The Cold Hard Truth: On Sports

Boxing’s Best of 2016 (Part 3)



Boxing’s Best of 2016 (Part 3)

By James Bell

@boxingsource2

In this section, we get into what happened in the super lightweight division, a fighter that is regarded as the most skilled fighter in the sport, and the possible Fighter of the Year.

Super Lightweight

There has been one fighter that has stood out as the best in this division, and that man is Terence Crawford. He had a good 2015, and he surpassed that this year with his performance in a title unification fight against Viktor Postol and a KO win over John Molina Jr. Crawford scored a near shutout win against the fighter that was rated #2 in the division at the time, and made Crawford become one guy that should be on many publications pound for pound lists. He has two of the titles in the division, and Ricky Burns has another one via TKO win over Michele Di Rocco. He has defended it once and may look for a big fight in the UK. It surely won’t be against Crawford: he’s already lost to him in his home country.

There may be another person that may take the fight against Burns, but it might not be in the UK…Adrien Broner had one fight in 2016 that was supposed to be at super lightweight but he came in over 140 pounds against Ashley Theophane. He will go into 2017 having a fight with Adrian Granados and then see if the fight against Burns is in his near future. Another fighter that may have come out of nowhere in this division is Julius Indongo, as he got a nice KO on Edward Troyanovsky to get the IBF and IBO titles and is 21-0. Look out for him to get more notoriety in the division in 2017.

Lightweight

The lightweight division was fairly active at the top, as many of the fighters in that area had good fights in 2016. Let’s start with Rances Barthelemy, who defended the IBF title against Mickey Bey in June. That was a good fight that ended up being a split decision victory for Rances and he stayed unbeaten. He has not fought since and there have been hints that he may move up to 140. If he changes his mind, then he could possibly get in the ring with the unbeaten WBO champion Terry Flanigan. He had a fairly busy year with three fights and would like to get a big matchup with Barthelemy to see who is the top guy in the division…that is if Jorge Linares has anything to say about it. Linares was the WBC champion, then became the WBA champ and is recognized as the lineal champion in the division. He scored a win against Anthony Crolla to get the WBA belt and has a ten fight win streak.

Don’t forget about Robert Easter, Jr. who currently has the IBF title that was vacated by Barthelemy. He had a great fight against Richard Commey in September and will have a fight in February. This division looks to be loaded going into 2017, and it will have a big addition to the division: Mikey Garcia. He had returned to the ring after a two year hiatus with a TKO win over Elio Rojas in July and will fight for the WBC lightweight title against Dejan Zlaticanan in late January. This division will be very active next year and could have some very good fights in store for the sport.

Super Featherweight

Well, there is one fighter in this division that has the attention of many boxing fans and columnists alike: Vasyl Lomachenko. Mr. “Hi-Tech” is regarded as one of the most skilled fighters in the sport and some say that he may be one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport. These praises are being given to a guy that has only eight professional fights, which goes to show how much skills this fighter possesses. He has the WBO belt and had a blowout win against Nicholas Walters this year. His lone career loss came to Orlando Salido, who was in a great fight against the WBC champion Francisco Vargas which may be regarded by many as the 2016 Fight of the Year. That fight ended up as a draw, so many are clamoring for a rematch between the two.

The IBF champion, Jose Pedraza, has a win in 2016 against Stephen Smith and will be in the undercard of DeGale-Jack against Gervonta Davis. Jezreel Corrales defends his WBA “super” title in a fight at the end of the year in a rematch with Takachi Uchiyama and the WBA “regular” champion Jason Sosa also scored a win over Stephen Smith. Sosa is notable for having a controversial draw against Walters. There may be a rematch between those two if Walters isn’t shut out from boxing for a while, or Sosa could fight Lomachenko next year.

Featherweight

This division has a strong candidate for Fighter of the Year as Carl Frampton scored two big wins in 2016. In February, he got a decision over Scott Quigg in a title unification fight at super bantamweight and then moved up to face unbeaten (at the time) Leo Santa Cruz for the WBA “super” championship at featherweight. He was able to get majority decision win to stay unbeaten and win that belt. A fighter that lost to Santa Cruz last year – Abner Mares – became the WBA “regular” champion with a split decision win over Jesus Cuellar to be in waiting for the winner of the rematch between Santa Cruz and Frampton that will occur in February 2017.

Lee Selby had one fight this year to defend that IBF belt and now will look forward to his next bout that is on the undercard of the Frampton-Santa Cruz rematch. His hope is that he could step ahead of Mares to fight the winner, and that could be a huge fight in the UK if it is Selby vs. Frampton. Oscar Valdez won the WBO belt this year and was in the undercard of the Pacquiao-Vargas PPV event and will be one to watch out for in the division. Even with this being said about all of these fighters, there is still one fighter in Gary Russell, Jr. that may be better than all of them. He has just one loss (to Lomachenko) and may be more skilled than any of the fighters mentioned at featherweight. He got one win over Patrick Hyland in April and has an upcoming fight in February against a top ten contender in the division in Oscar Escandon. If Russell scores a win there, he may take the lead as the best featherweight.

Follow The Boxing Source on Twitter @boxingsource2 and listen to The Boxing Source radio show Sundays from 7:30p-9:30p EST on MRN Broadcasting powered by BlogTalkRadio.com and read more articles here.

Boxing’s Best of 2016 (Part 3)
Copyright The Cold Hard Truth: On Sports

Boxing’s Best of 2016 (Part 3)

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