With all the talk of the junior welterweight (140), welterweight (147) and super middleweight divisions (168), the junior middleweight (154) and middleweight (160) divisions continue to get overlooked.
Considering the fact that Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao operate in the welterweight division and the likes of Tim Bradley, Amir Khan and Devon Alexander fighting at 140, it’s understandable.
But after witnessing Saul “Canelo” Alvarez move to 37-0-1 and capture the WBC 154-pound title after a 12th-round stoppage of Ryan Rhodes on Saturday night, the junior middleweight division is not to be fooled with. With Miguel Cotto, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez (Yes, we know he fights at 160, but he can fight at 154), 154 is beginning to become a stacked division.
And Alvarez, just 20 years old, is vaulting to the top. Alvarez has already been in 38 fights. Even Rhodes admitted how much of a star Alvarez has become. “I’ve been beaten by a superstar in boxing,” he sold HBO on Saturday night.
With a string of impressive wins over veterans like Carlos Baldomir, Lovemore N’dou and Matthew Hatton, Alvarez has proven he can swing it with the big boys. Now if only Alvarez can get himself a big payday.
Unfortunately that’s not going to happen for a while. With two of the top 154-pound fighters in the world –Cotto, Chavez Jr.– already booked, Alvarez will have to wait his turn. Even Martinez, who is looking for that big fight, has plans for the fall. He’ll be taking on European champ Darren Barker on October 1.