Convicted Artist Magazine

May 28th
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boxing-divisionsRegarding 2015, there are many hot divisions in boxing, and to be honest, it's mostly the ones who were hot before.  There isn't much to indicate heavy cooling or warming for certain divisions.  However, a subtle shift has begun, taking the focus of boxing in different directions.  Here is where I place certain divisions, and predict their 12 month future in capturing our attention:
Featherweight - This goes without saying.  It's not only talent rich with exciting fighters like Lomachenko, Walters, Gradovich, Donaire, Russell, Cuellar, etc but it appears to be the only division in boxing where the cold war does not exist.  Gonna get really exciting, as it already has started.
Heavyweight - The shift back to the USA has started.  Wilder-Stiverne, and a Klitschko Brooklyn defense, either against Jennings or Briggs.  Add to that Klitschko may be in his last year or two, and it's building towards excitement.
Junior Welterweight - This was one of the hottest in boxing for 2010-2013, but last year it fell into a deep freeze.  Peterson and Garcia continued to avoid each other, and all other hot fighters in the division: Matthysse, Broner, etc.  And that's just the GBP side!  Haymon held the division hostage, but Top Rank moved on.  Provodnikov, Algieri, Vargas already call 140lbs home, now they may get Pacquiao dropping down, and Crawford coming up!  Even if the Cold War holds firm, this division is going to get better, not worse.
Junior Middleweight - This was a hot division because people have been facing each other.  Even men like Austin Trout and Erislandy Lara... guaranteed to be avoided in most divisions, were getting all the big fights they could handle.  However, Pacquiao, Mayweather, and Canelo have all left the division.  Due to mandatories, in addition, Ronnie Shields may have 3 belts locked up within 6 months.  Lara is WBA champ, while the IBF and WBO each have a Charlo brother waiting to likely dethrone Andrade and Bundrage.  The fights to get there are not likely to be thrilling either, so until J-Rock Williams cleans out the division, it may stall for a while.
Lightweight - This poor division cannot get a break.  It must be a very hard weight to make, because people keep leaving as soon as they win a belt there.  The only ones who stay are the snoozers like Vasquez and Abril.  Crawford is leaving, as is Figueroa soon... and when Mickey Bey is the most exciting name you have, something is wrong.
Holding steady:
Middleweight - 160lbs should be getting more exciting, but with Cotto holding the lineal belt hostage, and Canelo waffling, there is not much to be excited about.  Jacobs and Quillin are locked in the Haymon dance of not facing each other, no matter how much sense it makes.  Andy Lee and Jermain Taylor would be intriguing against each other, and both won belts to complete nice comeback stories, but either would be sacrificial lambs to Golovkin.  This would be a 'cooler' division, but GGG will score 3 or 4 more KOs and that will maintain interest.
Welterweight - This is only holding steady because of the wide pool of talent.  We may get the big one with Mayweather and Pacquiao, but even if we don't, Khan vs. Brook, Thurman vs. Maidana, or Porter vs anyone would be exciting.  Even if we get half our options, it will be a good 147lb year.
Needs help:
Junior Bantamweight - Still an Asian strong hold... but little to nothing going on here since Darchinyan unified, then Donaire blew through it years ago.  Shame, as so many action brawls take place here.
Cruiserweight - Same here.  Exciting brawls take place here, but they haven't lately.  Even in Europe the champions are not unifying despite promoters in common, and easy geography.  One has to wonder what is going on when Guillermo Jones is cheated out of his title, and Hernandez is protected.  Even Drozd's mandatory turned down the ttle shot.  Can you hear me snoring yet?  BJ Flores is our only perennial contender and he barely fights.

Chris Strait

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