to call but I’m going with Bradley by decision
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