Boxing's Uncivil Wars
By Anson Wainwright, MaxBoxing (Nov 24, 2011) Doghouse Boxing
Seth Mitchell
After the recent Nathan Cleverly-Tony Bellew fight, it prompted me to think of other “Uncivil Wars” I’d like to see. So I’ve come up with ten fights between countrymen that I’d be more than happy to witness. Key variables have been considered and factored in like the backstory between the fighters, style clashes, etc.
Hasim Rahman-V-Seth Mitchell
Not the most obvious of choices, however, it could be a pretty entertaining match-up of two Maryland heavyweights. It's a crossroads fight for both guys. Rahman has been to the top of the mountain and Mitchell is trying to prove he can get there. Mitchell was to have made his HBO debut at the end of August until the injury to Robert Guerrero meant the whole card was cancelled. In the fallout, Mitchell met Hector Ferreyro on the eve of Floyd Mayweather vs. Victor Ortiz in Las Vegas. He’s now scheduled to make that HBO debut when he meets Timor Ibragimov on the undercard of Amir Khan vs. Lamont Peterson on 10 December.
One thing lacking from Mitchell's improving résumé is a big name or even a former champion. Fellow Maryland native Rahman provides both of those. At 39, Rahman is a million miles from the guy who outed Lennox Lewis a decade ago but he still has power and name value. It would be by far the biggest and best opponent Mitchell has fought to date. If HBO were willing to buy Mollo or Ibragimov, then you’d have to imagine a Rahman fight should be relatively easy to broker. 
From Rahman's standpoint, this may be a “last chance saloon”-type of fight, sparking that inner fire and helping him chisel away some of the pounds he's piled on over the last few years. Last time out in June, “The Rock” scaled a career-high 284, which is a whopping 48 pounds heavier than he was the night he creamed Lewis. While he hasn't lost in nearly three years (to Wladimir Klitschko), since that loss, he's won five fights, though he's been a relatively inactive this year and didn’t fight at all in 2009. 
Tyson Fury-V-David Price
These two have a real beef with each other that steams from their amateur days. The more mature Price, 28, beat Fury and went on to represent Britain at the 2008 Olympics. That allowed Fury to turn pro sooner and he’s moved relatively quickly, winning the British and Commonwealth titles at just 23 years old when he beat reigning champion Dereck Chisora in a career-best performance. 
Fury is an imposing 6’9” and enjoys size advantages over pretty much everyone. His weight has been a little erratic, coming in anywhere from 248 to 270. His best weight seems to be in the 250s (where he weighed for the Chisora fight). Fury won’t have those physical advantages over Price, however, as the Liverpudlian is 6’8” and well-toned in the mid 240s. 
In July, Fury impressively beat Chisora and didn’t wait around, beating Nicolai Firtha in five, though it must be noted he was rocked and hurt in the third round (Fury’s toughness is probably his best asset). He’s wasted little time and stayed extremely active, stopping previously unbeaten Neven Pajkic in three rounds on 12 November in Fury’s hometown of Manchester. However, Fury was dropped in the second, again placing a question mark on his chin. Price has won his three fights in 2011 so far, taking his record to 11-0 (9) and though he was scheduled to fight in November in a British title eliminator against old Fury opponent John McDermott, that has since been moved to 21 January due to injury. It’ll be interesting to see if Price can better Fury’s close 12-round decision and then ninth-round stoppage wins over McDermott. 
If Price beats McDermott and Fury doesn’t opt to vacate his British title, this fight should come off in the first half of next year. If it does, expect fireworks both outside the ring in the buildup and in the ring on fight night.
Felix Sturm-V-Arthur Abraham
There has been real animosity between these two for several years now. Both reigned at the same time at middleweight but were with rival companies, Abraham with Sauerland and Sturm with Universum (who Sturm has since left, forming his own company). When Abraham moved up to super middleweight to take part in the “Super Six,” it appeared this fight would be forever lost. However, things didn’t go so well for Abraham at 168 and he’s now looking to slim back down to 160.
It seems the sort of fight that could certainly fill a soccer arena in Germany akin to how the Klitschkos do when they fight. This could be one of the biggest fights possible in Europe if Abraham can get back to 160 and get a win or two under his belt.
It’s also an interesting style match-up. Sturm, the clever boxer, has shown himself to be susceptible to punchers. Against Abraham, Sturm would face a heavy-handed pressure fighter who has struggled with boxers he can’t bully and push backward. With Sturm now promoting himself, this fight is far easier to make than it would have been a couple of years back.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr.-V-Saul Alvarez 
At the moment, Chavez is at middleweight while Alvarez is at light middleweight. Only six pounds separate them but Chavez is well-known to struggle mightily to make 160. The fight has been mooted for awhile now but with both guys winning world titles this year, it’s become even bigger. 
Currently, Chavez is with Top Rank and Alvarez fights under the Golden Boy banner, which may make this fight a little tougher to make happen. Each company would look to make the best possible deal for its man and for that reason, the weight may be an immovable problem. You could expect Top Rank would want the fight to be as near to 160 as possible to benefit Chavez while Golden Boy would want the fight much closer to 154. It may only sound like a few pounds but it could certainly be a problem.
Both are hugely popular in Mexico and would likely sell massively to the Mexican market. It’s the sort of fight you could imagine taking place at the Aztec Stadium (Estadio Azteca) in Mexico City in front of tens of thousands of fans, being a huge event.
Victor Ortiz-V-Brandon Rios
My guilty pleasure, I know Rios has a title at 135 and Ortiz is all the way up at 147. It’s unlikely at this juncture but Rios won’t be at 135 for long, which will bridge the weight gap. This is probably the most storied rivalry of any other on this list. Feelings run deep on both sides, not just with the fighters but their trainers, the Garcia brothers (Robert and Danny), who no longer speak to each other. Remember, Floyd Mayweather invited both Rios and Robert Garcia to walk him to the ring ahead of his recent win over Ortiz, though in the end, they didn't accept Floyd's offer.
Originally, both came from Garden City, KS but now live in California. It’s the “former friends turned enemies” kind of story. You get the sense America isn’t big enough for the two of them. It would be a fun promotion with all the back history not to mention both share an exciting, fan-friendly fighting style. 
Rios craves the fight and says, “I’m still ready to do it if he is. It’s just a long story between me and him. It’s a bloodbath. Bad blood between each other and, you know, hopefully, they make the fight happen. If they don’t, we’ll see what happens in the future. If he keeps winning like he has been and if I keep doing what I’m doing, you never know. It could be [Fernando] Vargas-[Oscar] De La Hoya II! Ha-ha!” 
Marcos Maidana-V-Lucas Matthysse
This fight has fireworks written all over it. Both men share several similarities, starting with similar records, Maidana, 31-2 (28) and Matthysse, 28-2 (26). Matthysse is just ten months older; both debuted in 2004 and they’re even both the same height with Maidana holding a one-inch reach advantage. They were born at opposite ends of Argentina and both now live in suburbs of Buenos Aires. The real kicker is the KO ratios; again, Maidana holds a slim advantage 85% to Matthysse 84%.  
Both men are promoted by Golden Boy yet have different schedules. Maidana was set to have met Robert Guerrero at the end of August, only for that to be derailed when “The Ghost” injured his shoulder. Not wanting to waste his preparation time, Maidana fought on 23 September in his homeland, dispatching Petr Petrov in four. Matthysse was due to have met modern-day great Erik Morales in Las Vegas as part of the Mayweather-Ortiz card before being curtailed through injury.
Both men share a storied past, having met in the amateurs. Maidana said of his rival, “Matthysse is a great fighter. We fought four times in the amateurs, when we used to compete for a spot at the national team. I beat him three times and we had a draw. Three of those fights were tough and close but I came stronger in the end. We could very well fight each other as pros yet I guess he needs to beat a few names out there first.” This would be destined to be an all-out war, which would almost certainly end up in someone getting KO’d. It’s a can’t-miss, all-action fight.
Orlando Salido-V-Jhonny Gonzalez
This fight pits two reigning world champions who are probably at the height of their powers. 
Salido has been a pro since he was 15 years old. For the first five years of his career he had to learn on the job going 11-7-1 (7). Seemingly, a career as a journeyman beckoned. It was from this point that Salido turned his career around, winning more than he lost and turning himself into a contender. When Salido stunned Robert Guerrero in late 2006, it looked like he'd successfully navigated his way to an unlikely world title. Days later, it was revealed he had tested positive for a banned substance. Just when it looked as though we'd seen the last of Salido, he notched four wins before losing a world title fight against Cristobal Cruz but if we've learned anything about “Siri,” it's that he's resilient. When given a second shot at Cruz, he won a comfortable decision. Though Salido lost the title in his first defence against uber-talented Yuriorkis Gamboa, he proved he belonged with the elite at 126. If there were any doubters, they were silenced when he travelled to Puerto Rico and stunned heavy favourite and reigning WBO champion Juan Manuel Lopez to win his second world title. 
Gonzalez has always been heavy-handed, currently on a 10-fight win streak. All of them ended within the distance and only one of them went as far as the sixth round. Gonzalez, of Mexico City, has a record of 50-7 (44), translating to a 77% KO ratio. While Salido is more of a grinder who possesses a sturdy set of whiskers despite his record showing five stoppage losses, none have come since 2000. You can be sure that Gonzalez will come charging out and look to take his countryman’s head off. However, Salido is adept at going into the trenches.
If Gonzalez couldn’t get the job done early, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see Salido come roaring back and force a come-from-behind KO. 
Miguel Angel Garcia –V- Gary Russell Jnr. 
Here we have two up-and-coming, young lions who both campaign at featherweight and are likely to gain title shots in 2012. Here both also have rival promoters (Garcia is with Top Rank and Russell is with Golden Boy).
This is the sort of match-up that is unlikely to happen anytime soon with both looking to win a world title in the very near future. Neither would risk that against each other; further down the road, this is the sort of fight that could easily be an HBO main event status.
Over the past 12 months, Garcia has really made an impression. In his most recent fight, he demolished the usually durable Juan Carlos Martinez in four one-sided rounds. “Mikey” is very precise and picks his shots, turning them over with dramatic results.
There may be no faster boxer in the game at the moment than Washington DC’s Russell, who moved to 18-0 (10) in just under three years as a pro. At times, he’s looked sensational, garnering high praise from HBO’s commentators. Next for Russell is Heriberto Ruiz on the Adrien Broner-Vicente Rodriguez card on 26 November with clips of the fight shown on HBO.
You could well imagine this evoking memories of Julio Cesar Chavez vs. Meldrick Taylor with Russell using his speed and skills early and Garcia charging back late.
Jorge Arce-V-Rafael Marquez
Again, a match-up of two hardnosed Mexican warriors. Back in May, Arce showed spirit and no lack of gumption with a balls-to-the-wall performance, going up to 122 and stopping Wilfredo Vazquez Jnr. after a late rally. He's since beaten South African Simphiwe Nongqayi in a rematch after losing to him a few years back. 
While Marquez lost recently to Toshiaki Nishioka, who’s pretty much universally recognised as numero uno at super bantamweight. Marquez put up a solid effort before going down on points. 
However, these two grizzled vets would put on a blood-and-guts performance and with neither man willing to take a step back, fireworks could be expected. Both men are with Top Rank/Zanfer so it wouldn’t be too hard to make.
 Giovani Segura-V-Hernan Marquez
Ever since Segura introduced himself to the boxing world years ago, he’s provided a ton of action for your boxing buck and is thought of as one of the most exciting fighters in the world today. Nobody has gone the distance with him in over three years and he has a KO ratio of 80%. When Segura last went the distance, it was against Cesar Canchila in what is still to date, the only loss on his record. In the rematch, he promptly bludgeoned the Colombian in four rounds and hasn’t looked back since. Segura’s real coming-out party was when he beat Ivan Calderon in Calderon’s homeland, Puerto Rico. Refusing to lose, Segura kept ploughing forward until Calderon wilted. 
Earlier this year, Marquez went to Panama and was expected to lose to reigning champion Luis Concepcion. He clearly didn’t read the script and was one-half of the leading candidate for “Fight of the Year” so far, stopping Concepcion in 11 in a fight that saw multiple knockdowns. A few weeks back after one successful defence of his flyweight title, Marquez rematched Concepcion and blew him away in just 1:49 of the opening round. At just 23, he has age on his side, as well as a 73% knockout ratio.
Again, this seems like a can't-miss, all-action fight with both guys being promoted by Zanfer in Mexico. While Marquez has nothing in the works having just fought, Segura heads to the Philippines to meet longtime sparring partner and friend Brian Viloria for Viloria's WBO flyweight title. If Segura can come through, than Segura-Marquez would be ripe and an excellent co-feature, worthy of the exposure it would enjoy on Showtime or a HBO “Boxing After Dark” card.
Questions? Comments? Contact Anson at

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