The “Elite” Gap

With the grace of hindsight, it’s nice to reflect on the Broner vs. Porter fight, a fight that means so much for the welterweight division following Guerrero vs. Thurman back in March simply because of the exciting matchup, AND two more candidates that thin the pool for the latter half of the year’s big fights. It was a contest that uncovered a tantalizing story of styles that just breeds so much speculation for how the rest of 2015 will turn out for even more exciting matchups. In the business of boxing, this is all I agree with. If the illuminati of the sport are cashing in by meticulously making deals to make stylistically alluring matchups like we had on Saturday night, then more power to them.

I might be skipping ahead though. I meant to start this article with: “This was Broner’s fight to win, yet Porter’s growth and dedication to the craft might hint of a higher ceiling for Showtime.” Sorry, long ass headline haha. But it’s true. The fight on paper was too good. A hungry infighter with fast feet and rising confidence against a loud mouth shooter that people love to watch to get hit in the mouth. It was bound to be a good time. And it was. It was massively satisfying to see Porter with a new, massively improved jab. A jab that was underrated, not yet talked about in my world of boxing, but was fast, fierce, and punishing. It demeaned whatever confidence Broner had to basically nothing. Typically the first to shoot, Broner became obviously gun-shy after Porter connected numerous times early, and Broner had no choice in his small, small mind (which makes Mayweather look so much better) but to hold and just hold. Porter improved a lot since Kell Brook, and he deserved that win wholeheartedly. Broner must re-examine his goals and see if he really wants this because the root of his motivation will inform his performance. And that’s the difference between him and his so-called big brother.

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And this is what I wanted to write about today, this gap. The gap that existed between the fight that happened last Saturday and the night of May 2nd (yes, I’m sorry, I’m still talking about MayPac). Unpacking each of the fight’s moments and looking back to Mayweather vs. Pacquiao and then further back to fights of the 70’s and 80’s — when holding wasn’t a primary strategy — showed me really how far we’ve come (or fallen, depending on your perspective) from matchups of elite talents of the past. Without diving to deep in my Hearns, Arguello, Chavez Sr. pilgrimages, I actually felt as if Porter’s win was a testament to the Church of Infighting. The church of Eddie Futch. The church of motivation, perseverance, infliction of punishment, fists, sweat, blood, and bone. Porter won from the opening bell and though today’s outboxer has high affinity for defense, Porter’s offense, though messy at times, consistently overcame, which is hard to accomplish in today’s defense-heavy boxing sport.

However, that 12-round knockdown reminded me of how fickle my faith in the Church of Infighting can be. With some body-blow investments throughout the rounds, The Problem’s perfect left hook (fast, explosive, and whip-lashing) could have had high-drama reminiscent of fights of the past. Porter’s massive preparation feigns the fact that a champion outboxer who might have laid down some brickwork bodywork in earlier rounds might have walked away with a stunning and memorable 12th round KO. A mere jester in the Order of Outboxing, Adrien Broner lost that fight (especially after not capitalizing on that KD, and foolishly trying to repeat the magic of that left hook) but in my eyes redeemed (yes, redeemed) his place among other welterweights/jr. welterweights and I do believe that this makes him still a good matchup with many in this range of weight divisions. His weight seems optimal around 144 so I would put his name in with Amir Khan, Chris Algieri, Provodnikov, Brandon Rios. Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 10.07.08 PM But what of the rest of the welterweight class? How does this fight move things around? I’ll make some speculations to contribute to the boxing world after my long winded treatise. Working backwards from Mayweather, I believe his next matchup is nobody. I feel like he’s likely to skip out a fight in 2015 to enjoy his rest. Mayweather’s not going to venture up in weight, looping in names like Miguel Cotto, coming of a good-looking win, and the likes of Canelo, still bitter and probably even more so now as he is quickly aging out of that weight class, or Triple G, who he’d rather let the pundits continue to speculate.

I think Kell Brook would do well giving Shawn Porter a rematch. Keith Thurman is in a must-win scenario against the Monk, my favorite, Luis Collazo. But you know, Luis just has a way, I know it, a way of making people look bad. I predict Thurman will remain hustling against the middle class. I know this is crazy, but he’s a good gatekeeper for the elites, to be honest. (Hey, I’m just speculating.) I think Andre Berto could come back and splash some cold water on Amir Khan if he’s waiting, and this new shit with Bradley vs. Vargas just adds more pesto to the mix. Porter vs. Marquez. I don’t even know! My matchup juju is a flutter! All I know is that no one right now is a good matchup for Floyd.

Except for a healthy Pacquiao. 😉 LOL

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