The junior middleweight division is not a historically famous one. Rather, it has more been the spot of great welterweights on their rise up through further weight divisions or smallish middleweights who couldn't compete with the bigger bangers at 160. However, that is thankfully no longer the case. And a crop of rising stars makes the future of the division very promising. Here's a look at boxing's super welterweight or junior middleweight weight class rankings, one of the sport's hottest and most exciting divisions.
Junior Middleweight Division Rankings (154 lbs.) Last Updated August 2014
Junior Middleweight Division Champion:
- Record: 46 (26) - 0
- Next Fight: Rematch vs. Marcos Maidana on September 13th
Floyd Mayweather is the only two-division champion we currently recognize. Certainly, he's a rare exception, and it's not just his skill or his prolonged reign of dominance, but also the fact that he does indeed remain active in both divisions, basically alternating between 147 and 154 lbs. By dominating Saul Canelo Alvarez, there's no doubt that he's the man here, as well as Welterweight. His rematch against Maidana is technically for his title strap in this division too -- but NOT our World Championship. He'll need to come back to 154 lbs next to maintain status here, but who's there for him to face?
Top 10 Junior Middleweight Contenders
- Saul Alvarez - After earning his stripes against Austin Trout, coming up very, very short against Floyd Mayweather, and coming back against Alfredo Angulo, Canelo scored a close, but deserved, victory over Erislandy Lara. The 117-111 scorecard was ridiculous, but there was no robbery there. What's next? Without many big options for him here, he may be moving up in weight.
- Erislandy Lara - Ultimately, Lara wasn't able to convince the judges that he did enough to defeat Canelo, which is exactly the problem he has always had, haunting him in performances against Carlos Molina and Vanes Martirosyan. He's had plenty of bad luck along the way, including the all-time stinker of a decision against Paul Williams years ago. After completely dominating Trout, who seemed clueless against him, the Canelo performance was a touch uninspired.
- Demetrius Andrade - The highly talented Andrade had been brought along agonizingly slowly. Finally got a big fight, and a big win, over Martirosyan. Suffered a flash knockdown, but really outclassed his fellow U.S. Olympian in the bout, and now has the title and credit to be able to land an even larger fight. Blew right past Brian Rose, as was expected, and is now looking at big names. We'll see if anybody wants to face him, though.
- Carlos Molina - Hard luck Carlos Molina finally picked up a title strap against Ishe Smith. Wasn't exactly an inspiring performance, but nevertheless, he got the job done. Has that draw against Lara, and that absurd DQ against Kirkland by the ridiculous Texas boxing commission. Had his fight against Jermall Charlo cancelled after running into past legal issues. Unfortunately, that only further slows his momentum. Looks to be back in action this October against Cornelius Bundrage.
- Jermell Charlo - Charlo stepped up against Gabriel Rosado, and really had a chance to display his skills. Was dominant, if not exciting, against Charlie Ohta after that. Now he's in line for a big fight, it would seem, but it won't come against stablemate Lara or twin Jermall, so who?
- Willie Nelson - Nelson has been on a tear since the lone setback of his career in 2011. He handed two undefeated fighters their first L, in John Jackson and Yudel Jhonson, knocked out Michael Medina in Round 1, and then got past a tougher than expected challenge against Luciano Cuello. Was hoping to get a fight against Andy Lee, but ended up on the outside looking in. Fought twice in two months after being on the shelf for a year following the Cuello win.
- Andy Lee - Andy Lee scored perhaps the knockout of the year with his devastating one-punch counter finish against John Jackson. Lee had been hurt and in trouble in the fight, but showed that he has legit fight-changing power in his new division. Coupled with his size, he can be a difficult outing for most guys if he can protect his own chin along the way.
- James Kirkland - The Mandingo Warrior is back once again. You can't ever say goodbye to him for good. Thrashed the unbeaten Glen Tapia in a Fight of the Year caliber showing in his return to action for the first time in 18 months. A must-watch fighter, and a nightmare opponent, for anybody.
- Austin Trout - It's hard to mark him down much for the Canelo fight, which was close, and he holds that win over Miguel Cotto as well. But he really looked miserable against Erislandy Lara. Inept. Confused. Clueless. Whatever descriptors you want, it was an ugly, ugly one-sided loss that hurts his standing. Styles make fights, of course, but Trout needs somebody with a style that matches up well with his in a hurry to come back with.
- Ishe Smith - There's not too much shame in losing a split decision to Carlos Molina. Smith had finally broken through with a title-strap win over Cornelius Bundrage, and he seems hungry to fight himself back into position for another major fight. We'll see.
The rest of the pack: Vanes Martirosyan, Jermall Charlo, Alfredo Angulo, Gabriel Rosado, Julian Williams, Glen Tapia, Delvin Rodriguez, Luciano Cuello, Cornelius Bundrage, Sergey Rabchenko, Brian Rose