Boxing: Helter Skelter in the Welterweight Division for 2018
The deepest and most intriguing division in boxing heading into 2018 for fight fans is the welterweight division. With a tremendous amount of talent scattering the top ten with all having something to prove look for the fists to fly.
In 2017 we saw the emergence of Errol Spence Jr (22-0, 19 KOs) as he went across the pond and literally, re-broke UK’s Kell Brook’s (36-2, 25 KOs) face. Leaving him on the canvas and becoming the new IBF world champ. Another new competitor joining the ranks is newly undisputed super lightweight champ Terence Crawford (32-0, 23 KOs). Making his way into the division with a tremendous amount of respect. A fight with new WBO champ Jeff Horn (18-0, 12 KOs) is said to be in negotiations among Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotion team.
There are two main factors that are strong impediments within the welterweight division. The injury to WBC champ Keith Thurman (28-0, 23 KOs). Fighters such as Shawn “Showtime” Porter (28-2-1, 17 KOs) is a mandatory card and would be an incredible slugfest. The other issue is the indecisiveness of the long-awaited retirement of Manny Pacquiao (59-7, 38 KOs). No one can blame Manny for sticking around and getting his money. At the time of his upset loss to Jeff Horn, he was a large favorite. He did solid ratings for ESPN as they entered the boxing production business. Giving a slight competition to Showtime. This also gave more of a selective and reduced amount of fights put on by HBO.
With all the top-notch welterweights, what can we expect to take place in the division as we begin 2018? After all, our heads are still spinning from what many believe was the best year in boxing in 20 years? Errol Spence Jr will first defend his IBF belt on January 20th vs Lamont Peterson (35-3-1, 17 KOs). Peterson is becoming a bit of a gatekeeper for stay-busy fights; simply put, Spence Jr should win this fight.
The next fight to take place at the top of the division is #5 ranked Danny Garcia (33-1, 19 KOs) vs Brandon Rios (34-3-1, 25 KOs). Coming off Garcia’s lost to Thurman it has been crystal clear that taking a risky fight following the loss is not in the plans for Team DSG. Fans will call out “Cherry Garcia” as his career has been put in his favor until the true test and defeat at the hands of Thurman. Garcia most definitely has the talent to become world champ again, but is the welterweight division too strong for him moving forward as hungry fighters come up?
In having those two previously mentioned fights already scheduled, the rest of the division is a wait and see game. We wait and see when Thurman makes his official comeback. How healthy will he be both physically and mentally following the injury to his bicep that has kept him away for nearly a year now? Check out Thurman’s time away from boxing since the injury. You may not see a different man who feels he has changed. However, as a fan, you may question how long he will mentally be into boxing. Especially after all his glorious life accomplishments and aspirations.
Shawn Porter will be in the discussion to fight all champs and challengers. The man is quite possibly the most ducked within the division. This is due to his mauling style and lack of draw. Horn and Crawford seemed to be the most logical choice for the 3rd significant fight within the division. An April date seems about right for them. This fight should air on ESPN. In a perfect world, which boxing certainly is not, we get Spence Jr vs Thurman, Crawford vs Horn. Unification fights in boxing are a beautiful thing.