Welterweights in Boxing: A Division of Depth and Legends
The Welterweights are currently the cream of the boxing crop. Aside from the run of heavyweight title fights including either Mike Tyson or Evander Holyfield, it has been the welterweights that have dominated the pay per view numbers, with fights such as De La Hoya vs. Mayweather, De La Hoya vs. Trinidad and Mayweather vs. Mosley shattering Pay Per View records. This division is a division chock full of depth, marketable talent, rivalries, and an uncanny ability to generate revenue. With a division so deep in talent, it is always interesting to think about who will be remembered 20 or even 50 years from now as the fighter from this era who is the most talented and impacted the sport the most
Of course Sugar Ray Robinson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Jose Napoles, Tommy Hearns, Felix Trinidad, Henry Armstrong and others will be mentioned as some of the best and most remembered Welterweights of all time, but the question is, who will emerge from this great generation of Welterweights in the 2000’s as not only the most talented, but as the fighters with the greatest impact on the sport.
The seemingly unstoppable Manny Pacquiao with his blazing speed, awkward angles and power in both hands; the slick, quick and ridiculously talented Floyd Mayweather Jr. who talks a big game but sure as hell backs it up in the ring; the tremendous skill and Hall of Fame career of Shane Mosley; the always dangerous aggression of Miguel Cotto, the wily veterans like Luis Collazo and Carlos Quintana, and the powerful emergence of Andre Berto.
This is all part of the current cast of the Welterweight division and each match up creates a lot of buzz. It is this buzz and marketability that will be remembered the most about this division and two great Welterweight fighters come to mind when it comes to selling out arenas and backing up their revenue generating skills with unstoppable skills in the ring.
Biggest Impact on Boxing and the Welterweight Division
Despite the talent of fighters such as Mosley and Pacquiao, the fighters who will have the most long standing impact on the Welterweight division are two fighters with tremendous talent and possibly even more tremendous marketability: Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Oscar De La Hoya. This is for both the Hall of Fame careers they’ve developed in the ring as well as their popularity, which has transcended boxing and created tremendous streams of pay-per-view revenue, making them the biggest non-heavyweight attractions in the history of the sport.
De La Hoya has defeated 19 current or former World Champions won 10 world titles in six different weight classes and has generated over $696 million in Pay-Per-View income. For over a decade he was the poster boy of boxing and he has had an impact on the sport both as a fighter and a founding member of Golden Boy Promotions.
De La Hoya was such a popular figure in boxing and was able to lift the sport to new heights and bring a new level of appeal to boxing. He was not only very talented but very popular with the media and fans as well. He was one of the best-known and most well liked boxers in the history of the sport.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Floyd Mayweather. Mayweather is currently one of the pound for pound best in the sport and has developed a solid 41-0 record and remains untouched and unhurt in the ring. He is also a boxing promoter’s dream because everyone has an opinion on Floyd. You either love his swag, confidence and ego and want to watch him roll over the Welterweight division, or you view him as tremendously arrogant and want to see another fighter shut his big mouth.
Either way, you can’t deny his talent and his ability to win fights. It may not be in the most exciting fashion, but Floyd knows how to win and his ability to create such a distinct and controversial personality for himself outside of the ring, while reigning supreme as the best of the sport in the ring ,will make him a fighter who will be remembered for years. He’s a fighter who brings both notoriety and revenue to the sport.
The recognition for greatest talent of this great Welterweight era goes to two fighters who dominant their opponents using far different styles but remain unmatched in the ring, even by a division as solid as the current Welterweight division. Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Pacquiao has established himself as one of the pound for pound kings and the most dominant fighter in the world. Before you can even begin to figure Pacquiao out in the ring, he is already hitting you with powerful shots at speeds and angles that can’t possibly be predicted. He has humiliated Oscar De La Hoya, knocked Ricky Hatton out cold before viewers could even blink, broke Miguel Cotto down on all levels and thoroughly dominated Joshua Clottey. And all this has happened in the last two years. Nobody seems to have an answer for Manny, not even the best in the division.
Only Floyd Mayweather is as dominant as Pacquaio, but he establishes his dominance by breaking his opponents down mentally before the fight even starts and simply out-boxing them. In all of his 41 wins, his opponents seemed to be one step behind him at all times and simply unable to hit him let alone hurt him. He may not have the explosion and excitement level as Manny Pacquiao but he sure has the talent.
These three fighters will come out of this division as the most talented and most memorable: De La Hoya and Mayweather for their impact on the sport and marketability and Pacquaio and Mayweather for their raw talent, dominance and skill in the ring. Of course it goes without saying that the best way to get a more clear answer on their legacies is to finally see the highly anticipated Pacquiao vs. Mayweather battle in the ring.