This past weekend’s fight between Daniel Geale and Darren Barker proved a couple of things: first, it showed that the middleweights have enough depth of competition to become boxing’s next glamor division, and second, that Geale will never be at the elite level. Early on, I picked Geale for the winner, because even though Barker’s punches were more accurate and therefore more effective, I thought it looked like Geale was just waiting for an opening that would prove fatal to Barker’s boxing approach. It turned out to be an incredibly competitive fight, for a moment even appearing to fulfill my initial expectation, as Geale dropped Barker with a paralyzing body shot midway through the fight. The round in which Geale knocked Barker down was actually the one that convinced me of his vulnerability. While Barker showed tremendous heart and an indomitable will, Geale punched himself out in a matter of seconds after being in complete control of the fight. A minor miscalculation? Perhaps, except when you consider that without that offensive opening that I thought Geale was poised for, he would have had no shot at the win. Barker faced Sergio Martinez near Maravilla’s peak, but was summarily defeated. If Geale wilts under even that upper-middle level of competition, he will never be able to face the true leaders of the division.
It’s impossible to resist speculating about September 14th, the biggest night in boxing in recent memory. Not only will we see the epic clash between Saul Alvarez and Floyd Mayweather Jr., that may or may not prove as competitive as other Mayweather’s other marquee challenges (De la Hoya, Mosley, Cotto), but we will have the privilege of seeing the next chapter in the welterweight division unfold more quickly than we could have hoped. Lucas Matthysse will finally get his shot at Danny Garcia. No one was more glad than I was about Garcia dethroning Khan and debunking his hype, but his performances, as well as his past competition, both show that Garcia is no champion. Lamont Peterson might have been a good challenge for Garcia, but as Matthysse demonstrated, even Peterson isn’t quite at that championship level. Based on his dominance over Peterson, I expect Matthysse to outwork, outbox and outpunch Garcia. Speed and accuracy will likely be comparable between the two fighters, but I think even Garcia knows this will be the end of his 15 minutes. For as long as it lasts, this will be one action-packed fight.
As far as Mayweather-Alvarez is concerned, nothing could be more exciting. Alvarez is at the beginning of his prime, still too green to beat the likes of a living legend like Mayweather, but with enough potential to make boxing fans throughout the world turn their heads. Mayweather will show his speed early in this fight, and everyone knows who will look most agile, but the question in my mind is how Canelo will respond. I think that’s the key to predicting this fight. If Alvarez steadies himself, and comes back strong and sharp, as he has against other opponents recently, he may just throw an aging Mayweather a couple of surprises. If, on the other hand, Mayweather’s overwhelming speed, accuracy, and defensive abilities cause Alvarez to wilt, as they did Marquez and Mosley, the fight won’t go past ten rounds.