I’ll drink to that: Hopes, dreams, fights and fighters in 2012
By Gabriel Montoya, MaxBoxing (Jan 1, 2012) Doghouse Boxing
New Years Cheer
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

to there


was 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 waste.

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.


I’m 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.


Fortuna 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.

DonYil 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”

If 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”

I 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?”

Paging Jose 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.

“Boxing reform?”

VADA 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.

“It’s Haymontime!!!!”

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”

Here 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”

Ok, 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”

I 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:


They 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.

Here 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 New Year.
More of Gabriel's recent work (Contact info for Montoya below):
Floyd Mayweather and Kelly Pavlik: A Year to Forget Gabriel Montoya
Andre Ward injury update Gabriel Montoya
Carl Froch is Ready to Fulfill His Super Six Destiny Gabriel Montoya
Irish Amateur Jason Quigley makes his L.A. Matadors Debut Gabriel Montoya
Boxing Notes: Khan, Peterson, Lemieux, Alcine, Viloria, Segura, Mitchell, Ibragimov Gabriel Montoya
Andre Berto on a Victor Ortiz Rematch and VADA Testing Gabriel Montoya
Abner Mares Wins Unanimously Gabriel Monotya
Brandon Rios Loses Title on the Scales Gabriel Montoya
Miguel Cotto vs. Antonio Margarito II: As Personal as It Gets Gabriel Montoya
Victor Ortiz vs Andre Berto II - Drug testing & more update... Gabriel Montoya
Saul "Canelo" Alvarez Stops Kermit Cintron Gabriel Montoya
Adrien Broner is Not the Problem Gabriel Montoya
Kermit “The Killer” Cintron Goes for One Last Hit Gabriel Montoya
How Do You Sell a Product like “Canelo”? Gabriel Montoya
Chavez, Jr Stops Manfredo, Jr Gabriel Montoya
Boxing Trainer Manny Robles Prepares his Matadors to Take on the World Gabriel Montoya

You can email Gabriel at maxgmontoya@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/gabriel_montoya and catch him on each Monday’s episode of “The Next Round” with Steve Kim. You can also tune in to hear him and co-host David Duenez live on the BlogTalk radio show Leave-It-In-The-Ring.com, Thursdays at 5-8 PM PST. Gabriel is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

* Special Thanks To MaxBoxing.

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