Light Welter Skelter
By Tom Gray. (November 22, 2004) 
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The consensus is that the 140lb division is “arguably” the best in boxing. The only problem with that statement is there is no argument – it is the best.

With the inclusion of Tszyu, Mayweather, Gatti, Cotto, Hatton and Vivian Harris the stage is set for some great battles. As yet none of these guys have fought each other, but it is only a matter of time before a 140lb collision rocks the sport.

Here is a look at the fighters who will inevitably go head to head.

Kostya Tzsyu – WBC Emeritus/ IBF Champion, 31-1 (25KO’s)

Just when you think that Tszyu might flounder, after injury and rescheduled fights, he bashes up the respected Sharmba Mitchell in three rounds.

He may be 35, but nobody is going in with “The Thunder from Down Under” without major trepidation of being slammed by that lethal right hand. He’s a superb technician and his accuracy and power are as potent as ever.

He has recently been linked with a move up to 147lbs, but if a mega fight can be made, expect Tszyu to hang around. He is undoubtedly the man to beat in this weight class, having dominated it for years.

Floyd Mayweather – WBC No. 1 Contender, 32-0 (21KO’s)

His talent is on another dimension and believe me, he knows it! Mayweather once talked about going up to 154lbs to challenge Oscar De La Hoya, but that was more self publicity than anything – he belongs at 140lbs.

Floyd’s hand speed is as lethal as Tzsyu’s power and his defence is probably the best in the business right now. The only win he has at the weight is over De Marcus Corley, but he was electric and floored “Chop Chop” twice.

I think that Mayweather will earn his superstar status at 140lbs and I would pick him over any of his contemporaries, including Tszyu.

Arturo Gatti – WBC Champion, 38-6 (29KO’s)

He was fed to Oscar De La Hoya as a warm up opponent and HBO gave him a nice pay day to take a beating.

What happens next? He gets Buddy McGirt in his corner and develops what he had all along – natural boxing skills. He will never be Pernell Whitaker and he is still prone to going wild with power shots (see Mickey Ward bouts), but Gatti has learned that self preservation is the key to success.

He wasn’t impressive in winning the “interim” WBC title from Gianluca Branco, but defended it in stunning fashion with a second round KO of Leonard Dorin.

He is simply incredible and a fight with Tsyyu would be pure “Thunder”. Whether the thunder comes from “down under” is the crucial thing!

Miguel Cotto – WBO Champion, 21-0 (17KO’s)

The sensational Puerto Rican seems on course to replace Felix Trinidad as a national hero. He is only 24 years old, but fights like a veteran with a relaxed style that can explode in an instant. His counter punching is also very dangerous – ask Kelson Pinto.

It seems to me that Mayweather and Cotto are on a collision course and if both guys can secure a couple of big wins, then the fight would be a terrific PPV attraction. My pick would be Mayweather, but he might have to go through hell to earn a victory.

Cotto is dynamite and is almost certain to live up to his potential.

Ricky Hatton – WBO and IBF No. 1 Contender, 37-0 (27KO’s)

He can fill the M.E.N Arena in Manchester, fighting anybody with a pulse, but yearns to fight the best in the business. His main problem is his promoter, Frank Warren, who is either unable or unwilling to give Ricky a fight in which the odds are even.

Hatton has been a prohibitive favourite against all of his opponents and the fans, especially in the States, aren’t blind. It is an uncomfortable truth, but a WBU title fight can be sold as a legitimate “World” title fight in the UK and as long as worthwhile revenue can be generated, then Hatton is a major business commodity.

The “Hitman” has a withering left hook to the body, underestimated boxing skills and an unbelievable work rate. He has voiced displeasure at his level of opposition, but is now poised to make a mark, being the mandatory challenger for both Tszyu and Cotto. Whether we see either fight is another matter entirely.

Vivian Harris – WBA Champion, 25-1-1 (17KO’s)

He may be the lesser known quantity, but Harris is a stylish boxer puncher who could give problems to any of the elite. He is trained by Emanuel Steward and is regarded as the danger man in the division, who is improving steadily.

In his most recent fight, he defeated Oktay Urkal for the second consecutive time, in convincing fashion. He had been linked to Hatton, but the deal fell through over money, in a fight that would have been good for both.

Even though the likes of Hurtado and Urkhal are good quality, you get the impression that Harris is capable of more. He should be up against one of his more capable 140lb counterparts next year and “Vicious” Vivian could pull a surprise.

Don’t you just wish that the heavyweight division could be half as good? Let’s hope that the obstacles standing in the way of these potential match ups get knocked over in a hurry.
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