Keith Thurman’s TKO of Luis Collazo threw yet another spotlight on the always competitive welterweight division. the 147-pound division contains some of the most exciting talent in the sport. This is definitely the case in the current scene, with pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather campaigning there, along with some of the most exciting young stars.
My own rankings for the division are as follows (note, Manny Pacquiao is left off the risk, due to his current injury):
1. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
No. 1 at both 147 pounds and at the division above, 154, Mayweather solidified his claim to top status at welterweight when he beat Manny Pacquiao with ease, earlier this year, to add the WBO belt to his WBC and WBA straps. The WBO has since stripped him for political/business reasons, but there’s no doubt about who is the king at welterweight.
2. Timothy Bradley
Bradley has been through some wars in his career and looks to me like a somewhat faded version of himself. Still, with his irrepressible will and technical expertise, he remains one of the toughest outs in the sport. He captured the WBO interim title in June when he beat Jessie Vargas. With the WBO stripping Mayweather, expect to see Bradley upgraded to “full” championship status.
3. Kell Brook
The undefeated IBF belt-holder, Kell Brook remains a bit of an unknown against truly elite talent. However, he left no doubt that he belongs among the division’s elite when he captured his title from Shawn Porter with an outstanding performance in August 2014. Brook is a strong, athletic fighter with skill. He’s positioned to be a major star in the post-Mayweather era.
4. Keith Thurman
In my opinion, Thurman is probably at least the second- or third-best fighter in this division. However, his current resume doesn’t justify higher than five. Still, he’s had very good wins against Diego Chaves, Leonard Bundu, Jesus Soto Karass and Luis Collazo. He beat Robert Guerrero more decisively and in more exciting fashion than Mayweather did.
5. Amir Khan
An Olympian at just age 17, it seems like Amir Khan has been around forever, although he is just 28. Khan has turned in three straight impressive performances against Luis Collazo, Devon Alexander and Chris Algieri. He has power and extremely quick hands. If not for his two career knockouts against Danny Garcia and Breidis Prescott, he’d be viewed as true elite.
6. Marcos Maidana
Maidana gave Floyd Mayweather one of the toughest brawls of his career. He’s a rampaging force of nature and not an easy fight for anybody. Still, he was beaten by Khan in 2010 and shutout by Devon Alexander in 2012. He’s been working with super trainer Robert Garcia for the past few years and has improved his jab.
7. Shawn Porter
An amateur standout and former sparring partner of Manny Pacquiao, Porter is a rugged and athletic fighter who works intelligently. He was outstanding in capturing the IBF belt from Devon Alexander in December 2013 and dominant in smashing Paulie Malignaggi by Round 4 TKO in April 2014. However, he lost a competitive, though decisive, decision to Brook.
8. Brandon Rios
Rios’ loss to Manny Pacquiao demonstrated he’s not a truly elite fighter. Still, he’s got a chin of granite and a relentless work rate, making him one of the most exciting fighters in the sport and one of the hardest to beat. He looked tremendous in his quick destruction Mike Alvarado earlier this year, in their rubbermatch.
9. Sadam Ali
A former amateur star from New York City, Ali one of the division’s rising stars. He represented the United States in the 2008 Olympics. As a professional, he has not developed at an extremely fast pace, but his Round 9 TKO of Luis Abregu last year was a breakout performance against a tough, experienced veteran who had previously only lost to Timothy Bradley
10. Diego Chaves
One of the dirtiest fighters in the sport, Chaves has very good power. He got a gift draw against Timothy Bradley last December, but the fact that he could fight close enough to let the judges screw up that badly is a credit to how awkward and tough he is. He was completely out-boxed and knocked out by Thurman and lost by DQ to Rios, in a fight that demands a rematch.