By Asif ‘Doc’ Mahmood
We recently witnessed a very good fight between two belt holders in a division with a deep and rich history. The WBC belt holder Badou Jack fought back to a fair draw against IBF champion James DeGale. Those who follow me on twitter may have come across a few comments I made at the time. The end result of the fight was fair and I got satisfaction from Eddie Hearn’s prediction, which was wrong, in that Degale would win every round and that the winner would be the best in the division. The other belt holders include Mexico’s undefeated WBO champion Gilberto Ramirez with the scandalous WBA title being shared between Fedor Chudinov and Tyron Zeuge.
Over recent years we have witnessed an excellent Super 6 tournament with great fighters such as Andre Ward, Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler.
It made me realise that the division now has four champions but no actual proven elite or even world class boxer. Yes, they are very good boxers caught in a great triangle theory by throwing George Groves into the mix given his history with both Degale and Jack. The latter is moving up to light-heavyweight so he is now out of the picture. Jack is seeking a fight with Adonis Stevenson which is very much feasible but Superman is in negotiations with Joe Smith Jr and also has a mandatory (Bute/Alvarez) to commit too.
We then have Callum Smith who will likely face Anthony Dirrell for the soon-to-be-vacant WBC trinket. There was a lot of hype around probably the most talented Smith brother but his long wait for the WBC mandatory seems to have fizzled this out somewhat.
“King “ Arthur Abraham is a shadow of his former self and is in a WBO eliminator vs Robin Krasniqi which is horrendous as nobody wants to see him rematch the aforementioned Ramirez where he was beaten comprehensively.
You know the division is weak when the disgraceful Paul Smith Jr can get recurrent world title fights despite not progressing beyond British level.
My personal hope is that if our British fighters can get hold of the IBF, WBC and WBA belts we can see some excellent domestic unification fights to see who the man on this side of the Atlantic is. I rate Gilberto Ramirez highly and feel he causes any current champion problems if he can remain injury free.
The current crop of middleweights would have failed miserably in the Super 6 tournament and reflects the poor standard of the division but I feel the winner of Gilberto Ramirez versus the last Brit standing can call themselves world class.
There have been mentions of Golovkin stepping up but given his age I don’t see him having the longevity at super-middleweight. I do think that should he continue to improve Chris Eubank Jr can ask questions of all those currently at the Division. #warIBO
Photo Credit: Sky Sports