Convicted Artist Magazine

Sep 29th
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boxing_imageLightweight (135lbs) This division seems to merely be a stop-over for some of its most talented participants.  This is not a new phenomenon, however.  From Henry Armstrong to Pernell Whitaker to Oscar de la Hoya, very few people start and end their career at 135lbs.
One would be surprised if current world champion Juan Manuel Marquez fights again at 135lbs.  The 140lb division is more exciting, and he only has a few good ones left in him.  It appears as if Edwin Valero will soon chase the big money up to Junior Welter as well.  These fighters always seem to leave the door open to returning, but very few fighters do come back down to a weight once they’ve left it, unless star power forces them down. 
If Joan Guzman can get his weight in check, and decide on a style, he can still make some noise.  For now, however, let the noise-making be done by us, as Guzman was clearly beaten by Ali Funeka in their recent controversial draw.  Not that having the IBF belt means you will ever be champion for very long, but a clear victory would have given us someone new to be excited about. 
Funeka vs. fellow Southern African Paula Moses would be a good matchup between two top 10 fighters.  Exciting young fighters like Antonio De Marco, Anthony Peterson, and Brandon Rios speak well for the division’s future, but until they start fighting each other, the lightweight division’s only real excitement is going to be Michael Katsidis vs. anyone.
Junior Lightweight (130lbs)
This division is also in serious need of a boost.  Still reeling from Jorge Linares’ shocking first round KO loss to Juan Carlos Salgado, no real names are creating much buzz, or potential matchups.  Robert Guerrero is the only name left worth getting excited over, and he is sidelined with personal issues, as his wife is battling cancer.  We couldn’t even get excited about Salgado, as he surrendered his belt in his first defense. 
The division is also hot one in South Africa , however, with Malcolm Klassen, Mzonke Fana, and Cassius Baloyi calling it home, but in this hemisphere, such potential matchups are lacking.  Perhaps a fight between Guerrero and fellow South Bay Area resident Eloy Perez would create at least some regional interest.
Featherweight (126lbs)
While we keep getting teased that a Yuriorkis Gamboa vs. Juan Manuel Lopez match is coming soon, it is not likely.  Bob Arum steered Lopez away from Celestino Caballero as well as the potential Rogers Mtagwa rematch.  What makes us think he will risk his latest Latin star this soon?  Gamboa’s people are taking risks with him, yet he is definitely the type of fighter who can lose and remain marketable.  Perhaps Lopez's people are worried his reputation will not recover if he loses now.  I have never found this true of the fans, but the promoters seem to believe it is.  Eventually that match will make sense if they keep winning, but don’t look for it now. 
Chris John’s U.S. campaign seems to have stalled, but a fight against either of the aforementioned names should happen while he’s still hanging on to his prime by a thread.  There are also plenty of good action fighters in the division, so the undercards may be helped out by the 126lbers.  The top three in John, Gamboa, and Lopez will likely slaughter them, however, and the next year is probably going to be filled with those kinds of matchups.

Chris Strait

Chris Strait Video Boxing Boxing Predictions


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