To be the man, you don’t necessarily have to beat the man!
The welterweight division has for so long been boxings glamour division under heavyweight. A tremendous blend of both blistering speed and bone crunching punching power has ensured a steady stream of classic material from the 147-pound division.
Up until his recent retirement “Money” was the welterweight ruler. With his departure, a huge void has been left in the division, one which we excitedly wait to be filled. An old boxing idiom has always stated that “to BE the man you have to BEAT the man”. What happens when that is not actually possible however, can sometimes prove to be a lot more entertaining. In this very instance “The Man” is normally the last one standing after the dust has settled on some terrific contests. As fans of the sport we are in a privileged position right now. Just as is the case in a host of other weight classes, 147 is littered with an array of star studded talent all vying to be “New Money”.
While the WBSS has been a breath of fresh air to the sport, 147 is one weight where I don’t wish to see an elimination style tournament. I feel that the division and the sport on a whole would benefit a lot more from a series of match ups that could each stylistically provide fireworks. Here I will explore 5 potential match ups that win, lose or draw for each competitor are bound to raise their stock.
Danny Garcia vs Shawn Porter – This one has fight of the year contender written all over it. A sharp shooting, power punching, flat footed counter puncher vs an in your face, relentless, pressure fighting brawler. This stylistic match up would pose several questions for both fighters and hopefully give us fans both the answers and excitement we crave. Would Porter be able to disrupt Garcia with his rugged style or would his bull-rushing style see him run head first into Garcia’s patented “no look hook”? I for one hope we get to find out.
Errol Spence Jr vs Keith Thurman – fans are salivating at the prospect of this fight already, and for good reason. Unified champion Thurman has proved that he is so much more than a crude “1 Time” slugger over the last few years. He has shown great boxing skills, an underrated fight IQ & undeniable grit when faced with adversity in fights. While these are all enviable traits to possess, it’s the latter that has also raised so many question marks. Undoubtedly Thurman has shown he is tough and will fight through pain and discomfort but the way in which he has found himself hurt has led to people screaming that Spence Is the man to end his run. Keith Thurman has been visibly hurt to the body on several occasions, this could prove to be his undoing against the rugged Texan. Immensely skilled, fast, powerful and smart, Spence has also proven to be one of the premier body punchers in boxing today. This contest has classic written all over it. The boxing community wait with baited breath…
Errol Spence Jr vs Shawn Porter – this is the beauty with a series of match ups rather than an elimination style tournament. We, the fans could have potentially been missing out on this match up that would surely be firefight. Two fighters who like to occupy the centre of the ring, hunt their opponent, corner them and then do vicious damage. I find it hard to envision this fight as anything other than a war. This would be the kind of fight, once again that would elevate both participants, regardless of the outcome.
Terrence Crawford vs Keith Thurman – the boss from the 140-pound division has set his sights on once again trying to conquer a weight class. Crawford took the bold step of moving up and challenging WBO king Jeff Horn so chasing a challenge as difficult as this assignment would come as no surprise. This match up pits switch hitting Crawford against the savvy power punching Thurman, two fighters who can both box as well as they can bang. Both fighters share the distinction of being much better in areas than they are given credit for, this is what I think makes the fight so interesting. Crawford, for all his technical ability and slick skills is a power punching, rugged fighter while Thurman is the power puncher who is a lot slicker and fleet of foot than people often realize. Who imposes their will? Who makes the adjustments? What a fight this would be.
Terrence Crawford vs Errol Spence Jr – this would see two of the consensus best “Pound for Pound” fighters in the world square off. Much has been said of both men, they possess that unique blend of speed, power, ring intelligence, durability & aggression. All the ingredients you would expect from the best “Pound for Pound” in the world. This contest, while undoubtedly being a huge money fight, could be the real “Money” fight. Could this fight be the one to anoint the heir apparent? Could this be the one that finally sees the end of the Mayweather era and beginning of the Crawford/Spence one?
The king is dead, long live the king. Whoever that proves to be…
What happens when the lights fade, the fire starts to dwindle, and the love has left town? These are the difficult questions popular crowd favourite Tyler Goodjohn found himself faced with. An ever-present name amongst the blood & guts enthusiasts, Goodjohn found himself with a new family and a bank statement that was taking more hits than Antonio Margarito. He needed a new direction and he needed it fast. One fight in 18 months proved to be the bitter sweet turning point.
Most fighters outside of the upper echelon are only paid if they fight (normally this is via a % of tickets they are required to sell, that’s another topic for another time), they receive no financial income to train. As you can imagine this will put a great strain on a budding fighters finances, especially if they’re not prolific ticket sellers and are unable to fight regularly. Goodjohn found himself with a lot of time on his hands during this hiatus from the professional prize ring and put it to situation changing use. Now the proud owner of his own gym, the thriving El Warriors Workshop, he is earning a living, providing for his family and still involved in the pugilistic art he holds so dear. With his financial affairs back in order, it was time to address another issue; the competitive itch. Goodjohn still had the hunger to compete and test himself but no longer had the love or hunger for the professional boxing game. He has now turned his sights to another battleground, BKB (bare knuckle boxing). He will make his debut in the new and exciting format on Saturday June 9th. It was a pleasure to sit down and catch up with a former sparring partner and friend and discuss the next chapter.
Me: Ok Tyler, obviously I know you very well but for my readers that may not be as familiar please gives us a quick introduction.
Tyler: My name is Tyler Goodjohn, I am 27 years old and I am from Cambridgeshire. I had 69 amateur fights, winning 46 of them and becoming Junior ABA Champion. As a professional I had 18 fights, won 13 and was a former English Champion. I’ve been in some seriously tough fights, right from the beginning. I boxed Danny Connor in only my 6th fight, we went on to fight each other 3 time in total. I fought former British Champion Tyrone Nurse in my 11th fight and then won the English in my 13th in front of a packed O2 arena. I’ve had some great fights and great nights but eventually the struggle to make the 10st weight limit (where I had most of my success) took its toll on me. In the end I was never able to get another crack at the big shows. For one reason or another I wasn’t attractive to promoters.
Me: So as my readers can see, you’re someone who knows the game of boxing. When did you start boxing & why?
Tyler: I started boxing at age 10 to lose weight, I was quite a chunky kid…not much has changed. Like most kids I was really into football, but I struggled to get into the team because of my weight so my parents took me to Haddenham ABC to learn how to box and lose some weight.
Me: Your story, in terms of the reason why you started boxing is very similar to mine. How and why did you find yourself turning professional?
Tyler: I turned professional because I didn’t have anywhere else to go in the amateur game. I had got to a national final and then the following year I became national Junior ABA Champion, but I was constantly being overlooked by the England boxing selection team. It was basically stay amateur, give up boxing completely or try my luck in the professional ranks. I had previously been potted by Tony Sims in London and had been offered to turn professional. In hindsight 18/19 was far too young for me to turn professional but I didn’t feel I had many other choices at that time.
Me: You mentioned that in hindsight maybe you turned pro too soon. Are there any other things you wish you would have known before your professional career?
Tyler: Absolutely! Professional Boxing is a business. I heard this so much before I turned pro, but I chose to ignore it. Again, I put this down to being young and probably naïve. I wish I understood that promoters are only concerned with making money out of you, there’s no loyalty or care in this game. Once you have been beaten and you’re of no financial use anymore you’re tossed on the scrap heap. It’s the nature of the beast but it still makes it a very hard pill to swallow.
Me: I for one am very interested in seeing you compete in BKB, I feel it suits your style down to a tee. Do you feel there will be other boxers interested and do you feel you may see some other boxers making the switch?
Tyler: Thanks mate. Yeah, I do believe more and more professional boxers will start making the switch over to BKB. Without name dropping, most professional boxers I speak to are tired of the game. They’re fed up of the way its run, so I can see this transition becoming more common.
Me: Been great to catch up with you bro. Lastly, tell the readers when the fight is, where its going to be and how we can get tickets?
Tyler: Really enjoyed catching up, thank you for doing this piece on me. I really appreciate the support and interest. My BKB debut is on Saturday June 9th at the Indigo O2, back at my old hunting ground. People can contact me directly for tickets, but the event is close to being a sell-out. The interest and demand has been out of this world.
I am looking forward to following Tyler’s next chapter. One thing is for sure; there’s probably going to be blood and its probably going to be exciting
In a sport that tends to overuse the superlatives “legend” & “all time great” I find myself at a loss for more suitable terms for Ukrainian sensation Vasyl Lomachenko.
Lomachenko, with last weeks emphatic victory has now carved a hall of fame career. This has resulted in him being the kingpin in 3 different weight divisions. He has done this at a breathtaking rate, all within 12 fights. The pace at which he has achieved this feat is unlikely to be rivaled, while the electricity of his performances is already seeing him grow to mythical proportions. The only real questions that present themselves now are; just how far can he go? And, are we witnessing someone who can potentially go down as THE greatest fighter in history?
Here we will indulge my inner boxing fantasist and discuss 5 scenarios which, if achieved could well see Loma be crowned TBE:
1. Unify the 135 division. With a host of talent in the legendary lightweight division (one of Boxing’s original 8), collecting all the belts and becoming undisputed in this era would be a great feat. To do it 2 weight classes north of where you turned pro would be the stuff of legends.
2. Rematch and beat Orlando Salido. Although this may not be technically possible due to Salido retirement rumors. Should Lomachenko rematch Salido and overturn the one blemish on his record that would go a long way towards his TBE claims.
3. Capture a world title at 140 junior welterweight. This would be a great feat for someone who turned pro at the weight Lomachenko did. To do it within what will be, barring a sustained period of warm up fights, record breaking time would once again strengthen the Loma arguments. There is also some great talent in the division right now which sort of ties into the next point.
4. Face and defeat a nailed on Hall Of Famer. Great fighters need great fighters on their records. With the rumored showdown with Manny Pacquiao a possibility, Loma could have exactly the dance partner he needs to fulfill this criteria.
5. Capture a world title at 147 welterweight and unify. This would be a huge ask given both Lomachenko’s size and also the size plus talent that lurks in that division, but I’m sure if Lomachenko could pull of this one off then even his staunchest critics would be jumping on the TBE bandwagon.
Lomachenko is in a rare position right now. He could conceivably achieve the things on the above list and do it all within 20 professional fights! This is absolutely mind boggling. One thing is for certain, I am going to be watching his next steps with eager eyes.
Do you feel Lomachenko is poised to make a run for the All Time Great position?