Are we truly entering a new "golden era" of welterweights?
If we're meaning "gold" as a financial reference, then I say we do.
But if we're talking of an era where great fighters exist at one time, in one division, where they can face each other, and it could create epic moments... well, you get the idea.
Not so fast, eh?
It has become gradually noticeable how virtually all media platforms (prominently HBO) of current seem to deliberately lead us to believe that welterweight is boxing's best and deepest division of the moment. Recently, boxing's most respected institution tried to fill us in on the scuttlebutt (it was presented as "Welterweight Heaven" in their web page, but I can't read and link the article as of the moment because it is unexplainably missing... what the heck?).
Anyway, that's the column that brought to me the idea of a new welterweight "golden era". The weight class's historical disposition contribute to the primping it gets from the media-- in a sport erroneously perceived by many as a dying one, this division has to be relevant again in these terms.
A short time ago, this was a point broached by ESPN. Eric Raskin wrote that a golden age of welterweight is in ocurrence, with Floyd Mayweather as the gold standard. Bad Left Hook recently exposed the fact that welterweight is just about 5-deep. Floyd Mayweather is returning, but the fact is he left the sport and hasn't even fought yet. And even if he fights (Juan Manuel Marquez), he's fighting a non-legitimate welterweight.
It is uncertain whether those media people truly believe in their hearts that welterweight is indeed the sport's deepest division or they are forced to do so by the powers that be. But it gets to us. What seem to be blinding them is the fact that welterweight seems this way because it is boxing's "money" division today. The biggest fights that can be made in all of boxing right now are all looming within this very division, financially-wise. Down economy and all.
Let's examine SC's top five list: Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto, Joshua Clottey, Andre Berto, and Luis Collazo. All legitimate welterweights who fights and actually plans to stay fighting in this weight class. But commentators, reporters, and journalists routinely include Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Paul Williams in the conversations. Antonio Margarito is obscure at least for the moment, but his name still lingers in talks of this weight class. In actuality, legitimate welterweight topnotch competition are found in those five guys mentioned above and beyond them the class is just average. Manny Pacquiao is not a welterweight and won't even fight at the 147 limit in his next bout. Mayweather has long been inactive from the sport and his return would be against a lightweight in Juan Manuel Marquez, but shamefully, though, Mayweather managed to get them to fight at the welterweight limit, so if it's really that bad then just let it. Paul Williams seems to be moving on to higher weights and it might not be good for him to drop to 147 again.
But the reason that he will do that? Simple. It's the money. It's also the reason why fighters from the periphery of this weight class wants to face fighters in this division, which makes their name eligible to be thrown in "welterweight is the best division" argument.
The crop of fighters at welterweight does not constitute a weak division at all, but to call it the best needs reconsideration. But as for the money division? Definitely.
To call it a golden age or a golden era of the division needs serious investigation. But the irritating wonder here is that, why is it being touted as such if many other divisions surpass it in terms talent and competition? Jr. Featherweight, Featherweight, Lightweight, and Jr. Welterweight are arguably better. Jr. Flyweight (and the few higher classes just above it), middleweight, and super middleweight are not bad ones. The higher classes are pretty bland, with boxing's supposed chief division laughed at as the epitome of it (at the very least, though, it's picking up some excitement for the near future, but that's just what it is for now).
Let's say, then, that welterweight is in a golden era right now. How about the other divisions I just mentioned? Are they entering a glittering phase, too? Isn't it necessary that before declaring a golden age of welterweights by comparing it to the past, we should look at the present and compare it against the other divisions? I don't know, but saying it's having such an epoch while it isn't even the sport's best division somehow doesn't appeal very much.
Now, among these other questions, why does the welterweight division continue to get much love? While the class entering, for the umpteen time, a golden era is still questionable, the "golden era" it is having in terms of money is most certainly not.