Boxing's 30 Most Exciting Current Fighters to Watch in the Ring

Ralph Longo@ IIIMay 20, 2012

Boxing's 30 Most Exciting Current Fighters to Watch in the Ring

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    There's nothing more exciting in boxing than when a fighter lays it all out on the line and decides that it's worth it to take a risk in order to score that dramatic knockout  or come from behind to stop their opponent. Or perhaps it's simply just to finish the fight in style. 

    Either way, exciting fights and fighters are what we want to see fight in and fight out. Some of the guys on this list may not be the best overall fighters, but when they fight, you can bet that you're going to get your money's worth and will be entertained. 

    So, here are the current top 25 most exciting fighters in the sport of boxing. Feel free to comment if you feel I forgot to include someone. 

    Follow me on Twitter: @rlongo924

Honorable Mentions

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    -Floyd "Money" Mayweather

    -"Hammerin" Hank Lundy

    "Tomasz "Goral" Adamek

    -Antonio "The Tijuana Tornado" Margarito"

    -Mikkel "The Viking Warrior" Kessler

30. Denis Boytsov

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    Anyone who has read an article written by me that deals with heavyweight boxing knows that I'm very high on Boytsov. He goes to the body extremely well, has excellent speed and power and always goes for the KO if he can. 

    He may never be the heavyweight champion of the world, but he'll always be one of the most exciting big men out there to watch. Check out the video—Boytsov is an absolute machine in the ring. 

29. Dereck Chisora

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    Chisora makes this list almost as much for his exploits outside of the ring as for his ones inside the squared circle. He made headlines when he smacked Vitali Klitschko and spit water in brother Wladimir's face. He's brawled street style with David Haye in Munich and now will face off with Haye July 14th in what is the biggest British fight in years. 

    Chisora is, for lack of a better word, a lunatic, and he always brings it in the ring. The Haye fight should be great and I'm really looking forward to it later this summer.  

28. Carl Froch

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    Carl Froch always comes to fight and has no problem brawling and never gives up. In the video here, Froch was down on the scorecards going into the 12th and final round against Jermain Taylor. However, he was able to score the dramatic, come from behind last minute KO that boxing fans dream of. 

    His super six bout with Mikkel Kessler was the best fight of the tournament by far; it was a brawl from start to finish. His upcoming bout with Lucian Bute shouldn't disappoint and could be a FOTY candidate.  

27. Adrien Broner

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    Broner talks a lot of trash outside the ring and is seen by many as the successor to Floyd Mayweather. He's flashy with fast combinations and has scary power. Broner has all the tools to be a future star in the sport. 

    Unfortunately for Broner, he can't be placed higher on this list simply because he hasn't really been pushed hard enough by anyone in order to be in a brawl-type of a fight. Hopefully he'll have a fight like that soon. 

26. Lucian Bute

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    Bute is one of my favorite fighters to watch. He's extremely slick, possesses power in both hands and he always seems to close the show in dramatic fashion. His left uppercut to the body is a thing of beauty. 

    Bute has been accused of always fighting in his backyard, but he's going over to England next Saturday to face Carl Froch. As I already said, it's going to be a great fight and I can't wait to see it. Bute's quick hands and power should carry him to victory, likely in typical Bute fashion—a body shot KO. 

25. Yuriorkis Gamboa

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    Yuriorkis Gamboa might just have the fastest hands in the sport. He has good power and the way he is able to put combinations together is something that you rarely see in boxing. 

    Unfortunately he's embroiled in a promotional dispute with his promoter, Top Rank, so we won't be seeing Yuri for at least 6 more months or so until they can sort it out. He was due to fight Brandon Rios, but that fight ended up cancelled. That fight could've been the best fight we'd have seen in years.

24. Nonito Donaire

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    All you need to know about Nonito Donaire is in the highlight above. Donaire has power that you rarely see, and is extremely explosive. He's been lackluster in his last couple fights, winning both easily, but without any real excitement, which lowers his ranking slightly on this list. 

    However, when he's on, he's one of the most exciting fighters in the sport. Donaire is going to be really tough for anyone 130 pounds and below to defeat. Him vs. Broner is a matchup I'd love to see at 130 pounds. It'd be a frenetic fight for as long as it would last. 

23. Saul "Canelo" Alvarez

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    Canelo Alvarez is one of the fastest rising fighters in the sport. He's already a superstar in Mexico, and it's not by accident. Canelo loves to mix it up, has limited head movement and has heavy hands. Watch him fight and then try and tell me that there aren't some classic brawls in his future. 

    There's talk of Canelo fighting Paul Williams, Miguel Cotto or James Kirkland in the fall/winter. If you're a boxing fan and these matchups don't whet your appetite, specifically the Cotto fight, which could reach Gatti/Ward status, then you're not a real boxing fan. 

22. Brian Viloria

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    Viloria has one of my favorite nicknames in boxing. He's called the "Hawaiian Punch," which I think is really cool. He is also a heck of a fighter and isn't afraid to take risks inside the ring. He might just be my favorite fighter south of 122 pounds. 

    Viloria and the next guy on this list would make for a great fight between two little guys who pack more than just a little punch. 

21. Roman Gonzalez

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    Roman Gonzalez is arguably the best little man the sport of boxing has fighting now. He's undefeated and has 27 KO's in 32 fights. In other words, he comes to knock you out, and he usually does just that to his opponents. 

    Gonzalez vs. Viloria is a fight that I'd love to see. It'd be an all out brawl for sure and would bring money and exposure to the lower weight classes, which is something they definitely deserve. They fight as hard—if not harder—than the big guys. 

20. Amir Khan

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    Amir Khan has fast hands and solid power. He also seems to make fights more exciting than he needs to by laying on the ropes and trading, like in his fight with Lamont Peterson last December. His 2010 fight with Marcos Maidana was arguably the best fight of that year. Simply put, Khan brings it every time he steps into the ring. 

    Khan also has a little bit of vulnerability, which only serves to make him more exciting to watch. Khan is a real fighter though, and I'm really upset Lamont Peterson tested positive for steroids, as I was looking forward to their rematch. 

19. Victor Ortiz

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    Victor Ortiz is another guy, much like Amir Khan,who looks to take it to you from the moment the first bell rings. He isn't afraid to go face first into battle, and he has real power and has no problem exchanging punches with hard punching opponents. 

    His 2011 battle with Andre Berto was a fantastic fight, and Ortiz showed a lot of heart and courage in pulling off the upset. Along with Khan, he was the victim of his opponent testing positive for steroids, but it shouldn't deter Ortiz's career too badly. 

18. Juan Manuel Marquez

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    Juan Manuel Marquez is 39 years old and still going strong. Marquez has long been one of the best combination punches the sport has ever seen, and many people think he is 2-1 0r 3-0 in his fights against Manny Pacquiao. I personally have the series 2-1 in favor of Pacquiao, but that's another story. 

    Marquez is always a joy to watch, as he is a great counter puncher, and real fans of boxing can really appreciate his technical brilliance and application of his boxing skills fight in and fight out. 

17. Paul Williams

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    Ah, we arrive at the "Punisher," Paul Williams. Williams is 6'3", but chooses to fight like he's 5'6". Williams staged one of the best fights in recent memory in 2010 against Sergio Martinez, and throughout his career he has never been afraid to trade punches and get involved in slugfests, when he really doesn't need to. 

    If Williams used his 82" reach and size correctly, he'd be almost unbeatable between 147-160 pounds. However, the fact that he chooses not to is the reason why he's one of the most exciting fighters in the sport of boxing. 

16. Andre Berto

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    It pains me to put Berto here, since he failed a drug test a few weeks ago, but I have no choice. Berto's combination of speed, power and willingness to trade punches with his opponents has meant that he's always in exciting fights. 

    Berto will likely be put on the shelf for a while. When he comes back, hopefully he can finally have his rematch with Victor Ortiz. Berto has also been in great fights with the likes of Jan Zaveck, Luis Collazo, and Carlos Quintana. 

15. Marcos Maidana

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    Maidana is one of the best pure power punchers in boxing at the moment. He always comes forward and is never in a fight that isn't crowd pleasing. He's been in wars with world class fighters like Amir Khan and Victor Ortiz, and he never disappoints. 

    Maidana is somewhat limited and crude, but that is what makes him so appealing. He'll never stop slugging it out with his opponents and always believes in his power and will never quit. 

14. Chris Arreola

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    Arreola is a heavyweight who has no qualms about taking two to give one. He's been knocked down and gotten back up to win multiple times throughout his career. He throws a lot of combinations, sometimes wild ones, and he is arguably the most fan friendly heavyweight in the world. 

    Arreola is being touted as the next challenger to Wladimir Klitschko, and I think if he is in shape he'll have a great chance to win. Either way, it'll be an excellent fight, and Arreola will certainly push Klitschko to the limit. 

13. Seth Mitchell

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    Like Arreola, Seth Mitchell has a style that fans love to see. In his most recent fight, he was seriously hurt in the first round only to come back and stop Chazz Witherspoon in the third round of a terrific heavyweight matchup. 

    Mitchell has real one punch type power, and I'm interested to see how he'll do if he steps up to fight the Klitschkos. He throws a lot of punches for a heavyweight, which only serves to add to the intrigue fans have in him. 

12. Marco Huck

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    Marco Huck is one of my favorite fighters in the world. Yes, he throws caution and technical boxing skills to the wind, but he's a pure brawler and always gives it 100% and throws every single punch with bad intentions. Huck is a slugger, and he's never in a bad fight. 

    Huck was even able to make the boring Alexander Povetkin fight in a way that made for one of the best heavyweight fights in years. He's now moved back down to cruiserweight and is coming off a classic brawl with Ola Afolabi. No matter what weight, Huck is certainly exciting to watch. 

11. Sergio Martinez

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    Sergio Martinez fights with his hands down, his chin up and his face squarely in the way of his opponents' fists. The problem for guys who fight him is his reflexes are so fast that he can get away with it and uses it to his advantage when countering his opponent's misses. 

    Martinez has developed into a real puncher, and it seems he is always able to look good and close out fights in style. It's why we love to watch him fight. Everybody loves a fighter who can close the show and look good doing it. 

10. John Murray

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    John Murray is a guy who is never in a fight that isn't exciting. Even when he loses, it's a good fight. When he's stepped up to world level in his last two bouts, he's come up on the short end, but both times fight fans left happy and wanted to see him again. 

    I know I wouldn't mind watching Murray fight on HBO after his back and forth affair with Brandon Rios last December. Murray only knows one way to fight, and that way sure is fun to watch. 

9. Mike Alvarado

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    With the way Mike Alvarado fights, it's really a shame he hasn't had a world title shot yet. He scored a dramatic come from behind KO of Briedis Prescott last November, and he isn't deterred if he's cut or has significant facial damage. His lip was ripped off against Prescott, but he pressed through for the KO. 

    Alvarado is a come forward fighter who will never be in a bad fight under any circumstances. He deserves exposure to the fans, and I look forward to every time he steps into the ring. 

8. Abner Mares

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    Mares is an excellent young fighter, and he's always in an exciting fight. He doesn't have the greatest power, but he throws a lot of punches and isn't afraid to stand in there and go toe-to- toe and trade shots with his opponents. 

    Mares always comes to fight, and I tune in each and every time that he's on television. He's worth the price of admission—that much is for certain. 

7. Jorge Arce

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    Jorge Arce has been thrilling fans in fights for the past decade. He's one of the most exciting fighters of all time, and you'd be hard pressed to find an Arce fight that wasn't a pleasure to watch. He throws tons of punches and has absolutely zero fear. 

    Arce has always taken on all comers and won't back down to any opponent in the ring. If it's a Jorge Arce fight, you better be watching. 

6. Miguel Cotto

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    Miguel Cotto has probably been my favorite fighter of the past eight years. Cotto almost seems to go out of his way to thrill fans, and every Cotto fight that I've seen—even ones that he's dominated—are fun to watch.

    Cotto has had many back and forth fights throughout his career, and he isn't afraid to take risks in the ring, a quality most fighters don't truly possess. His fight with Floyd Mayweather was a testament to his skills, and the fact that he made Floyd fight a real fight shows his power to excite the fans. 

5. Orlando Salido

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    Orlando Salido has a lot of losses on his record, but don't let that fool you. He's one of my favorite fighters to watch, and he always fights his heart out. He's grinded out two TKO victories over Juan Manuel Lopez, which is an amazing feat, as no one else has been able to beat Lopez in his career. 

    Salido's fights with Lopez were truly special, and watching them kept me on the edge of the seat the entire time. Salido's natural tendency to brawl will make it so that whatever opponent he fights, he'll make it fun. 

4. Brandon Rios

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    Aside from his most recent fight with Richard Abril, in which he was given a terrible decision, Rios never fails to excite the fans. Rios throws punches with bad intentions. He'll never take his foot off the gas and will go for the knockout even if he already has the decision wrapped up.

    Rios has the mentality that he's the most macho fighter in the world, and he'd rather be taken out on a stretcher than take a step back and retreat from his opponent. That mindset ensures that he'll always be in a great fight.  

3. Michael Katsidis

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    If every fighter in the world had the heart, tenacity and courage of Michael Katsidis, boxing would be the most popular sport in the world. Katsidis fights as hard as any other fighter in boxing history.

    If Katsidis chose to focus more on defense and head movement earlier in his career, I think he would've been a really good fighter. But, he chose the route of brawler and was never able to rise to elite status. Still, he'll always be remembered as a guy with a huge heart.

2. Juan Manuel Lopez

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    Juan Manuel Lopez has thrilled crowds for the past half decade with his risk taking style of fighting. I remember when he was out on his feet for the entire 12th round against Rogers Mtagwa, it was one of the most tense and thrilling rounds I've ever seen. 

    Lopez has been in back and forth brawls numerous times, and his two fights with Orlando Salido, especially their most recent one earlier this year, were really special fights. If you haven't watched them, check them out immediately. 

    Lopez has the physical ability to box, but his warrior mentality prevents him from fighting smart, and he is frequently lured into a brawl. Bad for him, but great for the fans. 

1. Manny Pacquiao

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    It should come as no surprise; our No. 1 most exciting fighter is Manny Pacquiao. His combination of speed, power and footwork is second to none. Pacquiao throws a thousand punches a fight (unless he's fighting Marquez), and he isn't afraid to brawl. 

    Even in fights where Pacquiao has been far superior to his opponents, he's still managed to make them crowd pleasing. Especially earlier in his career, when he wasn't as technically sound, Pacquiao was one of the all-time best brawlers—I mean, he was really a true slugger.

    Hopefully we can finally see the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight. Maybe then Floyd can sneak onto this list, but for now, Manny Pacquiao is the most exciting fighter in the sport. 

    Follow me on Twitter: @rlongo924