RIGHT now the featherweight division is perhaps the sexiest and most competitive in boxing with a stack of champions who will only lose to the very best in the business.
WBA champ Leo Santa Cruz is probably the best of the champions, followed by Lee Selby (IBF), Gary Russell (WBC) and Oscar Valdez (WBO).
New Frank Warren marquee signing Carl Frampton, who has beaten and lost to Santa Cruz, is right on their tails.
JoJo Diaz, Abner Mares, Scott Quigg and another Warren boxer Josh Warrington are all in the mix. Warrington will become Selby’s mandatory contender if he defeats Dennis Ceylan in Leeds on October 21.
Of the champions Russell, Santa Cruz and Valdez have been regulars on BoxNation, the channel of champions which celebrates it’s sixth birthday on Saturday.
Last Friday, viewers who burnt the midnight oil were treated to Valdez’s thrilling points win over Japan-based Filipino Genesis Servania.
Before his hard fought victory presenter Steve Bunce asked me where I would rate Valdez among the 126lb champions, and I replied “third or even fourth”.
That is no slight on Valdez, but the strength in depth in the division currently, among the title holders and several challengers who would be worthy world champions.
Frampton, who was wanted by another British and an American promoter, is a brilliant signing for Warren as he looks to become a world champion again.
The Belfast man has already won titles at super-bantamweight and featherweight and before he leaves the sport Warren will surely help him become a three weight champion at super-featherweight.
But there is unfinished business at featherweight and besides being a serious talent, he’s a huge draw and TV friendly so there will be no shortage of chances.
A third meeting with Santa Cruz possibly at Belfast’s Windsor Park is his dream. Warren has a good relationship with Top Rank so Valdez cannot be ruled out.
Warren would also be open to sitting down with Selby, whose team recently turned down his offer to defend against Warrington.
One fight that must not be ruled out and natural is a huge England v Ireland clash at Leeds United’s Elland Road stadium against new stablemate, Warrington.
It might not have the global appeal of a rubber match against Santa Cruz, but between two men who have fanatical support would pull in at least 25,000 fans and mean so much here.
Warrington packs Leeds Arena to the rafters, the city has a bulging Irish community and it’s just a short hop on a flight from Belfast.
If both keep winning over the next few months, it’s a fight where the figures add up and should be easy to make.
Whatever happens with Frampton and Warrington, whose careers you can follow on BT Sport and BoxNation, the featherweights are going to be fun for some time yet.
BY the time a boxer weighs-in a tough training camp and weight-making usually means they feel ready conquer the world.
Too often things are getting out of hand with bad tempered face-offs between rival boxers.
Last Friday it spilled over between Shayne Singleton and Peter McDonagh ahead of their contest the following day.
It’s time for the Boxing Board of Control to step in and slap down these sort of antics that do not respect the sport at all.
I’d suggest an automatic warning the first time a boxer crosses the line at a weigh-in followed by a 10% fine of their contracted purse which would be shared among boxing charity for any future misdemeanours.
Hitting someone in the pocket usually makes them think twice.
AS I mentioned earlier in the column, BoxNation celebrates it’s sixth birthday on Saturday. It’s been a fantastic success story despite being dismissed by many who should know better.
We haven’t looked back since the Liam Walsh v Paul Appleby fight on the opening night at York Hall, Bethnal Green.
From the madness of Dereck Chisora before his fight against Vitali Klitschko to the Miguel Cotto planting a kiss on Saul Canelo Alvarez after their 12 rounder, I’ve been a lucky boy to be around so many events and classic matches.
Long may it continue and also well done on the incredible efforts of those who have various roles off camera.