The State Of The Super-Middleweight Division
The super middleweight division is arguably one of the most exciting, especially internationally. Within the domestic scene there is a plethora of up-and-coming talent who may be ready to dethrone the existing champions. This article will give a brief overview of all the champions and the current state of the division, as a whole.
WBC, WBA and Ring Magazine
The current king of the division is the great Canelo Alvarez. After he defeated Callum Smith last month, he obtained the vacant WBC title and the Brits WBA. It is looking increasingly likely that he will face Avni Yildrim, the mandatory challenger next month. Yildrim, from Turkey, has only lost two professional fights most notably at the hands of Chris Eubank Jr in 2017. After this fight, Canelo may continue to defend his title, potentially in unification fights with Billy Joe Saunders or Caleb Plant. After splitting with Golden Boy, it is up to Canelo and his team to decide which direction he goes next. He has ability and fame to pull the strings and demand any fight he wishes. Legacy is something that means a lot to the Mexican, and is such suggests he may want to clean up the super-middleweight division before his career comes to an end.
Caleb Plant has been the IBF title holder since January 2019 and is potentially the most underrated fighter in the division. Since then, he has had two title defences, most recently in February 2020 when he defeated Vincent Feigenbutz by knockout. His recent inactivity is the main reason for him going under the radar. He does have a fight lined up at the end of January against former champion Caleb Truax, who famously defeated James Degale at the Copper Box in 2017. It will not be an walkthrough, providing Plant with the toughest test of his career to date. Get through this fight, and it could set up a major payday for Plant, who has the potential to be a large name in the sport.
Polarising character Billy Joe Saunders currently reigns over the WBO super-middleweight division, defending his title recently against Martin Murray. There is no doubting that Saunders is one of the most skilled fighters in the division, especially defensively. Once again, inactivity has hindered him, with only three fights in the last two years. His fall out with Frank Warren and move to Matchroom gave the impression he was ready to become an active champion however, this has not been the case. It is also looking increasingly likely that he will be the man to face Canelo in May. Pull off the upset, and he could be catapulted to one of the largest draws in the entire sport. This ultimately depends on which Billy Joe turns up on fight night. We would have to assume that this fight would motivate him to the extreme, with the opportunity to leave a lasting legacy on the sport and the division.
As for some reason, Canelo is the ‘Super Champion’, it would be unfair to not mention 4-0 interim champion David Morell from Cuba. Although it would be fair to say a major fight is not on the immediate horizon for the former National Champion.
As mentioned previously, there is a whole host of talent waiting in the wings. Fighters such as the undefeated David Benavidez, who many believe is ready to regain his title. The American held the title twice previously but was stripped of his title due to a failed drugs test. Whilst mentions should also go to former challengers and title holders David Lemieux, Danny Jacobs and Anthony Direll who all could all once again compete at the highest level.
Brits to watch
There has been some great British super-middleweight fighters associated in this division over the years, with Chris Eubank, Nigel Benn and Joe Calzaghe to name a few. Zach Parker is a name that will be associated with the division for years to come and is currently the mandatory for Billy Joe Saunders title. The Derby-born fighter had his most recent bout rescheduled due to his opponent contracting COVID-19. He has the ability to finish fights, with twelve knockouts already on his resume. The only blotch on his career so far is a controversial split decision victory over Darryl Williams, after Parker tore his rotator cuff in the second round. At just 26 years old, Parker still has his prime years ahead of him, and as such can become a real powerhouse of the division.
After his loss to Canelo, Callum Smith will now be moving up to light-heavyweight according to promoter Eddie Hearn. As the road to a title at 168lbs seemed unlikely in the near future, it made sense due to his large frame.
As is boxing at the moment, this division is Canelo’s world and everyone else waiting on his next move. There are so many intriguing fights to be made, its hoped that division is not stalled too much by waiting for the pound for pound great. The best thing for the division may be for him to move down to middleweight and fight the likes of Andrade, freeing up the champions to create some incredible unification bouts. This may not be a popular opinion however there is only so long these top fighters can wait.