The first Middleweight championship fight was between Tom Chandler and Dooney Harris in 1897. Chandler won, becoming known as the American Middleweight Champion. Since then the Middleweight division has been called the talent division. It brings together the perfect combination of speed and power, the division has given us some of the most entertaining fighters of recent decades, Hagler, Monzon, Hearns and Roy Jones Jr. It has also always been my favorite division. Which has made the past few years so painful. Watching GGG beat up on a bunch of tomato cans and collect a bunch of straps and listening to Jim Lampley and HBO sing his praise never sat well with me. The division has not been competitive the last few years and did not have great fighters. All that is changing and the division is on the verge of surpassing the welterweight division which has been the most competitive, intriguing and star-studded in boxing for decades. The Middleweight division is back on track to be where it was in the 80’s when it had wars like Hagler/Duran, Hagler/Hearns, Hagler/Leonard and so on. There are at least five studs in the division with unique styles and stories who seem willing to fight each other and daring enough to be king of the Middleweights.
Gennady Golovkin– The Current Champ of the Division- Holds all but one of the major straps. Ran an impressive streak of 23 consecutive knockouts 2008-2016. He burst onto the US scene over five years ago now. Back in September of 2012, the 30-year-old mostly unknown Golovkin took apart Grzegorz Proksa, who HBO tried their best to sell as a quality opponent despite the fact he had just months early lost to a fighter named Kerry Hope. Since then he continued the knockout streak with an amazing display of power against mainly B level fighters and tomato cans. Although, in 2016 he showed he was able and willing to fight the best and put on two solid performers and took a win and a draw in two very controversial decisions against the two other top 160 pounders. GGG power may not be all that it was cracked up to be and may not be the boogeyman but, his chin is made of some of the toughest granite on planet earth.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez– The Money fighter – HIs quality of opposition and will to be great came under question. His ability to sell tickets and make money never did. The man is the biggest draw in boxing and can sell a fight. After his performance against Golovkin, his determination and will should not come under question again anytime soon. After losing most of the middle rounds on most of the scorecards. Alvarez rallied late and won all of the last three rounds to eek out a draw. Canelo’s body attack underrated hand speed and skill make him a threat to anyone in the weight class. He is also the biggest cash draw in the sport, so everyone wants to fight him, plus every time he has ever stepped up he has either lost to (Mayweather) got away with robbery (Lara) got the benefit of a draw or was a really close fight (GGG, Trout) or just won a really great fight (Cotto). So despite his tremendous talents, he’s viewed as beatable and always makes a great fight. He could beat anyone on this list, he could also lose to anyone on this list.
Danny Jacobs– The Miracle Man– Every list needs a New Yorker this is ours. Danny Jacobs fought back from the brink of death, literally. The Miracle Man cheated death and then was cheated out of being the unified champ at the 160-pound division. Prior to the fight, Jacob had put together a 10 fight knockout streak since beating cancer. The former WBA Middleweight champ posses a rare combination of speed, power, and skill that is going to be a major headache to each and every fighter on this list. He was able to outbox Golovkin when he wanted to and looked to win the majority of the rounds but seemingly got to brave at times and couldn’t resist the toe to toe action. He has the ability and speed to outbox and win rounds against everyone on this list. Jacobs has a new three-fight deal with, Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing and HBO and will return to the ring on November,11, in Long Island, NY against undefeated prospect Luis Arias, should he handle Arias, he should have a fight with one of the studs on this list next.
Jermall Charlo– The Up and Comer- At only 27 years of age, Charlo has already dominated the 154lb division and is poised to do the same at 160. He won his first title just two years ago against Cornelius Bundrage and within 15 months chose to defend his title against the likes of Austin Trout and Julian Williams. He is often compared to and likes to call himself this generation Tommy Hearns although those comparisons are not out of the questions. He has the power, he has the style and he has the willingness to fight anybody. At 27, with his style and youth on his side, in this division, Charlo has all the makings to be the next great American superstar in this sport. But he has to start clearing out some of the names on this list. An all American showdown with Danny Jacobs would be a Hagler-Hearns type of start.
Billy Joe Saunders– The Sleeper- His stock keeps rising but he is still not considered by most to be on the same level as the others on this list. But it’s getting harder and harder to ignore Saunders, who now has wins over Eubank Jr, Andy Lee, and Monroe on his perfect resume (25-0). Saunders doesn’t possess the name recognition, the blazing speed or the one punch power. But, the kid can box, he does a lot of little things well, he uses his body well he knows how to keep the distance from his opponent, he has excellent footwork, and how to use his jab. He does enough to win rounds and its a very difficult task to win rounds against BJ.He isn’t a guy you can look good against. For this reason, he was seemingly ducked by GGG and has trouble locking down big fights. What he can do is frustrate you with his mouth and his style. He can also offer you a massive payday across the pond in the UK and the WBO title. So whoever wants to unify is going to have to go through him.