Advertisement
Advertisement

Getting Back To Being Junior Featherweight

By Cliff Rold

A cerebral Jr. Featherweight division just feels wrong.

A drought of classics at Jr. Featherweight just feels like a vile black hole in the space/time continuum.

Jr. Featherweight isn’t the oldest of weight divisions (at least not in terms of continuous existence) but in its shorter existence it has become one of the most storied.  From the reign of Wilfredo Gomez to very recently, Jr. Featherweight has been one of the great action sources for the sport.

It was so good from the mid-90s t the mid-2000s one could almost be spoiled.  With four ‘Fight of the Year’ winners in the 2000s alone, names like Barrera, Morales, McKinney, Vazquez, Marquez (Rafael), and Monshipour were a standard for violence.

Since the end of the three-fight series between Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez (not including their Featherweight epilogue), it’s been a littler quiet.  Oh, there have been good nights, but recently there has been a little too much boxing going on in the beast class.

The Cult of Rigo might want to skip down a bit.

Current champion Guillermo Rigondeaux is almost the anti-Jr. Featherweight.  As sublime as his skills are, he is an anomaly in class.  The expectations the division has built over the years are in stark contrast to the cerebral king of now and that may explain some of the box office results.  The brief run of Nonito Donaire in the division prior to his loss to Rigondeaux didn’t really set things ablaze either.    

When the weekend of the year…and Showtime…arrives just more than seven days from now, we might get a taste of the old stuff again.

To be sure, the weekend of the year took a hit this week.  While it wasn’t expected to be a barnburner, a clash between the two best Heavyweights on the current scene added extra scope to the still full slate of September 5th and 6th.  Wladimir Klitschko-Kubrat Pulev is postponed due to a Klitschko injury and now the Showtime show, on paper, is elevated from fifth best to fourth.

That means the weekend is still loaded.  Jr. Featherweight is a big part of the equation.

Below Rigondueax, the core is more in line with tradition, an explosion of action waiting to happen.  We started to see some of it last year.  Current IBF titlist Kiko Martinez (31-4, 23 KO) turned heads with with a knockout upset of undefeated Jhonatan Romero and followed with knockouts of Jeffrey Mathebula and Hozumi Hasegawa.  It was a remarkable turnaround considering one fight prior to Romero, he was stopped on a right hand by Carl Frampton.

On September 6th, it’s Frampton (18-0, 13 KO) again.

As was the case the first time, Martinez will travel to Frampton’s turf in Northern Ireland.  Considering the roll he’s on, and that the first fight was competitive, there is reason to think Martinez is capable of turning the tables.

Frampton, still getting better and flush with confidence from their first encounter, provides reason to think he can’t.

Now with AWE set to broadcast in the US on TV and via webstream (3:30 PM EST/12:30 PM PST), the tapestry of the weekend is almost complete.  There still isn’t any US outlet providing Friday’s Flyweight title fight (Akira Yaegashi-Roman Martinez) but hope spring eternal.

The Martinez-Frampton rematch is just a hint of what might be bubbling at 122 lbs.  Much could depend on how long everyone sticks around.  All-action WBC titlist Leo Santa Cruz (27-0, 15 KO) may move up before it all comes together.  WBA ‘regular’ titlist Scott Quigg (28-0, 21 KO) is tall for the division and may as well.

Should they stay awhile, the boxing gods could do worse than to match them with the winner of Frampton-Martinez and let the fireworks commence.  Even if none of them ever reach the heights of the Barrera’s and Gomez’s in the eyes of history, they can keep with their tradition in the ring together.

And, along the way, if Rigondeaux manages to get a couple of them and box them silly, the wars around him can keep the meter running.  There’s room in boxing for blood and science.

For now, we anticipate the former.    

When two fighters who have already made a fine encounter meet again, both seemingly red hot, with the stakes raised, that’s a fight.

And fighting is what the best of Jr. Featherweight has always been about.

Cliff’s Notes…

Next week: FlyWars…It’s hard to imagine anything could sound as exciting on paper as the upcoming slate at 112 lbs. but an announcement for the undercard of Gennady Golovkin-Marcio Antonio Rubio might fit the bill.  Nonito Donaire-Nicholas Walters is a puncher’s duel with speed to go with it…As a Fresno State fan, I wasn’t the least bit disappointed that the kid at USC was fibbing…Has anyone asked Marcos Maidana if he wants to fight for a Jr. Middleweight title…The Leftovers flashback episode might have been their best yet, though Nora’s episode is right there…It all pales in comparison to The Strain.   
 
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

Tags: boxing image  
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by crold1 on 08-29-2014

[QUOTE=techliam;14893548]Thanks for another well written article Cliff I know you've written about Flyweight many times, but what are your thoughts on the current state of the division, and it's little brother, Jr flyweight?[/QUOTE] Most exciting division in the game right…

Comment by damit305 on 08-28-2014

I love Wilfredo Gomez pero Rigo would of made papitas out of dude.

Comment by Tyler_Durden on 08-28-2014

Good article.

Comment by techliam on 08-28-2014

Thanks for another well written article Cliff I know you've written about Flyweight many times, but what are your thoughts on the current state of the division, and it's little brother, Jr flyweight?

Comment by Young Herschel on 08-28-2014

In the new fiscal year I would like to think that CBS/Showtime might be interested in financing another world championship tournament with a focus on the super bantamweight division. LSC . . . should he prevail on the Mayweather vs…

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (8)
Top Headlines Hernandez Will Head Back To 154 After Stunning Alfredo Angulo Hammer Backs Klara Svensson To Defeat Mikaela Lauren Daniela Bermudez Stuns Mariana Juarez in Mexico City Shields Leaves Door Open For Third Olympic Gold in 2020 Mayweather: They Ask a Thousand Times - I'm NOT Coming Back! Guerrero Claims Robbery: I Clearly Won, 116-112 Score Was Crazy! Peralta: I Was a Cab Driver, Now I Beat Robert Guerrero! Miguel Marriaga Blasts Out Robb, Jose Felix Crushes Frankel Yazmin Rivas Earns Debatable Split Nod Over Jessica Gonzalez David Peralta a Ghost Buster, Stuns Robert Guerrero in Upset Win Rod Salka Returns To Beat a Game Savi, Devin Haney Wins Isaac Dogboe Impressive, Dominates Neil John Tabanao Freddy Hernandez Shocks Alfredo Angulo With Big Decision Win Terrell Gausha Snags Tough Decision Win Over Steve Martinez Avni Yildirim Dominates Aaron Pryor Jr. Over Ten Rounds Cuadras To Chocolatito: I'm Good, I'm Very Handsome, I'll KO You Euro News: Imre Szello, Lauren vs. Svensson Card, Pierre Madsen Promoters Coming Together To Fight New Laws in New York Juan Francisco Estrada vs. Kazuto Ioka is Likely Purse Bid Bound Kovalev vs. Ward T-Mobile Arena Ticket Information Liam Smith: I Can Take Canelo's Shots, I Want To Test His Chin! Tommy Morrison's Son Aims To Impress on ShoBox Kovalev-Ward Deal Finalized For Vegas; Announcement Soon Anthony Joshua's Ring Return: Manchester is The Frontrunner Whyte vs. Sexton Plans Canned, Could Be Dereck Chisora Next Robert Frankel Ready: Jose Felix is a Very Winnable Fight Casimero Training Very Hard For Edwards, Says Promoter Hearn Hopeful For Callum Johnson Commonwealth Challenge Golovkin's Coach: Eubank Sr. Telling Lies, Must Come To His Senses Vargas Confident: I Really Think I'm Knocking Manny Pacquiao Out! Golovkin: This is Different, I'm Not Doing What Canelo Did! Frank Warren on Eubank vs. Langford, Flanagan's Options Edwards Confident of Shocking Casimero on Golovkin vs. Brook Con Sheehan Signs With MGM, Will Fight Twice In A Week LaRon Mitchell Goes The Distance, Danny Roman Wins Mikaela Lauren Promises To Drill Klara Svensson For The Count Macklin Warns Brook: Golovkin is Smart, Don't Let Him Read You Jacobs: I'll Fight Golovkin Before Canelo Does - For Right Money Muhammad Ali Center Looks To The Future Without The Champ Frank Warren Throws Water on Joshua's Claim of Joyce Robbery
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement