While boxing fans are obsessed with Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, attention should also be paid to some of the lesser stars. With the heavyweight division in neutral and the middleweights stuck in the tar pits of boxing politics, the junior welterweights and super middleweights have more than made up for some slow times in the sport's glamor divisions.
Still, there are a total of seventeen weight classes and many are, indeed, putting together solid clashes.
If fight fans want to find a division just starting to generate heat, the super featherweight class is shaping up to be a truly entertaining collection of fighters.
The head of the 130 lb. crew is Adrien Broner (23-0, 19 KOs), the undefeated 22-year-old superstar-in-the making, who has already drawn comparisons to Floyd Mayweather. Broner, who currently holds the WBO title, has elite world class skills and the type of charisma that could lead to big things. Broner is set to face a tough and skilled Vicente Escobedo (26-3, 15 KOs) in July. Escobedo is no pushover at all and will serve as Broner's initiation to the next level of stardom.
Below Broner, a pair of Japanese world titlists serve as real threats to the divisional top dog. Heavy-handed WBA titlist, Takashi Uchiyama (18-0, 15 KOs), and veteran two-division WBC champ, Takahiro Ao (23-2-1, 10 KOs) are legitimate world class fighters with the resumes to prove it.
Under the top three, the division is stacked with credible names that mean something to hardcore fans, but may not yet ring a bell among casual followers. Juan Carlos Burgos (29-1, 19 KOs), Juan Carlos Salgado (25-1-1, 16 KOs), Roman "Rocky" Martinez (25-1-1, 16 KOs), Jason Litzau (28-3, 21 KOs), and Jorge Solis (40-4-2, 29 KOs) are all solid fighters who could pull off the win against anyone in the division on any given night. Most of these fighters are also 20-something boxers, all reaching their physical primes at the same time. So, what we'll soon be seeing is a plethora of prime vs. prime bouts-- a real rarity in boxing these days.
Newer stars, Gary Russell Jr. (19-0, 11 KOs), Diego Magdaleno (22-0, 8 KOs), and Javier Fortuna (19-0, 14 KOs) also walk on the borders of the 130 lb. class, just waiting for their turn to pounce. All three have real, elite ability and wear the label of "can't miss" prospect.
The super featherweight division is starting to stack up as one of the sport's hottest weight classes. In six months to a year, things could become sizzling hot. Best of all, it seems that boxing politics aren't holding things up and the best fights just may be signed. Keep an eye on the 130 lb. warriors.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. He is also a contributor to Fox Sports. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing.
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