The Welterwhat's?

By Michael Gonzalez


The Welterwhat's?

There was a time when Oscar De La Hoya would swear up and down that he would never give Fernando Vargas a shot at him, no matter what.  Then he knocked him out in the eleventh round of an all-around smash in terms of plot, promotion and the fight living up to the hype.  Now he says he wouldn’t face Miguel Cotto because his wife, who like Cotto is Puerto Rican, has asked him not to.  Whatever.
That fight would spark the Mexico vs. Puerto Rico rivalry (I know De La Hoya is Mexican-American but it still works) with combatants who each currently carry the most clout of the two huge demographics in boxing.  De La Hoya is still the biggest draw in the entire sport and Cotto several steps down.  The relentless Cotto trying to get to the future hall famer would make for an exciting scrap.
De La Hoya may waffle.  Again.  If Cotto can get past “Sugar” Shane Mosley, who beat De La Hoya twice, I have a feeling he will.  And would De La Hoya face Mosley if he won?  It would be a huge in-house production. 
The many possibilities in the welterweight division, starting with world champion Floyd Mayweather, then a mix of supposed unprovens, past their prime future hall of famers and a king who can’t be bothered.
The supposed unprovens are guys like Paul Williams, Antonio Margarito, Zab Judah, Kermit Cintron and even Miguel Cotto.  They get no love from the huge groups of haters in the boxing community.
Williams’ biggest win came against Margarito, who was catching heat for not having wins over big names.  Margarito crushed Cintron, who wrecked Walter Mattysse, who was also stopped by Williams.  Cotto’s biggest win was a war against Zab Judah, whose biggest win was a knockout of Cory Spinks in a rematch of a decision loss.
Ronald “Winky” Wright now joins the future hall of famers click, originally including only Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosley, all in the final phase of their respective careers.  The king, of course, is “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather, who hasn’t heard of half of them.  His usual answer when asked about these guys is, “Who.”
Instead Mayweather will face a monster at 140, Ricky Hatton, at the 147 welterweight limit.  We know Floyd has pound-for-pound skills, but his heart is untested.  He is as good at dodging challenges as he is at slipping punches.  The jab to the belly that puzzled De La Hoya will tame the hard charging Hatton, who will try in vain to get to the better polished Mayweather.  But if Hatton can pull it off, a match with De La Hoya would shatter records; I think it’s what De La Hoya is hoping for. 
Ah, the possibilities at welterweight, then there’s the hand full of contenders and promising prospects.  Fellows like Josh Clottey, who gave Margarito hell until he hurt a paw and let off.  Margarito also hurt a hand, but the way he handled the situation is what separates Margarito from Clottey.  Luis Collazo had Hatton hurt and stayed with him the entire fight in Hatton’s venture to welterweight, winning a world title he shortly relinquished to return to the comforts of 140.
The young guns are prospects Victor Ortiz and Andre Berto, though both are exciting to watch, I’m still not convinced by either. Berto throws hard and fast but gets hit easily.  He throws single shots too much and admires his work.  When he finishes his combos he is usually in position to get hit and not without being able to fire back. His speed and power will get him by while giving him time to improve.  That is if he hopes to reach the top.  Ortiz makes the same mistakes plus he squares up a bit with his chin up at times.  Again, his physical gifts will get him by while he irons that out.  They each will be starting their ascents with stiffer challenges that could put them at contender status soon.    
Berto recently called out Judah through the website where you hear boxing news first.  It would be an exhibition of blazing speed and power.  Judah, in my opinion would be too much for Berto at this point.  Calling out Zab Judah, that’s gangsta.  He ain’t built like y’all, I saw video of him shooting dice on the street then kicking a fellow in face who he felt tried to cheat him.  That same weekend he was featured on national tele via ESPN Friday Night Fights.  The athletes who are having trouble in their respective sports because of run-ins with the law should box.  Pacman Jones would be nice right now if he was a boxer.  Allen Iversion would never have to explain that he missed practice, man, practice.  No fines for dress code.  Just make weight, show up and pass a drug test.  If you make it to the top, millions of dollars for one nights work.  Boxing should market it to teenagers with these points; they’ll listen to that. 
Imagine David Stern having to deal with Ricardo Mayorga, who is currently working his magic on Fernando Vargas, his next foe.  Although whole build up has been pretty weak in my opinion, I think the fight will not be lacking in action.  They both need a straight guy, like a comedy bit.  And for that the preview show gets the “Vapors.”  The people who hate on Michael Katz also catch the “Vapors.”  Either he’s over your head or you’re a hater.  He gives it to everybody equally and has been doing it for years. 


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