For the second week in a row, a young 140 pounder put on a masterful performance. Last week Regis Progrias put the Jr welterweight division on notice with a stunning knockout over Julius Indongo. This past weekend Jose Carlos Ramirez dominated a game Amir Imam and took a lopsided unanimous decision over the native New Yorker at the World’s Most Famous Arena.
The Jr Welterweight division is often viewed a stepping stone. A division to transition lightweights into welterweights, a division where fighters collect a strap and then move on. The welterweight division has been the glamour division in boxing, especially among American fight fans for the better part of the last 20 years. Numerous fighters treated 140 as a launching pad to get mega fights with big payouts at 147. Fighters like Zab Judah, Ricky Hatton, and Danny Garcia had massive success at the division and should have perhaps stayed there instead of trying to make themselves into welterweights. Those three fighters all made the move to 147 to get bigger days. Perhaps the better long-term move would have been to stay at 140 and dominated that weight class. It worked for Kostya Tszyu, the Hall of Famer who dominated that weight class and only that weight class from 1995 till being dethroned by Ricky Hatton in 2005.
The Jr Welterweight aka Super lightweight division was unified and abandoned by Terence Crawford back in August and just seven months ago was viewed as an empty division. It had no belt holders and no big names, big fights, and no mega-talents. Oh, how the times change quickly. The 140-pound division is now a super division and one of the most competitive and stacked in the sport. In addition to star-making performances by two young hard-hitting Americans in Regis Prograis and Jose Carlos Ramirez. Kiryl Relikh captured the WBA strap in a dominating performance in taking out and avenging Rances Barthelemy. Both all action Texas native Omar Figueroa who captured the WBC lightweight title and Pound for Pound elite Mikey Garcia are currently campaigning at 140. Mikey has captured titles at 126.130,135 and most recently at 140. Cash cow Adrein Broner who is perhaps the biggest name in American boxing has said he is exclusively fighting at 140. Add in the winner of the Maurice Hooker and “Turbo” Terry Flannagan fight, a massively important fight for the vacant WBO strap, the winner of that fight will become a big draw with a mega fight on the horizon. Either, Mighty Mo will win the title, a Dallas, Texas native and will set up an all Texas dual between Hooker and Figueroa or if Turbo Terry wins he will be the cash cow of the division and could offer any of the other current champs including Mikey Garcia the biggest payday of their career to fight Flannagan in the UK. The division is also still home to very game and capable former champions like Sergey Lipinetz, Felix Diaz, and the highly inactive Viktor Postol who may be the overall most talented and accomplished fighter in the division who has demolished elite names like Lucas Matthysse and Selcuk Aydin.
When Bud left the division to jump up to 147 after destroying Indongo and unifying all the straps. The division was viewed as weak, thin and in complete disarray. With all things considered, the top 10 fighters in the division, it may be deeper than the welterweight division. With must of the fighters at 140 still very young and/or in their primes, this division can stay the hottest division in the sport for the next several years.
Below is a look at the top 10 fighters in the division in no particular order:
Mikey Garcia (IBF Champ)
Regis Prograis ( interim WBC title)
Jose Carlos Ramirez (WBC World Title)
Kirly Relikh (WBA World Title)
Terry Flanagan/Mo Hooker winner (WBO Title)
Viktor Postol (former WBC champ)
Adrien Broner (Former 4-Division world champ)
Omar Figueroa Jr (Former Lightweight champ)
Felix Diaz- (Gold Medalist)
Sergey Lipinetz (Former IBF champ)