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Written by Jake Wallwork


We look at Americas best in the light middleweight and welterweight divisions


This is the third of four posts which look at the best boxers in each of the main weight classes, chosen by Punchbag blog. In this post we focus on the light middleweight and welterweight divisions.

Light Middleweight 

Cornelius Bundrage – Primarily number one in the list because he holds a belt, the inactive Cornelius Bundrage has beaten fellow American Cory Spinks, Miguel Cotto victim Yuri Foreman and in his most recent fight Sechew Powell in his quest to become IBF light middleweight champion of the world. 

Bundrage has fought once in 2009, 2010 and 2011 so he really needs to be more active and defend his belt against stronger opposition in order to be looked at as one of the best light middleweights in the world. Not just one of the best from America.

James Kirkland – Since being unexpectedly stopped and losing for the first time in his pro career, Kirkland was on the verge of being stopped again in the first round of his fight with Alfredo Angulo. But he showed his fighting spirit and returned the favour by dropping Angulo in the same round. Kirkland dominated the remainder of the fight and decided to call it a day by putting Angulo out of his misery and scoring a TKO victory over the highly favoured Mexican. 

Kirkland's next fight will be on the Erik Morales/Danny Garcia fight card against Carlos Molina.

Paul Williams – The man known as ‘The Punisher’ was punished by Sergio Martinez who knocked him out cold in the second round of their rematch. And Williams' only fight of 2011, against Erislandy Lara didn’t go well for him. He was hit constantly with Lara’s overhand left from the first bell, to the last. But to the shock of many, Williams was awarded the majority decision winner. 

Williams morally lost his last two fights, however he has gotten himself back to winning ways (convincingly this time) by outpointing the tough Nobuhiro Ishida, winning all twelve rounds, on all three of the judges scorecards.

                                                  

Delvin Rodriguez – Unfortunately Rodriguez has been the victim of some bad luck. Many of his fights have been close, but the boxing fans believe he should have had his hand raised in most, if not all of his close fight losses. Many fans think that his losses to Rafael Jackiewicsz, Ashley Theophane, Isaac Hlatshwayo and a draw in his first fight with Pawel Wolak should all read ‘W’ on his record. Rodriguez set the record straight with Wolak when he won a wide decision in a one sided fight on the undercard of the Miguel Cotto Vs Antonio Margarito rematch. 

Rodriguez was rumoured to fight James Kirkland in what would be an exciting fight. But right now Rodriguez has no fight signed.

Austin Trout – Unbeaten Austin Trout (no fish related jokes please) makes it to number five on the list. He currently holds the WBA light middleweight world title. His win over Rigoberto Alvarez made him achieve this. Since winning the title Trout has defended the belt twice and been successful on both occasions. He beat David Lopez in a one sided unanimous decision and stopped Frank LoPorto in the sixth round of their bout. A fight with Anthony Mundine has been talked about as a possible option for Trout.

Welterweight

Floyd Mayweather – It should be no surprise that number one on the list is the controversial boxing figure Floyd Mayweather. The on-going discussions between Mayweather and pound for pound rival Manny Pacquiao are beginning to sound like a ‘will they won’t they’ story line in a soap opera. 

Mayweather has May 5th marked out in his diary as the next time he will fight. The man he will be fighting is Miguel Cotto. In a press conference, Mayweather stated he couldn't get a fight with Pacquiao, so he fought the next best thing. Cotto's light middleweight belt will be at stake, but Mayweather is naturally a welterweight. 

Andre Berto – Berto and Victor Ortiz both have a good case for second spot, many would pick Ortiz because he beat Berto. But I picked Berto based on both of the fighters recent fights. Ortiz lost to Floyd Mayweather, there’s no shame in losing to Mayweather, but maybe Ortiz does feel embarrassed in the manner of the defeat. Berto had a brief but entertaining brawl with Dejan Zaveck and Zaveck was stopped in the 6th round due to his eye being completely shut. Berto won the IBF strap when he beat Zaveck and became a two time world champ.

He also showed his hunger for wanting to avenge the only loss of his career by throwing his IBF belt in the bin as Ortiz is not eligible to fight for the IBF belt coming off a knockout loss. You have to give Berto credit for that.

Victor Ortiz – ‘Vicious’ Victor Ortiz lived up to his nickname by landing something vicious in his fight with Floyd Mayweather. Unfortunately this was a head-butt. Ortiz said he head-butted Mayweather because he had been elbowed by him 17 times. If this is the case then you can’t have too many complaints. But maybe Ortiz could have made it more of a secret that he wanted to break Mayweather’s nose.

Even though he behaved like a bit of a tool during and after the Mayweather fight, Ortiz has a chance to prove himself. If he beats Berto he proves he has what it takes to challenge the best in the division again. If he gets beat, he becomes a one hit wonder.

                                              

Shane Mosley – This was a difficult choice to make if you take into consideration recent results and performances. Be that as it may Mosley gets fourth spot in the best division for American boxers. Mosley was easily outpointed in his last fight to Manny Pacquiao. Many thought we would see the last of ‘Sugar Shane’ after that fight, but he is now scheduled to fight Saul Alvarez on May 5th (on the Mayweather/Cotto under-card.) This really is a must win fight for Shane if he wants to continue his career in boxing.

Paulie Malignaggi – This was another hard choice which had to be made in the welterweight list. Fifth place was up for grabs for Malignaggi and unbeaten Mike Jones. But I decided to pick the ‘Magic man’ based on higher calibre names on his welterweight resume compared to Jones. Malignaggi shut out the aggressive Orlando Loro on the Hopkins/Dawson undercard to a wide point’s decision.

Malignaggi looks set to get one more shot at a world title as it looks like he has finally agreed to travel to Ukraine to fight the WBA welterweight champ Vyacheslav Senchenko. A win would catapult Malignaggi to bigger fights. Kell Brook may be a possible first defence for Paulie if he pulls off the win.

Thanks for reading the post. Whether you agree or disagree, leave a comment on what you think of our picks. Post four featuring light welterweights and lightweights coming soon.