Posted by Patrick Cassidy on 07.23.2010
A once loaded division is now left empty and offering little opportunities for both Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao
The Welterweight division has consistently been one of the crown jewels in all of boxing. Throughout the history of the sport, the welterweight division has delivered some of the greatest fights and fighters. Therefore, it was no surprise last year when many of the top fighters had descended onto the division making it a virtual murderer's row of fighters who could easily contend for the division's crown. The likes of Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Andre Berto, Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto, and many more had fans salivating for the potential match-ups that were to come from the division.
However, one year later, the fans are left wondering just what happened. Lopsided fights, defections, and plain stonewalling have left the division in a dilapidated state that has left fans wondering, "What Happened?".
With the recent logjam between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, the division is now left looking like a former shell of what once stood only a year ago. The fact is that aside from the mega fight their are not many tangible fights left to be made. Pacquiao appears set on two undesirable fights between Antonio Margarito and a rematch between Miguel Cotto that elicits zero excitement out of the mainstream boxing public. Pacquiao and his handlers want nothing to do with Andre Berto or Paul Williams, two fights that could at least give a fresh look onto the division. Instead, Pacquiao and his people are looking into the past to make a quick buck rather than actually testing his skills. It appears unless the fight offers a 20+million dollar payday, Team Pacquiao wants nothing to do with fighters who could offer him a stiff test.
Mayweather, on the other hand, appears uninterested in any form of fighting. Mayweather was able to correct his financial woes with two lucrative fights between Marquez and Mosley and until that well runs dry it seems unlikely that he's ready to jump into a major fight. A more likely scenario is to see Mayweather sit out or fight a soft touch such as Matthew Hatton that would offer him a quick buck with minimal danger.
The only other relevant fighters left in the division are that of Paul Williams and Andre Berto who do not have any significant fights on the horizon at the 147 mark. Berto priced himself out of a redo with Shane Mosley and now has a wide open calendar that is not likely to be filled anytime soon. Williams seems to be skirting around the issue of a Middleweight showdown with Sergio Martinez and instead is claiming that he'll continue to fight at Welterweight. However, aside from a couple unknown European fighters the division is clear of any notable fights. A bout with Josh Clottey or Selcuk Aydin offers nothing to the casual fan.
Even the list of welterweight prospects leaves something to be imagined. As of now, their is little in the way of American or Mexican Welterweights that are ready to make a splash. Popular Philadelphia fighter, Mike Jones, offers a fresh face to the division but has had little interest from the current group of top welterweights.
Instead, many of the premiere prospects currently reside a class above at 154 where the names of Danny Jacobs , Vanes Matirosyan, Saul Alvarez, and Alfredo Angulo reside and they seem to be more interested in Middleweight rather than a drop to Welterweight.
Even more damaging is the fact that the loaded Jr. Welterweight still has several money fights to occupy the likes of Amir Khan, Timothy Bradley, and Devon Alexander. Fighters like Bradley may make forays into the Welterweight division but their home for the foreseeable future is at 140 where a number of big money fights are to be had.
The lesson to be learned is the fact that Mayweather and Pacquiao do not have many opportunities to make serious money outside of the inevitable clash between the two. The welterweight division just doesn't offer the same fiscal rewards as the previous year had. Until a new group of younger fighters can become superstars, any big money fight for either men rests on the simple fact that they must get into the ring with one another.
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