Saul Alvarez: Divisions Most Likely to Crown an Undisputed Champ
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Saul Alvarez, like any other fighter, wants to become recognized as the best. That's a difficult task in a modern world of four worldwide recognized sanctioning bodies, IBF, WBO, WBA and WBC.
Promoters often make in-house fights between their own fighters. If multiple fighters under different promoters own different belts, it becomes harder to make the fights necessary to unify those belts.
It takes a very determined group of young, ambitious belt-holders to desire the challenge of facing each other. Then it takes promoters that are willing to work together in harmony.
Perhaps a 154-lb undisputed champ can be born from this series of battles being negotiated. Here are the five divisions most likely to produce an undisputed champion in a few years when the dust is settled.
5. Julio Cesar Chavez and the Middleweights
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
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Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (46-0-1, 32 KO), WBC middleweight champ, is scheduled to face Sergio Martinez (49-2-2, 28 KO) on Sept. 15.
After the long-awaited matchup to determine the true WBC champ in light of the WBC's controversial stripping of Martinez's title, future unifications with the other champs are very possible.
Fellow undefeated champs WBO king Dmitry Pirog (20-0, 15 KO) and WBA regular belt holder Gennadiy Golovkin (23-0, 20 KO) are facing each other on Aug. 25.
WBA super champ Felix Sturm (37-2-2, 16 KO) and IBF titlist Daniel Geale (27-1, 15 KO) will go to war on Sept. 1.
With all these unifications in such a short time, there won't be too many fighters left in the way of the winners becoming undisputed.
Considering all the money the Chavez-Martinez winner will be worth after the Top Rank-HBO hype machine gets into full gear, the other champs will jump at the chance to fight him.
4. Nonito Donaire and the Super Bantamweights
Nonito Donaire, WBO super bantamweight champion
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Nonito Donaire (28-1, 18 KO), a former flyweight, junior bantamweight and bantamweight world champion, is now the current WBO super bantamweight after winning it in his first fight at the weight.
Now he's set to face IBF world champ Jeffrey Mathebula (26-3-2, 14 KO) on July 7 and has threatened every champ in the division that he's coming for them.
WBA champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (10-0, 8 KO) is set to fight on the Sept. 15 undercard of Chavez-Martinez against an unknown opponent at this time.
While Rigondeaux and Donaire have the same promoter in Bob Arum, WBC champ Abner Mares (24-0-1, 13 KO) is promoted by Golden Boy.
Fortunately, Arum has told the boxing media that he has no problem with pitting his fighters against Mares.
3. Saul Alvarez and the Junior Middleweights
Saul Alvarez, WBC champ
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Saul Alvarez (40-0-1, 29 KO), the WBC 154 lb. champion, has considered a bout with fellow WBA 154 lb. regular champ Austin Trout (25-0, 14 KO) or IBF titlist Cornelius Bundrage (31-4, 18 KO) for Sept. 15.
Even a fight with WBO king Zauerbek Baysangurov (27-1, 20 KO) has been hinted as a possibility by Alvarez's promoter thanks to a healthy relationship between the fighters' promoters.
2. Andre Ward and the Super Middleweights
Andre Ward, WBC and WBA super middleweight champ
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Andre Ward (25-0, 13 KO) has won the WBC and WBA world titles through his career-defining run during the Super Six. Now it's only two world titles left to grab.
The good news is that they could both soon belong to fighters he's beaten before. Carl Froch (29-2, 21 KO) is aiming to defend his recently won IBF title against Mikkel Kessler (45-2, 34 KO) in the fall.
Ward has defeated both Froch and Kessler en route to his current world titles in dominating fashion. While high off beating each other, Ward could lure the winner into the ring and acquire the IBF title.
As far as the WBO title, Robert Stieglitz (44-2, 23 KO) defends the belt on Aug. 25 in Germany.
Because Kessler and Abraham belong to the same promoter, Sauerland Promotions, they could unify the IBF and WBO world titles if they win in their latest title opportunities.
Then the winner could seek revenge against Ward. However this scenario plays out, the boxing audience wins by being pretty sure they'll see an undisputed champion of the division by the end of next year.
1. Floyd Mayweather and the Welterweights
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The welterweight division is in a unique position because one promoter, Golden Boy, has nearly all the leverage in this division.
Floyd Mayweather (43-0, 26 KO), the WBC titlist, works closely with Golden Boy, while recent WBA king Paulie Malignaggi (31-4, 7 KO) is signed under Golden Boy, and Golden Boy's not stopping there.
Next, Golden Boy has one of their young superstars in Devon Alexander (23-1, 13 KO) will take the aging but powerful knockout king and recent IBF titlist Randall Bailey (43-7, 37 KO) on Sept. 8.
Golden Boy is likely banking that Alexander, who has already dethroned one young knockout king in Marcos Maidana (31-3, 28 KO), that he can do the same to a much older knockout king in Bailey.
Should Alexander be successful, Top Rank's WBO champ Timothy Bradley (29-0, 12 KO) will be the only champ not under Golden Boy.
Bradley wants to beat former champ Manny Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KO) again, but has called out the likes of Golden Boy's Amir Khan (26-2, 18 KO) recently.
Pacquiao looks more likely to face longtime rival Juan Manuel Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KO) a fourth time in the fall.
With Golden Boy's seemingly endless onslaught of young, hungry welterweights, they will likely send them one after the other to face an aging Mayweather.
Should Mayweather retire or stay at junior middleweight, Golden Boy's Robert Guerrero (29-1-1, 18 KO) will fight for an interim WBC welterweight title on July 28,
Should Mayweather never return to the division, Guerrero is promoted to full champion, and then the game of Golden Boy unifications can begin.