By Steven St. John
Canelo Alvarez defends his WBC Middleweight title against Amir Khan tomorrow night on PPV from Las Vegas. Alvarez is one of my favorite fighters to watch and I expect his showdown with Khan to be an exciting fight. I think Khan’s speed might give Canelo some problems early in the fight, but eventually Canelo will land a meaningful shot on Khan’s questionable chin and that will change or maybe even end the fight. Canelo will win by stoppage in the mid to late rounds.
In anticipation of this fight, here is a Sweet 16 list of my favorite fighters to watch in boxing. This is not a list of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport. This is simply the fighters that I enjoy watching the most. I’m friends with Victor Ortiz, so I have omitted him from this list. I have also left out Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., even though I love him and his father. But, until JCCJ decides to train properly for his fights and starts listening to the advice his father gives him, he will stay off this list. Also, he should probably stop smoking weed during training camp.
· Gennady Golovkin – GGG is the most exciting fighter in boxing. Some fans question GGG’s level of competition, but it’s not his fault that many fighters are afraid to fight him. Hopefully, Golovkin will fight Canelo soon. If so, I might pass out with excitement during the ring introductions.
· Canelo Alvarez – He is the face of Mexican boxing and currently the most popular PPV draw in the sport. If he defeats Kahn, everyone will want him to fight GGG. That may not happen in September, but I think it will happen next May.
· Juan Manuel Marquez – He hasn’t fought for a long time, but until he officially retires, I will keep him on my list. He is one of my favorite fighters of all-time and one of the most entertaining fighters of my lifetime.
· Terence Crawford – Crawford is the pride of Omaha and he is one of the best fighters in the world. I can’t wait for his fight against Viktor Postol on July 23. What a fight!
· Deontay Wilder – Wilder is the currently the best American heavyweight and has the chance to become the best heavyweight in the world. He has the power, size and charisma to be a superstar, but I still worry about his chin. We will find out a lot about Wilder when he fights fellow top-ten heavyweight Alexander Povetkin on May 21 in Moscow.
· Sergey Kovalev – He is like the Terminator. An absolute destructive force. And, he’s supposed to fight Andre Ward in November. Please let this fight happen. Please.
· Andre Ward – Ward might be the best fighter on this list, but some people think he’s boring. I think he is technically superb and can adjust to win any style of fight. I would pick him to win in a fight against Kovalev.
· Miguel Cotto – Cotto has been one of the most exciting boxers to watch in the last 25 years, but his career is winding down. He hasn’t ducked anyone and he’s never backed down from a fight. It will be interesting to see who he fights next and how he finishes his hall-of-fame career.
· Keith Thurman – He’s undefeated and has a real shot to become a star in boxing. If he beats Shawn Porter on June 25, he will cement himself as the best welterweight in the world. I would love to see him eventually fight Danny Garcia.
· Shawn Porter – Porter is very exciting and has tremendous power, but he showed some flaws in his loss to Kell Brook. Beating Thurman would be HUGE for his career, but I don’t think it will happen.
· Lucas Matthysse – He’s like a machine, but he’s starting to slow down. I would love to see him fight a rematch with Ruslan Provodnikov.
· Ruslan Provodnikov – He’s going to fight John Molina on June 11 and that should be an outstanding fight. Provodnikov then might fight Crawford, but that would be bad news for Ruslan. Again, I want a rematch with Matthysse.
· Viktor Postol – His win over Matthysse was awesome, but now he faces Crawford on July 23. The fight will be exciting, but Crawford is just too damn good.
· Oscar Valdez – Valdez could be the next big thing in Mexican boxing. It will be fun to see how he evolves over the next 12-18 months.
· Roman Gonzalez – Many boxing pundits rank El Chocolatito as the best fighter in the world and they may be right. However, there is nobody in the flyweight division that can touch him and he needs better competition to attract the attention from fight fans he deserves.
· Adonis Stevenson – Stevenson is bold and brash. I would love to see him fight Kovalev or Ward, but that doesn’t look likely to happen anytime soon. He needs to step up his level of competition.
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