After watching Anthony Ogogo dismantle a tough opponent as a novice pro last night on Sky, i started thinking about all the good middleweights and super middleweights we have in the UK at the moment.
The world scene too is looking pretty strong but the UK especially has some very good young fighters coming through.
I have listed them here. These are not necessarily my rankings, more who i think will be relevant at 160lbs and 168lbs in the future.
1/ Sergio Martinez: 51-2-2 (28) (Argentina) - Lineal champ getting on in age and near the end of his career. Injuries have taken a toll but hopefully he might have one or two big performances left when he returns next year.
2/ Gennady Golovkin: 27-0 (24) (Kazakhstan) - GGG is the biggest thing in boxing at the moment for the hardcore fans, or at least one of the biggest. Superb technique, massive power, great shot selection, etc. Yet to be really tested though.
3/ Daniel Geale: 29-1 (15) (Australia) - Tough, relentless Aussie who fights out of a high guard and has sound technique. A solid challenger to either of the above two names.
4/ Peter Quillin: 29-0 (21) (USA) - Athletic, powerful box/puncher who i think could provide GGG with his stiffest test at 160lbs, should that fight ever happen.
5/ Julio Cesar Chavez Jr: 46-1-1 (32) (Mexico) - The son of a legend who is probably overachieving so far in his career, considering how most of us thought he would fall at his first major hurdle. Looks like he will have trouble making 160 again though and his biggest future fights are likely at 168 or higher.
1/ Martin Murray: 25-1-1 (11) - Tough, methodical boxer who keeps a high guard and boxes intelligently. Nothing at all flashy about him but he seems to get the job done and gave a below par Martinez one of his toughest fights last time out. Could be the next top ranked middleweight in line to face GGG.
2/ Darren Barker: 25-1 (16) - Sound technical boxer who has shown more aggression lately and has scored impressive stoppages in his last couple of fights since losing to Martinez. Faces Daniel Geale next in what should be a very evenly matched, interesting fight.
3/ Matthew Macklin: 29-5 (20) - Has proven himself to be very capable at the world class level, though was obliterated in his last fight, against Golovkin. Could be part of some interesting domestic fights with Barker and Murray (and maybe a few others) over the next year or two
4/ Billy Joe Saunders: 17-0 (10) - 2008 Olympian who has been brought along at a nice, steady pace as a pro. Tentatively scheduled to face the next guy on this list in September in what should be a very good all-Brit showdown between undefeated prospects.
5/ John Ryder: 15-0 (9) - Goes by the nickname "The Gorilla" and you only have to see his solid physique and aggressive fighting style to see why. I slightly favour him to beat Saunders in their fight, though it should be closely contested.
6/ Chris Eubank Jr: 10-0 (5) - The son of a British boxing great is still a relative novice but seems to have some natural ability and can hit pretty hard. More than just a novelty act, i will be interested to see how his career develops.
7/ Anthony Ogogo: 3-0 (2) - Another novice pro but a very good amateur who won the Olympic bronze medal in 2012. Has looked impressive, especially in beating Gary Boulden by 5th round TKO in his last outing. Boulden is a former Southern Area champion who took Billy Joe Saunders the full 10 rounds in Saunders' 10th fight a couple of years ago. Ogogo was only 3 fights into his career when he took Boulden apart with some quality, well placed shots.
Promoted by GBP and having been invited by Bernard Hopkins to come train with him in the US, the future looks bright for Ogogo.
Middleweight looks especially appealing among the young UK pros. I would love to see future fights involving Saunders, Agogo, Ryder and Eubank Jr, along with super middleweights George Groves and James DeGale.
The super middleweights are not quite as deep domestically but the world scene still looks strong.
Super Middleweight (World)
1/ Andre Ward: 26-0 (14) (USA)- The P4P no.2 (some say no.1) fighter in the world has been on the shelf with a shoulder injury for close to a year now. He is healed though and looking to fight again soon. The question is, who will the opponent be? A future Ward - Golovkin matchup could be built into a genuine superfight in a year or two.
2/ Carl Froch: 31-2 (22) (England) - One of the toughest fighters in the world today who is also a throwback in that he takes on all comers. Has faced a tougher schedule of consistently top rated fighters than any other current boxer. Far from being the most skilled fighter, he has an iron will to go with his concrete chin, above average punching power and, some might say, underrated boxing ability.
3/ Adonis Stevenson: 21-1 (18) (Canada/Haiti) - Why is he on this list i hear you scream? He is the light heavyweight champ!! True, but like i said, these are not really ratings, more relevancy rankings. Stevenson was in this division before he moved up to challenge (and KO) Chad Dawson. He is also a possible future opponent for Andre Ward at either 168 or 175lbs. One of the hardest pure punchers in the world P4P.
4/ Mikkel Kessler: 46-3 (35) (Denmark) - Lost his last fight in a rematch with Carl Froch (Kessler won the first fight) in another entertaining FOTY contender. Still has something left at the top level but not quite the force he once was.
5/ Robert Steiglitz: 45-3 (23) (Germany/Russia) - Good fighter who likes a scrap. Stopped Arthur Abraham in the 4th round earlier this year and could be a very well matched opponent for George Groves in the near future.
6/ Edwin Rodriguez: 24-0 (16) (USA/Dominican Republic) - Another big punching young gun who put on an impressive performance in destroying Denis Grachev last night in Monaco. An interesting addition to the rankings.
Super Middleweight (UK)
1/ Carl Froch: 31- 2 (22)
2/ George Groves: 19-0 (15) - Skilled boxer/puncher who has made an impressive start to his career and has a points win (albeit close and debatable) over big rival since the amateurs, James DeGale.
He is Froch's no.1 contender to his IBF title but i think it is a bit too soon to make that fight for the much younger and less experienced Groves.
3/ James DeGale: 16-1 (11) - "Humble, nice guy" (not really). More like obnoxious, vain, narcissist who seems to be his own biggest fan, which wouldn't be hard seen as not many people seem to like him. Olympic gold medalist from 2008 who is talented but at times fails to impress. I think Groves will make the better pro at the higher level but time will tell.
4/ Kenny Anderson: 18-1 (13) - Tough, hard-nosed Scot who almost handed Groves his first defeat as a pro a couple of years ago, before eventually capitulating to a 6th round TKO loss in a domestic firefight. Had Groves on wobbly legs and is a quality fighter in his own right, though seems to have slipped off the radar a bit since. Did stop veteran Robin Reid in his last fight though.
When you also take into consideration the possibility that guys like Andre Ward, Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler could move up to 175lbs to face the likes of Adonis Stevenson, Bernard Hopkins, Nathan Cleverly and Sergei Kovalev, the middleweight to light heavyweight divisions really are looking "super".