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If I Were a Boxing Matchmaker: Xu Can

I play manager and promoter
Source: Boxingnews24

Howdy folks. Today I’d like to discuss some potential match ups for a young rising name down at the featherweight limit.

Xu Can 18-2 (3 KOs)

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Prior to the Jesus Rojas fight, I had never even heard of this young man. With two losses early in his career, Xu Can has bounced back quickly. As a matter of fact, he has been in kind of tough early on in his career, matched with guys of combined records of 284-83-19. After the Rojas fight, I have been a fan. He is just a fun fighter to watch. The match against Rojas itself was a Fight of the Year candidate. At the end of the night they had combined to throw a staggering 2,574 punches and connected with 768 of them. If he continues to produce entertainment like that, he should be a matchmaker’s dream.

Soon after the victory over Jesus Rojas, he stopped Shun Kubo and then earned another thrilling win over previously undefeated prospect Manny Robles by outworking him as well, throwing an outstanding 1,562 punches all on his own that night. Although Xu is not a boxer who has brutal knockout power, he should not be taken lightly. He throws a lot of punches and they are technically sound, not sloppy ones. Xu throws beautiful combinations and mixes up his variety amazingly, as well as utilizing the jab effectively. He isn’t very nimble on his feet, but he still has a subtle shift, where he keeps moving around, but he just doesn’t go very far. Although he doesn’t move his head, he seems to have a great chin. His name is suiting for a catch phrase, “Can You” (Xu), (Xu) “You Can”, “I can”.

He has the attitude and characteristics of a man who believes he can and he could end up being one of those fighters that we talk about in the future who pulls off some thrilling upsets, or at least multiple Fight of the Year candidates. Hopefully he gets an opportunity to show his entertainment value in a division loaded with entertainers. Let’s check out what would be the best bang for the buck match ups for this young Chinese product.

#1 Matchup: Leo Santa Cruz 37-1-1 (19 KOs)

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Even though Santa Cruz moved up in weight to fight for a joke of a title against a man who had no business fighting him, and especially not for any kind of belt. Santa Cruz can still easily make the 126-pound limit and should quit fiddle farting around and just move back down to featherweight. That’s where the best match ups for him take place and this would be no different. Santa Cruz was always considered to be one of the best at 126. He held the WBA title before he released it and Xu took it over from the win over Rojas. Santa Cruz and Can are very similar in many ways. They are both tall for their weight class, both have slim body frames, both are close stylistically. Neither one moves a lot, both throw a ton of punches, but neither hits excessively hard.

How much more is there to mention before the light bulb goes off that this is pure entertainment. I would much rather pay to watch this matchup than Deontay Wilder against Luis Ortiz or many of the other bouts we have been asked to. California, or Las Vegas would be a great landing spot for it.

#2 Matchup: Josh Warrington 30-0 (7 KOs)

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REPEAT ALERT! To repeat almost the exact same thing I said about the Santa Cruz match applies to this bout against Warrington. Both are big for the weight, they have similar styles, etc., etc. Which is why all of them would make a great round-robin affair with each other. Warrington is considered to be the #2 featherweight right now and currently holds the IBF trinket. So, the IBF and WBA titles would be on the line for this bout and some bragging rights. This would explode with pure entertainment value. This would go great in the U.K., China, or even N.Y. and possibly Las Vegas.

#3 Matchup: Gary Russell Jr. 30-1 (18 KOs)

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If you want to prove your worth in the featherweight division, you must go through Gary Russel Jr. Russell is the WBC titleholder and legitimately one of the best, if not the best featherweight in the world. Xu has a chance to win, if he tries to outwork Russell, but it would be a complicated task. Russell is a gifted boxer who will not just stand and trade blow for blow with Can Xu. Russell will look to pick him apart from distance and keep moving around in circles. Can will need to try to cut off the ring and keep his hands moving constantly.

If he wants an opportunity of a lifetime to live up to his catchphrase and name, he will need to dig deep and truly believe that “he can” really come out victorious. It would be very interesting to see if he can pull off the big upset. New York would be a great spot for this to land.

#4 Matchup: Daniel Roman 27-2-1 (10 KOs)

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Can I repeat myself again, please? Can Xu has a very exciting style that will mesh well with many men like Daniel Roman. Belts, or no belts, we should strongly encourage match ups like these anytime they are available. I would much rather pay to watch this bout than a boring heavyweight match any day. I am getting jitter bugs just thinking of how this kind of match, along with the other top two would play out. To add any extra reasoning to help push this through, Daniel Roman is currently the IBF and WBA titleholder at 122 and Can holds the WBA title at 126, so there are some implications for the casual fan who care about those things.

Roman is legitimately a top 5, 122-pounder in the world and Xu is a top-5 featherweight. Both men, again like the others, are similar in styles. They throw a lot of punches and this would nearly be guaranteed to be a Fight of the Year candidate. Will power is what probably wins this kind of match. It could be perfect as a co-main for a big name main event, or a main event at a smaller venue. California, China, or Las Vegas would be sufficient landing spots.

#5 Matchup: Emanuel Navarrete 30-1 (26 KOs)

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I love sounding like a broken record. I hope it’s annoying. Just kidding, but seriously, this would be another action-packed match. Styles collide again and there probably wouldn’t be a lot of lag in the action. Navarrete does tend to start off slow, so it would be interesting to see if he can make up some rounds, or stop Can late. Unlike the other three opponents picked near the top, Navarrete can hit a little harder, so Can will have his chin thoroughly tested. Navarrete is currently the WBO belt-holder at 122 and is a legitimate top-5 super bantamweight. Again, the cards are there to be played, we just need to flip them over to find out who has the straight flush and who has the full house. California, or Las Vegas would be perfect for this one.

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