Like Him or Lump Him, Get Used to Him
By Joey Knish
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Monday July 21, 2003 ? ????Looking at the current state of the Welterweight division, one thing becomes very clear; you better get used to WBA-WBC Ricardo Mayorga being there. And that isn't a ringing endorsement of the Nicaraguan, but more a statement as to who is out there. I can't help but feel that way after running into Humberto Aranda, who served my lady and I at a cafe last week. Although Aranda may not be a household name, he did hand Mayorga a 6th round TKO loss in Ricardo's first fight.

Let's play a little 'Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon':

Enter Mayorga. Mayorga got his first title at welter by beating Andrew “Six Heads” Lewis who is now more commonly referred to as Andrew “Six Heads – No Chin” Lewis. Enter Andrew Lewis. Lewis had acquired the title by defeating an aging James Page. Page himself had been having troubles making the 147-pound limit and was inactive for roughly 21 months before being disposed of by Lewis. Exit James Page. The last time we saw Page his picture was on the side of a milk carton. Enter Andrew Lewis. Before beating Page, Lewis had defeated a mix of no-names and never-were names aside from a half-decent Teddy Reid. So Lewis fell into his opportunity and made the most of it, but that is the last time he will have a belt other than the one used to hold up his Levis. Exit Lewis.

Ricardo Mayorga exposed Lewis for what he was – a hard puncher with no chin. And now we know what Mayorga is – a hard puncher with a solid chin. After taking a tune-up fight, Lewis stepped back up in competition and was drilled in two rounds by WBO champ Antonio Margarito. Enter Antonio Margarito. Margarito has fought and beaten decent competition such as finished Antonio Dia and Danny Perez. Nothing spectacular, but he has done what he was supposed to do.

On the IBF side of the division, Cory Spinks wears the jewelry at 147 after beating some relatively non-descript opposition. He did, however, go over to Italy and beat Michelle Piccirillo to take the title on his opposition's turf. The problem with Spinks is that he and Mayorga are both properties of Don King, and King can likely make more by promoting two champions than he can with one champ holding three belts (WBA-WBC-IBF). That is not to suggest that Mr. King operates under the motive of making money as opposed to the well being of the sport. The other problem lies with other fighters' willingness (read “unwillingness”) to deal with King. From here it looks like Mayorga would walk through Spinks due to Spinks' lack of punch and Ricardo's edge in size.

In his last fight, Mayorga climbed into the ring at 160-pounds after making the weigh-in at 147, chicken wing in hand. So, it is conceivable that fighting at 154 is an option for Mayorga and his team. Or is it? Looking at Junior Welterweight/Super Welterweight, or 154 as I know it, we have De La Hoya and Winky Wright as the top fighters with belts. Daniel Santos represents the WBO. A fight between Mayorga and Fernando Vargas would be a great fight to see at 154 and could take either back to a title opportunity. It says here that Vargas' chin would be his undoing against “El Matador”. Other than that, De La Hoya and Wright both would be the choice to end Mayorga's current 19-0-1 roll based on their superior skills and size.

So, it seems that the path of least resistance for Mayorga is to stay at welterweight and do his thing for as long as he can. Even if Kostya Tszyu moves up from 140, it is questionable whether he could do much with Mayorga based on the natural size advantage the Mayorga would enjoy.

As much as he is a breath of fresh air with his unique style outside of the ring, many observers are looking forward to when his style inside the ring catches up to him. Mayorga only knows how to come forward and throws awkward, wide, bent arm punches that won't be found taught in any gym, anywhere. Unfortunately – or fortunately, depending on your opinion – common sense suggests that it looks like he will still be smoking the division for a while.