With so much competition at 154 lbs, is there any chance of us seeing the first undisputed super welterweight world champion for 13 years?
Boxing's super welterweight division has, for a little while now, gone under the radar due to one man's recent dominance. Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez wouldn’t be far off of anyone's pound-for-pound top fighters in the world, having made relative light work of the competition so far in his career. Canelo aside, a talented clutch of fighters are staking a claim at becoming the 154 lbs top dog, with Alvarez having a tendency to venture to different weight classes in order to compete in the more lucrative bouts.
Ronald 'Winky' Wright was the last undisputed champion at the weight, defeating the well-respected Shane Mosley all the way back in 2004. With that being said, is there any chance of us seeing a new undisputed king in such a competitive division anytime soon?
This weight class is wide open, with a different man, more or less, holding the different belts of each organisation. Though the aforementioned Canelo is more than capable of sweeping this division, there are no so-called blockbuster fights at super welterweight. But the likes of the highly talented Charlo brothers, stablemate Erislandy Lara, and the new kid on the block Jarrett Hurd are waiting in the wings to stand alone at the top of the division.
There isn't a great deal to say about Alvarez that you do not already know, but I guess it's my job to give you a little summary just in case you may have somehow forgotten.
The Mexican is the current WBO champion, amassing a spectacular record of 48 victories with only a single loss, to Floyd Mayweather of course, with 34 of his wins coming by way of knockout. His last contest was last September, against the tricky Englishman Liam Smith, where he stopped the Scouser in impressive fashion, late in the ninth round to claim the WBO strap.
The likelihood is that the 26-year-old will vacate his title in search of some gold at a heavier weight. A 'Cinco de Mayo' showdown against compatriot, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr has been agreed, with the two agreeing to fight at a catchweight of 165 lbs, suggesting a future at middleweight may be on the cards for Alvarez. It is a pretty big miss for the super welterweights but could form the foundations for a super-fight against fellow pound-for-pound rival and middleweight champion, Gennady Golovkin.
The 'Iron Man' is one-half of the highly regarded Charlo brothers and is the holder of the WBC title. The unbeaten Texan has a record of 29 wins with, as expected, zero losses, winning 14 within the distance. His last outing was an impressive showing, knocking out fellow countryman Charles Hatley early in the sixth, back in April.
At just 26, Jermell Charlo has already had 30 professional fights, yet remains one of the division's brightest prospects. His training partner, Erislandy Lara, who we are getting to, is hugely talented and remains a threat to pretty much everyone in the division. The thing is, though, he has just turned 34, so it is unlikely that we will see too many fights before father time becomes a factor. But back to Iron Man.
I think this division is there for Charlo to take. He is young, clearly talented enough and already holds a title, giving him a decent base to build upon. As a world champion, I expect the level of competition to improve, and it needs to if he is to cement his run at super welterweight dominance as something serious. Fortunately for him, twin brother Jermall has vacated his title in the pursuit of Golovkin and/or Danny Jacobs, thus clearing a path, somewhat, towards a future unification bout.
Erislandy Lara is a machine. He is as pure of a boxer as you are likely to see right now, and he has the IBO and WBA title to prove his credentials. The Cuban, who is aptly known as 'The American Dream', is one of the most underrated boxers in the world and is more than capable of adding to his collection. His last fight was in January against the plucky Israeli Yuri Foreman, which not only showed that Lara was in great shape, but also that he was capable of putting on a show; a major criticism of his in recent times. The Cuban responded and won with a pretty dominant fourth round stoppage.
Lara's record stands at 24 wins, two losses and two draws, with 14 of his victories coming by way of knockout. While those figures read impressively, it is the frequency in which his bigger fights go to the judges' decision that has stopped him from receiving the big fights he deserves.
He did once drag Canelo into deep waters back in 2014, losing a very controversial split decision, in arguably the most impressive showing of his career. Though he was unsuccessful that night, he definitely proved that he is capable of hanging in there with the best of them.
While the other champions have the edge in youth, Lara has the advantage in experience (for