As 2009 winds down, we can start to look ahead to the upcoming year. 2010 already has various bouts like Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather, Shane Mosley-Andre Berto, Edwin Valero-Antonio DeMarco, Israel Vazquez-Rafael Marquez IV and “Super Six” match-ups on the schedule. It figures to be an eventful year for a sport that has created strong momentum recently.
Here are ten bouts that I would like to see in the upcoming year. I excluded any fights that are already made or on their way to being consummated. The fights I chose aren’t necessarily the biggest bouts in boxing, but ones I believe have intrigue and also have the possibility of providing fireworks. Admittedly, some of these hypothetical clashes won’t capture the attention of the general, mainstream media or the casual fight fan.
But ya’ know what? Who gives a damn? Do we really care if the New York Times deems a fight worthy of their hallowed coverage? We’re all here because we love a good a fight. And isn’t that what it’s all about?
- David Haye vs. Tomasz Adamek: I’ll say it right now, this contest between the last two cruiserweight kings is the best pure slugfest that can be made in the heavyweight division. Haye, who just recently won a heavyweight title, has advantages in speed, quickness and pure punching power but Adamek is a relentless, grinding pressure fighter who is more durable than the “Haye-maker.” The Pole has been out-sped and out-boxed before but Haye has also been stopped (in 2004 by Carl Thompson) in the past. For as big as his offensive arsenal is, Haye may not have a heavyweight chin. This fight harkens back to an era when heavyweights weren’t all built like power forwards.
- Tim Bradley vs. Marcos Maidana: It’s ironic, that in one of my articles last week, that in doing a fantasy “Super Six” at junior welterweight, that I somehow forgot to include Maidana; the hard-punching Argentinean. Shame on me. As Larry Merchant once famously uttered, I should be pistol-whipped. “Desert Storm” is the sports premiere 140-pounder and a gifted boxer. How would he deal with the punching power of Maidana? And could Maidana handle the speed and boxing acumen of Bradley?
- Yohnny Perez vs. Abner Mares: Perez has become must-see-TV. Every time he fights, leather is thrown in abundance. After his thrilling late KO of Silence Mabuza in May, he returned in late October to out-work Joseph Agbeko for the IBF bantamweight title. Mares is a talented young prizefighter who successfully returned from a detached retina and is primed for a title shot in the immediate future. If Hozumi Hasagawa moves up and vacates the WBC title as expected, Mares is in line to fight for that belt. Perez and Mares would make for an exciting unification tilt in what is a deep division.
- Giovanni Segura vs. Brian Viloria: Who says little guys can’t punch? This pair of junior flyweight belt-holders disproves that theory. Segura is a heavy-handed rock thrower with not much in the way of technique while “The Hawaiian Punch” has really regained his footing the past year and finally found a ring identity. It says here that this could be the modern day version of Chiquita Gonzalez-Michael Carbajal.
- Chris Arreola vs. David Tua: This fight pits one overweight heavyweight of Dan Goossen’s past, against one of the present and future. The beauty of this pairing is that neither guy would need a GPS unit to locate one another. Both boxers need to be kept away from heavyweights with a long reach and height, but they thrive with opponents right in front of them; which they would find in each other.
- Lucian Bute vs. Sakio Bika: With most of the other marquee 168-pounders locked into the “Super Six,” Bute, one of the sports most consistent ticket sellers, needs dance partners. There is a lot of support for one Allen Green but I’ll take the ruggedness and toughness of Bika in this instance. Bute would most certainly be favored in this battle but he’d be forced to work for all 36 minutes.
- Humberto Soto vs. Robert Guerrero: This potential fight was strongly discussed last year. Well, now is the time to make it a reality. “The Ghost” went 12 hard rounds with Malcolm Klassen last summer to capture the IBF 130-pound title and Soto has been a mainstay at this division for years. How would “The Ghost” handle the punching power and strength of Soto? On the flipside, how does Soto deal with the speed and activity of Guerrero?
- Tavoris Cloud vs. Danny Green: OK, this is assuming that “The Green Machine” doesn’t face Bernard Hopkins this upcoming spring and that Cloud actually fights in 2010 (Seriously, Cloud has to be one of the most mismanaged fighters in recent memory.). But Cloud and Green are very much alike: they are two-fisted bangers who like to come forward with aggression and make a fight. How can you go wrong with that?
- Kermit Cintron vs. James Kirkland: I’m expecting Kirkland to be a free man early in 2010 and get a fight or two under his belt. Cintron, despite his victory over Alfredo Angulo last May, has had difficulties getting back on the big stage. Well, what better way to re-emerge than by facing this all-out brawler? Cintron has re-invented himself as a boxer/puncher but you get the feeling that he would have to stand and fight against the pressure of Kirkland. In the past, he has wilted under the heat and Kirkland is anything but a southpaw cutie. He can be touched up.
- Alfredo Angulo vs. Cory Spinks: What, Spinks is in a list provided by Steve S. (for slugfests) Kim of fights he’d like to see?!?! Yup. Hey, this isn’t 2003. Spinks, as he’s gotten older and perhaps as his discipline has waned, has become a guy whose fights have become more entertaining. No, he’s not Arturo Gatti (God, rest his soul) but he’s no longer the “Spinks Stinx”, either. Angulo is always involved in fun fights but has had problems with movement. Well, Spinks can still move, but not as easily or as long as before. If “Perro” can’t catch his own tail, can he eventually catch up to Spinks?
IDES OF MARCH
Here are two emails that echo how the large majority of boxing fans feel in regards to the upcoming mega-fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather:
I am a die-hard boxing fan from Miami, Florida. I just finished reading an article on fightnews.com that details Jerry Jones’ interest in hosting this mega-event.
Is there a petition or signature page that you are aware of that boxing fans can sign to indicate to the powers that be that this fight belongs in Dallas and not in Vegas? Aside from bombarding the Golden Boy and Top Rank folks with emails, do you know of any methods that us fan can utilize in the hope of influencing the decision of where this fight will be held, or do you feel that this fight being held in Vegas is a foregone conclusion, and we we’re reading in the media is all the pageantry meant to give the parties involved the illusion that the promoters of the fight actually fulfilled their fiduciary responsibility to their clients (to get the best deal possible for all involved, and not their own pockets).
If the fight is held in Dallas, I can definitely round up a couple buddies of mine and take the trek to Dallas whereby we will probably be able to afford the cheap seats ($100 maybe? considering the stadium can hold around 100,000).
As a diehard boxing fan who has loved the sport since my infancy, I want the biggest fight of my lifetime (I’m 28 years old) to be held in a facility that will allow the average fan like me to afford a ticket (not to mention Dallas’ more central location).
Amaury M. Fernandez
And then this one:
That U documentary was priceless. Can watch it 20 times. I was born in ’75 so I grew up on Irvin, Lamar Thomas, etc. As much as I like the direction Shannon is going, I miss the days of Highsmith talkin smack before the coin flip vs Oklahoma (I was actually at that game so never saw that footage). Crazy to think that his son is one injury away from being our starter.
By the way, if you have any interaction with Top Rank/Golden Boy, please reiterate your readers’ desire to have this fight anywhere but the MGM. I literally will go to any city in the continental U.S. to see this fight, provided I can get tickets. Dallas or Atlanta (where I live now) are fine, but like you said, the promoters and scalpers have a stranglehold on MGM tickets.
Keep up the good work. One of my favorite articles of yours was when you profiled those Marquez fans before the Mayweather fight. It was a different take on mainstream fight coverage and a very enjoyable read. I wouldn’t mind seeing something on up and coming Vanes Martirosyan. I’ve only seen him fight once or twice, but I figure if Roach and Top Rank are on board, the kid must be good. Seems like everything Roach touches turns to gold. I’d be surprised if Rigondeaux isn’t moved along quickly and gets a belt within the next year or two.
Gentlemen, I share your concerns and I hear ya’. But I get the sinking feeling, based on things I’m told and other things that are popping up over the internet that when the dust settles that this event will take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. For all your sakes, let’s hope I’m wrong.
But here’s the bottom line, the power brokers who run this business, long ago abandoned any principle based on what is good for you fans or the overall big picture of boxing. There are a select few figures involved in Pacquiao-Mayweather (from the fighters to the promoters to certain “advisors”, networks and corporations) that will make a fortune on this fight. Quite frankly, I’m not sure they even care what happens to all you “Joe the Plumbers” because in this instance, they really don’t have to. They’ll most likely put out a few dozen seats for sale, put on the same dreadful undercard, make a load of money off you “schmucks” who simply can’t help yourselves (and I love you guys for it, because if I wasn’t doing this, I’d be in your sandals) and state how great this was for boxing when it’s all over.
When in stark reality, it’s really only great for them and their bottom lines. Meanwhile, the rest of you guys will be on the outside looking in; wondering why you continue to feed this curious addiction to something that habitually lets you down.
But seriously, $100 closed-circuit tickets? Tell me again why this fight should be in Vegas?
I was at the fights on Thursday night, at the Commerce Casino in Commerce, California, for the latest TKO Boxing Promotions show and I came away impressed by a pair of young prospects. Lightweight Fidel Maldonado, making his pro debut, halted Nichoulas Briannes in one. Maldonado is a southpaw who likes to let his hands go and throw rapid-fire combinations. Then there was welterweight Joseph “Leggo My” Elegele, a tall and lanky southpaw, who fights as a welterweight. He is a bit reminiscent of one Paul Williams. Making just his second professional outing, he stopped Juan Carlos Diaz in one round.
Now, before I crown them like Dennis Green, I have to point out that they were facing rather soft opposition (which is the norm for this stage of their careers) and it’s still very early. But I do look forward to seeing how these guys develop.
Speaking of Dennis Green, here is one of my all-time favorite meltdowns:
They may have lost, but I thought Miguel Espino and Jesus Chavez showed a ton of guts in losing efforts on Saturday night…I loved the fact that Kelly Pavlik and Bob Arum threw down the gauntlet to Paul Williams and his reps...There is a good chance that the fight between Ali Funeka and Rolando Reyes for the vacant IBF lightweight title will end up underneath Valero-DeMarco on February 6th...OK, I tried to resist “Jersey Shore” on MTV, but a few folks said I had to check it out. And I have to admit, after two episodes, I’m in. I’m all in...This past week’s edition of “The Main Event” featured Calvin Watkins and Tom Hauser...Questions or comments can be directed to me firstname.lastname@example.org...Twitter.com/stevemaxboxing...