The junior welterweight division is among boxing's deepest, best weight classes and, even with promotional politics stopping certain fighters from facing one another, there are plenty of outstanding clashes that could be made.
Here's a look at five stellar battles to make in the 140 lb. division:
Danny Garcia vs. Lucas Matthysse
Garcia is the unlikely junior welterweight alpha dog and holder of the WBA and WBC world titles. Recent victories prove that the Philadelphia native is no flash in the pan and, with an upcoming bout scheduled against Zab Judah, Garcia will have another chance at victory over a legitimate top 10 fighter. Argentina's Matthysse has been on the losing end of two controversial decisions against division elites (Zab Judah, Devon Alexander), but has kept battling his way to the top. Matthysse is strong, sharp, and heavy-handed. He will push Garcia like no one else can and make for a potential Fight of the Year battle.
Amir Khan vs. Breidis Prescott
Khan is on a two-fight losing streak, but will likely end that streak with a win over natural lightweight, Carlos Molina in December. Still, with his career in a bit of a decline, why not go back to deal with some loose ends? Prescott shocked the world in 2008 when he scored a first round knockout against the Olympic silver medalist, but was never really able to take advantage of that upset. The Colombian is still heavy-handed and aggressive, but has not developed at the same pace as Khan. In the rematch, all would be winners-- Khan would get a stay-busy fight and a shot at redemption while Prescott would finally get the payday he's been waiting for since scoring his upset four years ago.
Brandon Rios vs. Lamont Peterson
Rios made quite a splash in his official junior welterweight debut with a Fight of the Year performance in a TKO 7 victory over Mike Alvarado. Rough, aggressive, and a little bit crazy, Rios would make for a solid fight against almost anybody. Peterson is looking to rebuild his reputation after testing positive for a banned substance prior to a scheduled rematch with Amir Khan earlier this year. Before that, Peterson was riding high and ranked among the division's top three fighters. As an interesting side story to the main showdown, Rios soundly beat Lamont's brother, Anthony, in 2010.
Mike Alvarado vs. Ruslan Provodnikov
Denver's Alvarado put forth an awesome effort in his TKO 7 loss to Brandon Rios in October and will likely walk away with one-half of the Fight of the Year honors this year. Not finished as a fighter by any stretch of the imagination, fans will surely pay to see another spirited effort from this hardcore battler. Russia's Provodnikov, given his straight-ahead, no-nonsense style and porous defense, can't be in a dull fight. Alvarado-Provodnikov would be a sure-fire war with the winner immediately making his way one step closer to the front of the junior welterweight line. Expect blood and plenty of loose teeth if this one ever gets made.
Zab Judah vs. Marcos Maidana
What to do with two entertaining world class fighters while each is waiting their turn for another run at a world title? Why not match them up against each other? Assuming Judah loses his February title bid against Danny Garcia and Maidana is still waiting around for a big bout, why not put them together in a type of eliminator for one more chance at a division elite? The hard-hitting Maidana is always entertaining and Judah, when focused, is a talented fighter with all the tools to thrill fans.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing.
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