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Four Reasons Gennady Golovkin vs Saul Alvarez Will be Great.

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez embarrassed Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and is now moving onto challenging Gennady Golovkin. This is the fight to be made in boxing. It should be one of the best fights of the year. Canelo and Golovkin are highly skilled fighters in their primes. The winner will become the best middleweight in the world and a contender for the number one pound-for-pound spot.

1. The Ring Magazine middleweight title will on the line.

The WBC world middleweight title, WBA super world title, IBF world title, and the International Boxing Organization world title are on the line. Canelo can’t win the IBO or WBC titles but that is three of the four major titles. That makes this bout important but The Ring title adds that much more to this fight.

The Ring title goes straight back to Bernard Hopkins and each new champion has beaten the last one. Alvarez is the current champion and Golovkin will surely want to add it to his trophy case.

2. Both men believe in their offensive weapons.

They are both offensive minded fighters and their styles should mesh well. Golovkin never stops pushing forward, uses a great jab, a vicious body attack, and has massive power. Canelo is a boxer puncher and if he can time you he will throw effective counter punches.

Golovkin tends to square up and is open to counter shots. If Canelo times him he will be able to sling counters and hurting Golovkin may be hard but he can at least back him off. Both men like to throw in combination so there will be chances for each man to counter punch.

Golovkin also has a very unorthodox punching style. He hits guys a lot on the side of the head and between the ribs because they aren’t used to punches going around their guard like that. His footwork is also very good. He moves around the ring and cuts off the ring very well.

3. Golovkin Brings the Power

Both men can punch hard. Golovkin has knocked out all but three men he has faced. Canelo has 34 knockouts in 49 wins. His power hasn’t been as good at the higher level but he still has enough power to stop a top fighter. His power may not matter though because Golovkin has a chin of steel.

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It’s Lights Out for James Toney this Weekend.

James “Lights Out” Toney has been a professional boxer since 1988. That means he, my favorite fighter ever, has been a pro longer than I have ben alive. He has had a lot of ups. A comeback knockout win over 20 to 1 favorite Michael Nunn to win his first title the IBF middleweight title. His win over Mike McCallum, brutal stoppage of Iran Barkley, his IBF title run at super middleweight.

Then he added the IBF cruiserweight title to his trophy case nine years after holding his last title. His win over Vassily Jirov is one of the greatest cruiserweights fight ever. After that, he stopped the great Evander Holyfield. He is also one of the greatest defensive fighters to ever lace up the gloves. His Philly Shell is one of the slickest defenses to grace a ring.

Those are just some of his highs but there were also lows.

The End for Lights out?

His dreadful loss to Roy Jones Jr., a loss to the unheralded Drake Thadzi, and then losing the heavyweight title because he tested positive for steroids. His issues to keep his weight down plagued him throughout his entire career. It was a long and winding road but it all comes to an end this weekend.

Toney will face Mike Sheppard (24-20-2 10 KO) at the Eastern Michigan Convocation Center, Ypsilanti, Michigan on May 13. Toney and Sheppard will be fighting for the vacant World Boxing Foundation World heavyweight title. Sheppard has fought everyone under the sun and his best win is a knockout of China Smith.

Toney has been long due for retirement. His last meaningful win was over Fres Oquendo in 2008. His last two losses were to journeymen type fighters Charles Ellis and Jason Gavern. They were a combined 32-18-5 and Gavern had double-digit losses. Ellis has never fought again and Gavern has gone 2-6 since the win.

Sheppard has a golden opportunity to defeat a hall of fame fighter. Toney would like to go out on top but boxing rarely lets former greats go out on top. This may or may not be the final fight for Toney. If he wins he may convince himself that he can beat another guy. A loss may convince him to fight one more time to go out on top.

No matter how it plays out there is no doubting that James “Lights Out” Toney entertained for 91 soon to be 92 fights.

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ESPN.com’s division-by-division rankings – junior lightweight

Check out my rankings within each division by clicking on the links below. If there is a lineal champion in a weight class, he is ranked No. 1.

Who is the best fighter regardless of weight class? See ESPN’s pound-for-pound rankings.

For a list of the current champions in all weight classes, click here.

Note: Results through May 22. In an effort to provide the most up-to-date rankings, ESPN.com’s division-by-division boxing rankings will be updated every Tuesday.

JUNIOR LIGHTWEIGHT DIVISION (UP TO 130 POUNDS)

1. Vasyl Lomachenko (8-1)

Lomachenko, the brilliant two-time Olympic gold medalist from Ukraine, dismissed Gary Russell Jr. to win a vacant featherweight title in his third pro fight in 2014, tying the record for winning a world title in the fewest number of bouts. After three dominant defenses, Lomachenko moved up to junior lightweight and decimated Roman “Rocky” Martinez in a fifth-round knockout to win another title in June, as he set the record for fewest fights needed (7) to win titles in two weight classes. On Nov. 26, Lomachenko, perhaps the best fighter in the world pound-for-pound, made his first defense and dominated and befuddled former featherweight titlist Nicholas Walters. Lomachenko was so utterly dominant that Walters simply quit after the seventh round. Lomachenko returned to HBO on April 8 and laid waste to former titlist Jason Sosa in nine massively one-sided rounds.
Next: TBA

2. Jezreel Corrales (21-1)
In a huge upset, then-interim titlist Corrales, a southpaw from Panama, traveled to Tokyo and scored three knockdowns against long-reigning titleholder Takashi Uchiyama in the second round to win the full title in April 2016. In the December rematch, also in Tokyo, Corrales came away with a split decision victory. He now plans to fight in the United States after signing with Golden Boy Promotions and will defend against Robinson Castellanos (24-12) on HBO.
Next: July 15 vs. Castellanos

3. Miguel Berchelt (31-1)
Mexico’s Berchelt dominated Francisco Vargas to win a world title on Jan. 28 in an HBO main event. Berchelt went past the sixth round for the first time as he badly busted up warrior Francisco Vargas en route to an 11th-round knockout victory. Next up will be a mandatory defense on HBO against and former titlist Takashi Miura (31-3-2), of Japan, who earned the shot with a win on the Jan. 28 undercard.
Next: July 15 vs. Miura

4. Takashi Miura (31-3-2)
Miura, a Japanese southpaw, looked on his way to a successful fifth title defense when he faced Mexico’s Francisco Vargas on the Miguel Cotto-Canelo Alvarez HBO PPV undercard in November 2015. He survived a rough first round to drop Vargas in the fifth round and had him all but done by the end of the eighth — until Vargas caught him early in the ninth and stopped him for the comeback victory in a sensational fight that was the 2015 ESPN.com fight of the year. After an easy first-round knockout win over a novice opponent in Japan in May 2016, he returned Jan. 28 on HBO and knocked out Mexico’s Miguel Roman in the 11th round of an absolutely grueling action fight to become the mandatory challenger for main event winner Miguel Berchelt (31-1).
Next: July 15 vs. Berchelt

5. Gervonta Davis (18-0)
Davis, a dynamic fighter from Baltimore and a Floyd Mayweather protégé, was very impressive on Jan. 14 when he stepped up in competition and stopped Jose Pedraza in the seventh round of an excellent fight to win a world title. He was equally as impressive in his first defense on May 20, when he was in England, with Mayweather at ringside, and destroyed mandatory challenger Liam Walsh in a third-round knockout victory. This kid could be around doing damage for the foreseeable future.
Next: TBA

6. Orlando Salido (43-13-4)
Mexico’s Salido, a former featherweight and junior lightweight titleholder, has been in numerous fight of the year candidates and become a fan favorite for good reason. In his latest incredible action fight, Salido battled to a draw challenging titleholder Francisco Vargas in June in the 2016 ESPN.com fight of the year. He will be back in action in his home region when he takes on Thailand’s Amphon Suriyo (18-2) at 132 pounds, hoping it will lead to a rematch with titleholder Vasyl Lomachenko later this year.
Next: May 27 vs. Suriyo

7. Takashi Uchiyama (24-2-1)
Things did not go well as Japan’s Uchiyama on April 27, when he was trying to retain his belt for the 12th time. Jezreel Corrales, the interim titlist from Panama, traveled to Tokyo and blew him away with three knockdowns in a shocking second-round knockout. In the New Year’s Eve rematch, also in Tokyo, Uchiyama performed better but lost by split decision.
Next: TBA

8. Francisco Vargas (23-1-2)
Vargas — the Mexican Arturo Gatti — won the 2015 fight of the year in an epic comeback knockout of Japan’s Takashi Miura to win a world title and drew with former titlist Orlando Salido in the 2016 fight of the year in his first defense. But both fights were absolutely brutal and Vargas took tremendous punishment. He suffered bad cuts in both fights which came back to haunt him in his second defense on Jan. 28, when he faced countryman Miguel Berchelt in an HBO main event. It was, of course, another action-packed fight, but Berchelt took over in the later rounds after opening terrible cuts around both of Vargas’ eyes. His skin just cannot hold up under the assault and Berchelt won by 11th-round knockout. Vargas is likely going to be out of action for quite awhile.
Next: TBA

9. Roman “Rocky” Martinez (29-3-3) 
Puerto Rico’s Martinez, who twice had won 130-pound titles, got another shot at a belt and made the most of it when he challenged Mexico’s Orlando Salido in April 2015 in Puerto Rico. They turned in an explosive and exciting fight, but Martinez took care of business, dropping Salido twice and winning a competitive decision. They met in a rematch in September and put on another very good fight as Martinez retained the belt in a draw that most had Salido winning. A deal for a third fight went down the tubes so Martinez instead faced featherweight titlist Vasyl Lomachenko, who moved up in weight and knocked Martinez out in spectacular fashion in the fifth round on June 11.Next: TBA

10. Jason Sosa (20-2-4)
Although Sosa was awarded a draw against former featherweight titlist Nicholas Walters in December 2015, virtually everybody had Sosa losing a one-sided fight. However, he got the draw, and that set him up for a shot at secondary titleholder Javier Fortuna on June 24 in Beijing. Sosa, trailing on all three scorecards, rallied for a big upset as he drilled Fortuna in the 11th round. Sosa made his first defense on Nov. 12, traveling to Monte Carlo and outpointing England’s Stephen Smith in a fantastic slugfest. Sosa then gave up his belt to facilitate a fight nobody else seemed to want against outstanding titleholder Vasyl Lomachenko on April 8. However, Sosa, as most predicted, was completely outclassed in a ninth-round knockout loss.
Next: TBA

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Joseph Parker to make heavyweight defense vs. Hughie Fury in England

Heavyweight world titleholder Joseph Parker will make his mandatory defense against Hughie Fury on Sept. 23 at Manchester Arena in Manchester, England — Fury’s hometown — Parker co-promoter David Higgins announced on Sunday night.

“I’m very much looking forward to this fight,” Parker said. “It’s been a long time coming but the contract is signed thanks to my promoter David Higgins and I am ready to get going. In the contract is what we want and David has worked very hard to get the contract sorted; and now that it’s ready and the date is confirmed, we’re looking forward to going over to the U.K. and making a statement and putting on a great show.”

Fury (20-0, 10 KOs), 22, of England, who is the first cousin of former heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury, was supposed to travel to Parker’s home country of New Zealand to fight him on May 6 after Parker’s team won the purse bid. However, Fury pulled out of the fight on just two weeks’ notice, citing a lower back injury that kept him from training. Instead, Parker (23-0, 18 KOs), 25, took on late substitute Razvan Cojanu and won a lopsided decision via scores of 119-108, 117-110 and 117-110.

Frank Warren, Fury’s promoter, announced on Thursday that he had added Fury to his card on July 8 at the Copper Box Arena in London, where he will face an opponent to be determined in a tune-up bout for the world title shot on Sept. 23. Parker and his trainer, Kevin Barry, plan to be ringside.

Parker, who has fought primarily in New Zealand, but also has fought in the United States, Germany and Samoa, will be fighting in the United Kingdom for the first time. Parker said he has no problem going to Fury’s hometown to defend his crown.

“The idea of going to the U.K. is something I am looking forward to and, no, I don’t hold any grudges,” Parker said, referring to Fury’s withdrawal from the fight in May that was supposed to be in New Zealand. “I just go in there, respect my opponent and do what I have to do. That’s go in there and win the fight and defend my title and keep it here [in New Zealand]. The crowd against me? I will use it as energy and motivation to put on a great show and fight hard.

“I know there will be a lot of supporters for [Fury] but I know I [will] put on a great show, and hopefully get him out of there.”

Fury has not faced close to the caliber of competition that he will against Parker. He has also been out of the ring since winning a seventh-round technical decision against journeyman Fred Kassi in April 2016, but said he was very confident of lifting the title from Parker.

“I’ve never had a close fight. I’ve won every round of every single fight,” Fury said. “I’m going to let my fists do the talking and I’m going to take his belt home with me.”

Parker won a majority decision over Andy Ruiz Jr. in December in New Zealand to claim one of the world titles vacated by troubled Tyson Fury. Now Hughie Fury will have a chance to bring it back to the family.

“[Fury] needs to get this warm-up fight out of the way before he faces Parker later in the year,” Warren said. “I am confident that the WBO heavyweight belt will once again be in possession of the Fury family come the end of the year.”

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