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 March 2014
- Junior Middleweight Division Champion: Floyd Mayweather
I don't typically rank fighters in more than one division. However, Mayweather is certainly a rare exception, and he seems to insist on alternating fights between 147 and 154 lbs. By dominating Saul Canelo Alvarez, there's no doubt that he's the man in this division, as well as welterweight. After the Maidana fight, I'd expect him back at 154 lbs.
Top 10 Junior Middleweight Contenders
- Erislandy Lara - Lara was fast on the rise until his draw against Carlos Molina, which many had considered to be very disappointing... until Molina's string of success. Then he suffered the ultimate job of a decision against Paul Williams. The problem though was that he still didn't produce satisfying results, as the technical draw with Vanes Martirosyan proved, and even his win over Alfredo Angulo was marred by two knockdowns, and its odd ending. Lara can finally move on from all of that though with his domination of Austin Trout. Completely dominated Trout, who seemed clueless against him in there. Great performance in a big fight, with no controversy, finally.
- Saul Alvarez - Canelo finally earned his stripes with a tough, hard-fought victory over Austin Trout. The fight was close and really could have gone either way, but he deserved the win, and he scored a knockdown along the way. He came up well short against Mayweather, being outclassed throughout the bout. Looked great against Alfredo Angulo, completely dominating that fight. Let's not forget that he was supposed to look that good against Angulo, 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.
- Miguel Cotto - Coming off two losses he had to be moved down the pecking order, even though he handled himself quite well against Mayweather. Looks like his time off helped him, as did his switch to Freddie Roach. Looked better than he had in years in blowing out Delvin Rodriguez, and seems primed for a big opportunity next. Leaps over Trout, despite the loss against him, due to the difference in how they each performed in their most recent efforts. Moving up to middleweight to challenge Sergio Martinez in June.
- Demetrius Andrade - The highly talented Andrade had been brought along agonizingly slowly. Finally got a big fight, and a big win, over Vanes 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.
- Jermell Charlo - Charlo is another guy who hadn't exactly faced the best of competition. But then he stepped up against Gabriel Rosado, and really had a chance to display his skills. Brother Jermall gets a title shot next, but Jermell is riding high and could land a big fight this spring.
- 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.
- 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 tough fight for anybody.
- 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.
The rest of the pack: Alfredo Angulo, Gabriel Rosado, Jermall Charlo, Vanes Martirosyan, Glen Tapia, Delvin Rodriguez, Ishe Smith, Luciano Cuello, Cornelius Bundrage, Sergey Rabchenko, Brian Rose