"Caught in the mix of the scuffle since '86 I was sick with the hustle. I'll get a couple of chicks to touch you. You featherweight f*cker don't ever hate on this brother man!"
Jay-Z, from 'People Talk'
I don't really know why Jay had to single out the featherweights, as if they're a bunch of creme cakes. They're not. That division is loaded with a plethora of fast, super-quick and powerful fighters in their own right. No ascendance to greatness for late night Fatburger tough guy Floyd Mayweather could ever be obtained without first going through the gauntlet of the featherweight division.
Floyd now resides firmly entrenched in the storied 147lb welterweight division where he generally reigns supreme. But right beneath him (or 15 lbs north of featherweight) lies the place made famous by the likes of Chavez, Pryor, Cervantes, and Tszyu. Today, there's no shortage of stars either residing in the 140lb super lightweight division or hovering pretty close to it. This leaves my rather imaginative mind room to consider some fights I'd like to see in this weight class (and I'm guessing you'll like these fights too).
THE SUPER LIGHTWEIGHT WARS
Mauricio Herrera, who dragged kingpin Danny Garcia through the depths of hell in a fight I thought he won earlier this year, can't be found in The RING's clueless 10 best of the division (but Zab Judah is #6, go figure). He never-the-less factors heavily as a potential game changer in the division.
We've already seen Lucas Matthysse destroy Lamont Peterson, so why would Garcia face Peterson before resolving unfinished business with Herrera? The same Herrera who made a name for Ruslan Provodnikov in another fight I thought he won.
In a perfect world, Boxing would operate just like the UFC and MMA does - which I believe this new BKB is trying to do; give fans the absolute best fights money can buy, all politics and closed door executive bullsh*t aside.
In 2014, its about as hard for many Americans to pay a bill than it is for Congress to pass one that makes sense.
Bernard Hopkins (more on him in a minute), the still history making all-time great and pioneer of so many things in the sport, just proved how easy it is put bullsh*t aside and make a fight that HBO, Showtime, Goldenboy or even Top Rank would've never agreed to a just year ago when he pulled off the Sergey Kovalev coup.
Alright- I'm getting a little off track here, but so what? If that can be made for essentially history and the love of the game, than so can these gems at super lightweight.
Terence Crawford vs. Adrien Broner
The WBO lightweight champ just came off a knockout performance over Yuriokis Gamboa, coming in weighing a gargantuan 147 on fight night. The mega-mouthed Broner was the same weight while defending his WBC lightweight title against Gavin Rees last year. Crawford is 26 and Broner is 25. Sure, he got his ass kicked against Maidana, but that was at 147. This is the kind of fight that boxing needs.
This fight would be nothing short of ruthless. Its Proverbs 27:17, iron against iron, and what a bloody affair this would be. Its like Che Guevera against Joseph Stalin. Ok I've gone too far.
Danny Garcia vs. Mikey Garcia
Why not? Everyone knows that Mikey (involved in a nasty legal beef with Top Rank), one of the most talented fighters in the sport, is a really "big" super featherweight. Its also not exactly a secret that he spent a considerable amount of time helping Marcos Maidana get ready for his showdown with Mayweather, and he's doing the same thing for part II. That said, he's not too small for Danny and Danny isn't too big for Mikey. It would be a hot fight. Besides, he's a serious upgrade over Rod Salka for Christ's sake.
Lamont Peterson vs. Mauricio Herrera
Somehow, Peterson was able to leave the ring with his IBF belt after being ambushed by Matthysse last May. And somehow, Danny Garcia was able to leave the ring with his RING, WBA and WBC belts after really being thrashed by Herrera in his native Puerto Rico this past March. Herrera deserves another title shot and Peterson needs to make a really valid defense before getting a Garcia fight (we ALL know he doesn't need a rematch with Matthysse). This'll do.
Chris Algieri vs. Mike Alvarado
By the time Algieri goes all the way around the world only to China, only to get seriously beaten all the way back to New York by Manny Pacquiao, he'll still be the WBO super lightweight champion. My guess is Alvarado (who's only lost to some real dawgs in the game) will get back in the mix. HBO still loves him, and will still love Algieri enough to showcase a world title defense against Alvarado. Two really tough bastards in a do or die stand-off.
Rising Star: Mike "Yes Indeed" Reed
Top Rank recently signed the 10-0 (6KO's) Maryland native, who when I asked who he'd compare himself to, he didn't hesitate to say "Pernell Whitaker". How tough is he mentally? He lost his first 4 amateur fights before winning the vast majority of the next 100 or so. With fast hands behind a super slick southpaw style, gym rat Reed has regularly engaged the likes of Adrien Broner and Lamont Peterson in camp while more than holding his own. At only 21, the ceiling is rather high for the College of Southern Maryland student majoring in accounting.
IS BKB THE FUTURE OF BOXING?
Perennial journeyman tough guys Gabriel Rosado and Brian Vera, fighters best known for wars with Gennady "GGG" Golovkin and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. respectively, will fight for the inaugural BKB middleweight championship at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas tonight.
So just what the hell is this BKB?
A promoter connected to the event that I immediately liked (who also represents a fighter and fellow New Yorker on the card by the name of Darnell Jiles), brought it to my attention and thought I might want to cover it.
I'm glad she contacted me.
This is potentially ground-breaking and can affect boxing as we know it, if the public responds to it positively tonight. Ticket sales have been brisk. Besides Darnell, there are two other guys I know out of Chicago fighting on this card tomorrow, Fearless Fernando Hernandez and King David Estrada (its available via BKB's creator DirecTV PPV for 29.95, and instead of hacking it like I normally would, I'm gonna buy this sh*t).
I'm really curious to see how this event unfolds and how fans react to it.
In talking to Darnell and his management, they were initially reluctant to get involved in it. There's no Boxrec recording with these fights, and its only sanctioned to take place in Nevada and New Hampshire. To go from say a 20 x 20 squared circle with ring ropes, to a gladiator-like "circle" that measures 17 feet around with an emphasis on war - is one hell of an adjustment. Darnell's manager actually killed me over the phone, likening it to fighting on some sort of futuristic "Jetsons" platform. But this event has produced features from major media outlets from all over the world, so obviously a lot is at stake, not just for the fighter's featured in this event, but combat sports itself.
IBF welterweight champ Shawn Porter will again put his fearsome style on display against long-time English star Kell Brook, who's finally getting a title shot after a 10 year odyssey. Both are undefeated and its an interesting clash, but I expect Porter to overwhelm Brook in about 8 really competitive rounds to set up a showdown with Keith Thurman Jr.
Apparently Andre Ward had his people go after "GGG" following statements from Golovkin trainer Abel Sanchez seemed to imply that Ward's inactivity really kinda made him irrelevant at the bargaining table. A representative of Ward started doing a whole lot of what he's been doing lately instead of fighting: talking into a microphone from a safe distance. Even suggesting Golovkin is ducking Ward.
Hmmm.. I like Andre, a lot, but when you've let potential fights with Adonis Stevenson, Sergey Kovalev, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Sergio Martinez or even Bernard Hopkins slip away while seemingly waiting for the stars to align perfectly - talk goes out the window. He either takes himself too seriously, or doesn't take his career seriously enough. "B" side or "A" side, who gives a sh*t? Just get back in the ring Andre.
And finally, this excellent observation from an astute fight aficionado on social media:
"I am Wondering If Al Haymon Reached Out to Bernard Hopkins and They Agreed for Him to Fight Kovalev........Because Once That Deal Was Reached for Hopkins to Fight Kovalev Kathy Duva Dropped the Lawsuit Against Haymon........"
Leslie Catherine Fanning, Boxmatic
Leslie I think that's exactly what happened. I remember Kathy Duva being irate over Adonis Stevenson's signing with Haymon and then his immediate departure from HBO- which essentially iced the network and froze Sergey Kovalev out of a division blockbuster fight. The threat of the lawsuit produced a sort of singularity and is probably a very good sign for the sport. Haymon was about to be exposed in litigation for essentially monopolizing the sport and preventing a number of match-ups for years now. He knew it. In looking at this development, and Richard Schaefer's exit from Goldenboy (who remains very close to Haymon) at the behest of Oscar De la Hoya (who is back on friendly terms with Bob Arum), it is now easy to see who and what was responsible for preventing a superfight the entire world wanted to see between Mayweather and Pacquiao.