As 2010 comes to a close, there's a definite sense that boxing will soon be undergoing a rather large changing of the guard.
The sport's biggest draw over the last decade, Oscar De La Hoya, has been retired for two years now. Successors Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather have dropped hints that they may not have many fights left in them either.
Bernard Hopkins continues to amaze as he fends off Father Time, but he'll soon turn 46 and can't keep it up forever. Even current champs like Vitali Klitschko and Juan Manuel Marquez have plenty of miles on their odometers.
Any passing of the torch is likely to happen gradually instead of all at once and, since this is boxing, it may involve physically wrestling said torch away from the older generation of stars. Regardless, the movement toward a new crop of headliners is likely to start in the coming calendar year.
Despite some well-intentioned hand-wringing about the scarcity of young boxing talent, there is a new wave of fighters primed to make waves in 2011. Everyone has their own definition of "young," but for the sake of argument, we're looking at boxers who are under 27—the age when many studies say athletes begin to peak—suggesting that the best is yet to come for all of them.
Here's a look at 11 fighters who you should be hearing from as they attempt to make their mark on the sweet science in the coming year: