I’m not big on lists of best this or that, instead preferring to
look forward to 2012. It’s a year I expect to be among one of boxing’s
best if everything falls the way it should or we hope. If we all make
like Rodney King wished and just get along, this sport is poised to go
through the roof in the next 12 months. This is not a breakdown of every
fighter I “deem important” to look forward to. There are plenty to be
sure. Joel Diaz, Jr, Kell Brook, Leo Santa Cruz, Gary Russell, Jr, Seth
Mitchell, Randy Caballero, Chocolatito Gonzalez, and so many more.
Forget that ”Super Fight” we keep hoping for. There is a galaxy of stars
waiting to be born. These are a few of the fights, fighters, and events
I look forward to in coming year. So raise a glass, say goodbye 2011
and hello 2012.
James Kirkland. All action, gets
knocked down, wants to fight anyone, and is willing to fight as many as
six times a year as he did in 2011. Here’s hoping Golden Boy keeps him
active and doesn’t relegate him to the Entitled Fighter Two a Year Club
other recent gems have joined. The ride from here
pretty amazing. If Golden Boy markets him well, (that is to say, better
than they have thus far), Kirkland could be the kind of star casual
fans can get excited about. His vulnerability, like a Trinidad before
him, is part of why it’s fun to see him fight. I wouldn’t shy from this
if I were them.
Tavoris Cloud: If there is a boxing god in the
sky, this man will fight more often where people can see him. Cloud’s
showdown with Zsolt Erdie was going to be a good one. Now that it is
postponed, Cloud is left waiting to burst onto the scene in a consistent
manner. To think we got Hopkins-Dawson on HBO PPV and yet the gods (or
Don King) saw fit to let this exciting crowd pleasing light heavyweight
titleholder fight just one time. Here’s hoping his prime does not go to
Scott Quigg: This 23 year old super bantamweight out the
UK is another exciting young fighter. Ranked right below Poonsawat
Kratingdaenggym in the WBA at number 3, Quigg is scheduled to go for a
British title in February against Jamie Arthur. Should he dominate the
way he did in October against Jason Booth, Quigg could be on the verge
of a world title shot.
not big on a lot of Brits but Quigg is certainly one of them. He turns
beautifully off punches, is not afraid to mix it up and goes to the body
like few others.
Javier Fortuna: This Dominican Republic by way
of Oxnard featherweight prospect had something of a coming out party
against Derrick Wilson in March.
stayed busy, fighting four more times, in Uruguay and the Dominican
Republic before finishing out for the WBC Youth Title against Miguel
Roman in December. I’m hoping/expecting the networks feature smaller
weight classes in 2012. If they want action guys, this is one of them.
He has a nice mixture of offense and defense. The Wilson fight showed he
has heart, grit and toughness to go with skills and power. More please.
Livingston: A fighter I’ve been covering for some time now for a couple
reasons. One, I think he has untapped talent. Two, I love watching
people follow their dreams. This young man had a dream to return to
boxing after a stellar amateur career and a long layoff. It wasn’t easy
but now he is in the conversation following a very successful 2011. This
is a story driven sport. He has one of the better ones. Doesn’t hurt
that he can crack and is an American middleweight among a bunch of very
talented young Euros.
Andre Ward: Here is hoping Andre Ward
learns from the mistakes of Sergio Martinez and fights more often. It
would be a huge mistake to think that the respect within the boxing
community winning the Super Six has given him equates to having leverage
in negotiations. That comes with regularly filing seats and doing high
ratings on TV. My hope for Ward is he fights often and at home, building
up that fan base while facing opponents (like Tavoris Cloud) that can
bring that last part of the equation of him: excitement.
“Put Up or Shut Up”
we don’t get “That Fight” this year, fight fans have to promise to
officially give up, both fighters have to officially shut up and writers
need to stop supporting this nonsense by driving traffic with their
names. That is all.
“Martinez vs. The Middleweights”
said it after Paul Williams hit the deck and he didn’t listen. Martinez
should have spent 2011 declaring how great it was beating the hell out
of Felix Sturm, Dmitry Pirog and anyone else claiming to be the real
middleweight champion. Instead, he spent it chasing two smaller fighters
who make more money than him. Then he downshifted to the kid awarded
his vacated belt (not stripped as Martinez’ promoter could have held his
mandatory defense somewhere other than on HBO) and wasted more time. To
go from Fighter of the Year in 2010 to Fighter Wondering What To Do
Next is not a good thing. Here is hoping Martinez goes on a world tour
where he can make good money not fighting on HBO. I would hope that he
could get a big fight but he just told the WBC to suckit and that will
now never happen.
“Year of the Mandatory?”
Sulaiman. You’ve got some splaining to do. Sergio Martinez, Marco
Antonio Rubio, Ajose Olusegun. These men were promised mandatory shots
in 2011. If you don’t want the boxing writers, fighters, and fans to
stop telling you what a corrupt pig you appear to be, then start abiding
by your own rules and rulings. Thank you. That is all.
arrives February 11 to assure Victor Ortiz and Andre Berto are clean as
whistles. They’ll be making sure Victor Conte didn’t pull any fast ones
with Berto as well. Not bad for a first fight. Will fans support it? Do
they understand it? Do they want a cleaner sport or fully roided beasts
roaming the rings. Now is the time to get educated with articles coming
out on the subject regularly. VADA has a donation page so for those
fans so supportive of better testing, burning torches on Manny
Pacquiao’s doorstep during the debacle known as the negotiations for a
super fight, here is your big chance to put your money where your
internet mouths are.
I for one am looking forward to the results of VADA testing in boxing.
If the last Shobox was any indication of what to expect on Showtime Boxing in 2012. . . uh oh. I’m not drinking to that.
“Fans take responsibility”
is to more fans going to more fights locally, promoters giving them
that chance and me getting to cover them. We can’t keep complaining
about not getting what we want without participating somehow. PPVs have
not only made the sport’s promoters lazy, they’ve made fans lazy. Go to a
local show, see some amateurs, go to a gym. Find some way to give back
to the sport instead of just watching from home.
“Berto comes into his own and gets respect”
now you might be thinking I’m drinking already. But I have a feeling
about this. I expect Berto to knock out Ortiz in eight rounds. In doing
so, he will become the poster boy for cleaner boxing through VADA
testing. He can make a fight with the Mike Jones/Randall Bailey winner
or Devon Alexander. As the names come from 140 to 147, Berto is in a
great position to defend his belt from on high. By the end of 2012, I
predict we will be looking at him a whole new way.
“The World Series of Boxing Educates fans”
know, I know. I push it like a broken record. But you know what? We
complain that the Olympics don’t matter anymore. That no one cares about
our sport because we are no longer grass roots enough. Come to a show
if you are in L.A. If not, check out their youtube page here:
show old matches from all over the world as well as stream new matches.
To anyone wanting to know what they are looking at in the 2012
Olympics, this is a great place to start.
You know what? It’s getting close to time to go out and celebrate this new year coming. I for one cannot wait.
is to a great 2011 full of so many stories, fights, fighters, and fans
that let everyone know we are here to stay. Here’s to all of you. Happy