QUOTE(Byrd Man @ Feb 7 2008, 12:21 PM) [snapback]377708[/snapback]
Here's Dan Rafael's "Insider" Blog on ESPN.COM on Cruiserweights moving up to the Heavyweights
If you're paying attention to boxing besides what is going on with the never-ending Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Floyd Mayweather Sr.-Roger Mayweather-Oscar De La Hoya saga, you might have noticed that the cruiserweight division, the little division that could, is in a golden era.
It kicks butt right now.
The fighters in the 28-year-old, 200-pound weight class aren't household names, but you know what? Pound-for-pound, they make some of the most interesting and exciting fights in the sport and they deserve our attention.
Keep in mind that these guys are the same size as the old-time great heavyweights, such as Joe Louis, Ezzard Charles, Floyd Patterson and Jack Dempsey, all of whom routinely fought in the low 200s or below before the 250-pound heavyweight became the norm. Even Muhammad Ali fought many early bouts under 200 pounds and many more in the low 200s. If they were fighting today, they'd be cruiserweights.
This division is no longer a joke, the so-called halfway house for small heavyweights and fat light heavyweights.
Just look at today's exciting cruiserweight landscape.
Former undisputed champ O'Neil Bell and former unified titleholder Jean-Marc Mormeck put on two outstanding battles in the last two years. Their rematch last March was one of the fights of the year.
Now, Bell is set to meet Tomasz Adamek on April 19 in Adamek's native Poland in a fight that deserves American television coverage and figures to be a hard-hitting affair.
Those familiar with Adamek, a former light heavyweight beltholder, know that he is one of the most exciting fighters in the world. His two slugfests with Paul Briggs were unforgettable: two majority decision wins for Adamek in similar blood-soaked brawls.
On March 8, Showtime, looking for exciting matchups that won't break its bank, wisely picked up rights to televise British world champion David Haye's showdown with beltholder Enzo Maccarinelli of Wales. As they say in Britain, it should be a cracker. A sellout crowd of 20,000ish is expected at London's O2 Arena, so don't go telling me that nobody cares about cruiserweights.
So too, apparently, do a whole lot of Brits.
And if you want to stay on this side of the Atlantic, look no further than this week's "Friday Night Fights" main event on ESPN2. The cruiserweight headliner looks like a terrific fight on paper. It features top-10 contender Darnell "Ding-A-Ling Man" Wilson, author of last year's knockout of the year against Emmanuel Nwodo, facing undefeated B.J. Flores. The winner is going to be in a strong position for an eventual title fight.
The "Friday Night Fights" studio guest this week will be titleholder Steve "USS" Cunningham of Philadelphia. Unless you are a true fight freak, you've never seen him fight because he's never been on American television, a shame considering his ability.
But if you trade DVDs or scour the Internet for video, you know all about Cunningham. His 12th-round TKO in Germany against Marco Huck on Dec. 29 was as entertaining a fight as I have seen in a while. Thankfully, I was able to watch it live on the Web. Cunningham will have to defend his belt against the Bell-Adamek winner, so there's another can't-miss fight in a division filled with them.
Throw in quality contenders Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (a former titleholder), Vadim Tokarev, Matt Godfrey, Johnathon Banks (trained and managed by Emanuel Steward) and Yoan Pablo Hernandez, and the division even has some depth, though much of it resides overseas.
But I will take today's cruiserweights any day of the week over the lackluster heavyweights.
And you know what? Maybe the heavyweight division should now be viewed as the weight class for fat cruiserweights.
I CANNOT WAIT for Haye-Macca.....what a shoot out that'll be.