Defending the flyweight division as the best weight class in boxing today
The lowest weight-classes in boxing do not always get their fair shake when it comes to mainstream attention, and I feel the flyweight division suffers from this today. Some excellent fighters have assumed their place in the flyweight division throughout history. Most recently a man by the name of Manny Pacquiao showed the first glimpses of what was to come in a glittering career when he picked up the WBC flyweight title in the late 90s.
I would actually go beyond saying the flyweights suffer from an attention deficit and say that it is in fact the best division in boxing today, and here is why.
See the full series – Which weight division is the best in boxing today?
The modern flyweight division contains enough action to fill up several highlight reels. The retirement of Pongsaklek Wonjongkam has opened the division right up, and into the void have stepped the likes of Brian Viloria, Giovani Segura and Hernan Marquez, all of whom have fought one another with entertainment being the common outcome. Segura-Marquez is one of the best fights in recent memory, in my opinion, and so was Marquez’ first bout with hard-punching Panamanian, Luis Concepcion. Throw a puncher like Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez into the mix and the flyweight division has a great mix of knockout artists and thrilling fights.
2. Star Power:
As exciting as the flyweights are, its fighters will always struggle to capture the attention in the same way a charismatic heavyweight or welterweight will. It doesn’t help that right now there is a dearth of top level English speaking flyweights out there, though names such as Yaegashi and Segura definitely carry weight in their homelands. Brian Viloria is pretty well known too, but that’s all it is, and there is no international crossover star in the flyweight division.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in how exciting the flyweights are, but beyond the wild brawls and heavy hits there is a solid division full of quality fighters. Brian Viloria and Giovani Segura have had stints in many people’s top ten pound for pound, and Roman Gonzalez sits happily at 9th in our ratings right now. Juan Francisco Estrada conquered Viloria in a fast-paced bout to emerge as a technically gifted young talent, and Japanese tough-nut Akira Yaegashi has moved up from light-flyweight to take the lineal and WBC titles from Toshiyuki Igarashi.
Yaegashi’s next opponent, Edgar Sosa takes on all comers and often triumphs, including a win earlier this year over Segura. Sure, there are no undefeated men at the top of this division, but that’s because they fight the best – each other.
4. Potential and Influence:
In the mainstream, the flyweight division will continue to be a division from which stars ascend. As well as Pacquiao, Nonito Donaire and Vic Darchinyan made a name for themselves at the weight before going on to bigger things both literally and figuratively. However, with Juan Francisco Estrada, age 22, dethroning Brian Viloria earlier this year and Roman Gonzalez stepping up to the weight class at the age of 26, the future of the division is in good hands.
Now 23, Estrada showed class beyond his years in beating a top pound for pounder like Viloria so convincingly, and he could well build and enthrall a big Mexican fan-base over the next decade. The fact that Gonzalez beat Estrada just prior to his Viloria win could also set the stage for a budding rivalry, and both men have suggested publicly they would welcome a rematch.
5. Pound for Pound:
The only pound for pound listed flyweight is Roman Gonzalez, who comes in at 9. On the fringes of our list with potential for future entry lie Estrada, Segura and Viloria.
Total Score: 16
The division’s lack of big-name star power hurts its overall positioning. But for pure excitement in a deep and competitive division, you won’t find anything better than flyweight.