The Big Question: Can Flanagan be world's best at 135lbs?

Boxing Monthly
12/10/2015 10:49am

'Is Terry Flanagan now undisputedly the premier lightweight in Britain following his two-round destruction of the dangerous Diego Magdaleno? [Sky Sports controversially rated him as low as No.5 in August]. Can the Mancunian become the best in the world in the division? Boxing Monthly's online team give their verdict in this week's 'Big Question'.

The rankings which had Flanagan as the fifth best lightweight in Britain were biased and agenda driven. That being said, there were plenty who didn't believe he was the best from these shores at 135lbs. His world title success over Jose Zepeda was - wrongly - discredited by some; just because you don't agree with the rules doesn't mean the ruling is incorrect. 

All doubts should now be laid to rest with a ruthless and dominating win over Diego Magdaleno. In a weak division, the American was a legitimate contender and that result is better than any victory Ricky Burns, Anthony Crolla, Derry Mathews or Kevin Mitchell have picked up lately. 

At present, the number one fighter at the weight in the world is Jorge Linares. After a few years where the weight class has been - comparatively - weak, lightweight could be on the verge of a boom period with Rances Barthélemy moving up to 135lbs and talented prospects like Felix Verdejo, Luke Campbell and Robert Easter fast becoming contenders. Even with all this talent coming through I expect Flanagan to involved in the battle for supremacy at the weight, for the foreseeable future. - John A. MacDonald.

He was already the best - BM recognised that - but this put the argument to bed.  Lightweight has been red-hot recently for British lightweights, but Flanagan is top dog........ even a dream-victory for Anthony Crolla would be unlikely to see him jump over Flanagan.

There's really not much stopping three or four of the British boys being in the world top ten though Linares is a deserved No.1 right now. Flanagan can overtake him, but needs top opponents and more showings like he just put on against Magdaleno. - Colin Harris.

Not only is Terry Flanagan the best lightweight in Britain, I feel only Jorge Linares is ahead of him on the world scene. For me, the British debate was settled when he comfortably out-thought Stephen Ormond. Nobody has come close to working out a way to beat Flanagan yet. Cast your eye down any decent world ranking list. Would you honestly back a Miguel Vazquez, Sharif Bogere or Mickey Bey to beat the Mancunian? Rances Barthelemy may well be the man who pushes on from the current crop of top 135lbers but until we see how he copes with Dennis Shafikov in their December fight, he is still much of an unknown quantity at the weight.

Flanagan is a skilful, quick, clever southpaw with enough power to trouble top level guys and a hard streak that leads you to believe that, if he is ever drawn into a brawl, he’ll have the wherewithal to come through it. - John Evans.

At present I have Flanagan at No.1 in Europe and No.2 in the world after Linares. A clash with Luke Campbell down the line could be interesting .... - Paul Zanon.

Flanagan is comfortably number one and an argument for anyone else is bordering on nonsensical.

Luke Campbell? His best win is over Tommy Coyle. Anthony Crolla should be world champion, but he isn't and still hasn't beat Derry Mathews. There's virtually no cherry left for Kevin Mitchell he's had that many bites at it. Ricky Burns may be on the comeback trail, but he still has a lot to prove. Derry Mathews is arguably defying logic and could well face Flanagan next year but he still isn't number one.

'Turbo' has beaten Stephen Ormond, Jose Zepeda and annihilated Diego Magdaleno - does he really have to prove anything else for people to believe he's Britain's No.1? No, absolutely not.

As for becoming the best in the world, well it is on the cards. Jorge Linares is top dog at 135lbs but the gap between himself and Flanagan isn't gargantuan. Frank Warren should be doing all he can to make that unification in Manchester for next year.

The lightweight division possesses a lot of threats in Shafikov, Barthelemy, Zlaticanin, Commey as well as the Brits and the likes of Darleys Perez. It's a fine division with a lot of great fights to be made. A lot can be made for Flanagan on home turf, too.

Flanagan is the No.1 Brit, he's only 26 and is going to get even better. - Shaun Brown.

Who is the best in Britain? It may still be debatable, but if you look at the guys who are involved in world title fights, Flanagan is the one who is winning them. Luke Campbell is trading on potential, and has not been in with a Top 10 fighter. Sadly, boxing politics will likely prevent Flanagan being involved in many meaningful domestic fights.

When Terence Crawford moved up to 140lbs, the lightweight division became a solid division without a dominant star. Jorge Linares, the choice of many as the top lightweight boxer, was pushed close by Kevin Mitchell, so there is no reason Flanagan couldn’t beat him.

Being the perennial underdog works for many athletes. The doubters help maintain the hunger and motivation. The doubters could propel Flanagan to the top of the lightweight tree. - Martin Chesnutt, TKO Radio.

On Saturday night, Terry Flanagan was simply sensational and certainly staked his claim as British boxing's premier lightweight. I would say he is behind Jorge Linares on the world scene, but with his style and inherent toughness he is going to be so hard to beat, Magdaleno simply couldn't get close and resorted to wild swings that ultimately led to his downfall. - Danny Winterbottom.

If there were any doubts as to Flanagan's domestic superiority, they were swiftly extinguished on Saturday night. Sky Sports’ ranking of Flanagan at No.5 was a reminder to fans everywhere that their coverage is anything but impartial. Lightweight at world level is wide open; Jorge Linares is a good champion but a fragile one and Denis Shafikov is talented but doesn't have a stand out win. If Frank Warren can get Flanagan the fights to show he's the best lightweight in the world, I think he'll prove himself to be just that. - Callum Rudge.