15 Fights We Can't Wait to See in 2012

Matthew HemphillCorrespondent IIJanuary 6, 2012

15 Fights We Can't Wait to See in 2012

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    As 2012 continues to take shape for future fights, there are matches that have yet to be made that fans dream of seeing. Most of these were left over from 2011, but some started to be imagined as other fights took place throughout the year.

    Unfortunately, most seem like pipe dreams right now, with precious few having been already made.

    That means that some fights might not get made, especially because of outside forces, but others still have a chance. As always, boxing fans are the ultimate pessimists who remain hopeful.

    That should be an oxymoron but it explains those who watch the sport perfectly.

    Here are the fights boxing fans hold out hope will happen in 2012 along with a few that have already been made.

Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr.

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    This fight has almost no chance of happening this year, but it still has to be mentioned.

    Floyd is going to start his jail sentence today which will run through March and stop him from having a possible showdown with Pacquiao until the winter.  After he gets out, Mayweather will most likely want a tune up fight first.

    This fight is probably going to get postponed until 2013, although it very well might never happen.

    Fights that have almost no chance of happening usually wouldn't be mentioned, but this is boxing's megafight and if this list is going to be complete it had to be put on here.

Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez IV

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    Sometimes a consolation prize is pretty decent. In this case it just might be.

    It will still be a letdown if Pacquiao doesn't face Mayweather and when this fight is compared to that one it pales in comparison.

    Still, fans need to see something and Pacquiao is one of the biggest draws in the sport.  Just because Mayweather is in jail doesn't mean Pacquiao's career should come to a standstill.  He needs to keep competing and after the controversial end to their third bout, both Marquez and Pacquiao have unfinished business.

    Plenty of fans thought Pacquiao lost while many will say he won. That doesn't just make for a heated argument, it also makes for pay-per-view buys.

Miguel Cotto vs. Sergio Gabriel Martinez

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    There is little chance of this fight happening as well, as it seems like Bob Arum wants to match his fighters together as much as possible.

    This fight could be made at a catchweight if neither fighter wanted to fight at the other's weight class. Martinez weighed in at 158 pounds for his last fight. Making a fight between the two be one pound lower isn't impossible.

    Especially not for the money it could make everyone involved.

    Neither man has much going on in their respective divisions and a fight between the two would stir up interest among fans.  If it was made for the middleweight championship of the world it would not only heighten the stakes, but add more intrigue.

    It would also raise Martinez's star a bit.

    And much like the first two fights mentioned, it could be stuck on pay-per-view and make a killing.

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Saul Alvarez

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    The son of an icon versus the next breakout Mexican superstar.

    Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. represents almost none of the things his father did.  He was raised in a wealthy family, he has a name that instantly makes him money, he has been brought along soft without always needing to put in his hardest effort.

    Alvarez is a rugged young fighter who has already beaten former champions and has been pushed as much by the Mexican fans as by his own merits.

    Whereas it is the fans love for his father that makes fans watch JCC Jr., Alvarez has done it on his own.

    A fight between the two is a little difficult as JCC Jr. competes at middleweight and Alvarez competes at light middleweight, but with enough money and promises that can be overcome.

    It is the ultimate fight that could be made with two Hispanic superstars.

Andre Ward vs. Lucian Bute

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    Ever since the conclusion of the Super Six Boxing Classic, which Ward won, there has only ever been one fight the fans want to see.

    That is Ward versus Lucian Bute, who is arguably the best super middleweight in the world despite not having fought in the modified tournament put on by Showtime.

    There is also a high chance of it happening.  Bute has a signed contract with the station and it's a good bet that they will try to get the two in the ring against each other.  Anything less would be a travesty.

    Whoever wins will have to move up in weight if they want any other big name opponents, but for now they have a great marquee fight at the weight class they currently campaign in. 

Abner Mares vs. Nonito Donaire

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    Other than a fight with Jorge Arce, there isn't much for Mares, the young boxing phenom, to do at that weight class.  

    He may have struggled to beat some fighters like Joseph Agbeko and Vic Darchinyan in Showtime's four man tournament, but when someone fights the best that's bound to happen.

    There is a fight with Anslemo Moreno, who hasn't been defeated since 2002. He is a great boxer and a fight between the two would be a solid match that any fan should want to see.

    But it isn't a fight that fans would clamor to watch. A fight with Donaire, who is always one fight from superstardom, would be much bigger.

    Donaire has a match against Wilfredo Vasquez Jr. in February, but if he somehow beats his opponent this is the fight to make. It would be perfect on the undercard of a fourth Pacquiao-Marquez fight, though that is a long-shot.

Amir Khan vs. Lamont Peterson II

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    The fight was a bit controversial, though probably not as much as some boxing fans would like to think. In truth, an argument could be made that the referee did his job. Warnings should have been given, but at the same time Khan should have known better.

    Besides that it would still be great to see it again.

    It's a fight the fans want and there probably isn't a bigger money fight that Peterson could score for himself. Golden Boy Promotions (who handles Khan) is desperate to erase the loss and if they want another crack at Peterson he could demand a bigger chunk of the pie.

    Who can blame him? Life is hard when you aren't considered a boxing superstar, and he isn't. Khan is though and that means that his promoter will shell out some serious money for his man to get a second chance.

    That, added in with the fact that the match was entertaining makes it not only a fight fans should want to see, but one they are probably going to anyway.

Roman Gonzalez vs. Brian Viloria

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    A year ago this match would have been matching Gonzalez with fellow power puncher Giovanni Segura.

    That was before Viloria fought Segura in the Philippines and knocked him out. Now a fight between Gonzalez and Segura is still interesting, but it lacks the appeal that it once had.

    A fight between Gonzalez and Viloria has some serious steam, and would be a hardcore boxing fan's dream. A counterpuncher like Viloria who can knock out his opponents would be an interesting clash of styles with Gonzalez, who just knows hot to lay hands on his opponents until they drop.

    Viloria also has a bit more name recognition than Gonzalez as he had his name pushed by Top Rank.  

    Gonzalez hasn't been as fortunate, which is a shame, as the miniature Nicaraguan was mentored by Alexis Argeullo and it shows.

    And how could fans not like a fighter like that or the match they could have?

One of the Klitschko Brothers in an Interesting Heavyweight Fight

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    This should be narrowed down a bit more than it is, but at this point it could be almost anyone. From journeyman to contender, fans just want to see even one of the Klitschko brothers be challenged in the ring or at least dominate their opponents in a more aggressive manner.

    It is understandable as the heavyweight division is almost viewed with an attitude that puts the weight of boxing on its champion's shoulders. Casual fans don't care about most fights unless it involves Pacquiao or Mayweather, but the same rings true for the heavyweights.

    Casual fans love them or at least they did until a little while ago. The Klitschkos are dominant in the ring, but that doesn't mean they are entertaining, and while technique does count for a lot, boxing still needs to be exciting to draw fans.

    Hopefully this year the Klitschkos can face some adversity or dish out some pain.

Carlos Molina vs. James Kirkland

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    This fight may not have marquee names in both slots, but it does have two rugged fighters who know how to win squaring off against each other, and unlike all the previous fights on this list it has one thing going for it:

    It has already been made.

    Both are going to face each other on HBO and though the matchup is great it doesn't seem like a premium cable fight. With a fighter like Molina it's hard to argue about him getting a payday though. He fought to a draw against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in a fight many thought he won.

    He fought to a draw against Erislandy Mara in a fight that some thought he did enough to win.

    He even beat Kermit Cintron and then had to watch the man he had outboxed get a fight on HBO before him.

    Molina has earned a slot on the network and the big fat paycheck that comes with it.

    He is rugged, he is tough and he routinely beats fighters he shouldn't. Against the monstrously well-trained Kirkland, who could have joined the Spartan army thanks to his trainer Ann Wolfe, that will be key.

    It will also be fun to watch.

Yuriorkis Gamboa vs. Chris John

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    Gamboa is a boxer who has many flaws and technical deficiencies mixed with the raw ability to overcome them. In that way he is a lot like Roy Jones Jr.

    He has been knocked down because he has rushed in and he keeps his hands low, yet he still manages to swarm his opponents and take them out.

    For some reason his next fight is against perennial contender, and loser, Rocky Juarez. Juarez has lost four of his last five and scored a draw before that. The fight will be on HBO.

    As much as that might make eyes roll, Gamboa could be facing someone a little more challenging.

    He could be facing Chris John, who unfortunately is going to be having a title defense in Singapore at about the same time.

    Neither man has ever tasted defeat and that includes John's win over Juan Manuel Marquez. It is the biggest fight that could be made at that weight and it should be, in an effort to see who is the best.

    Or it could end up like Yuriorkis Gamboa vs. Juan Manuel Lopez: A fight fans would love to see dashed upon boxing's realities.

Tavoris Cloud vs. Bernard Hopkins

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    This isn't a fight fans have thought about, but that doesn't mean that they shouldn't start.

    Cloud, unlike Chad Dawson, walks into the ring and goes after his opponent with a sense of urgency and thunderous punches that take the life out his opponents. Seeing how a veteran like Bernard Hopkins would deal with him would be interesting.

    Cloud would also speed up the match and get fans who would normally not watch a Hopkins fight to invest in watching it.  

    If he won it would solidify his name in the light heavyweight division.

    If Hopkins found a way to beat him it would only further the future Hall of Famer's career.

    Either way, at the end of the day the fans would win.

Nathan Cleverly vs. Zsolt Erdei

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    This one is for all the European fans.

    Neither name may mean anything to American fans, but both men are some of the best light heavyweights in the world. They could easily meet in the UK and sell out a stadium.

    Both are undefeated, with Erdei having taken the path of the protected European champion who hasn't taken a lot of challenges.  

    Cleverly on the other hand has started beating serious fighters, though they are still on the domestic and European level. Even with a world title in his possession he hasn't faced serious opposition yet, and he won't be doing so when he defends his title against Tommy Karpency.

    A fight between him and Erdei would not only make some money on the European side, it would be a savvy move by Cleverly's promoter.

    Erdei may not have lost any fights yet, but he is also 37. By the time they could face each other he would be closing in on 38.

    A win for Cleverly would push him into the global scene and give him serious clout.

Sergio Gabriel Martinez vs. Felix Sturm

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    In many ways this fight is more compelling than a showdown between Cotto and Martinez.

    Sturm has been a champion a lot longer than Martinez and is the only one who could possibly dispute his claim at being the best middleweight in the world. A fight between the two would not only give the distinction to one man, it would put that person in the top three in any pound-for-pound list.

    It might not end up wowing the crowd, but it would be a great technical match with a clear champion of one of boxing's most important divisions being crowned by the end of the night.

    Sometimes that is enough to make it worthwhile.

Victor Ortiz vs. Andre Berto II

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    It is only fitting that this article ends on not only one of the best matches that could be made, but one that already has been made as well.

    When Ortiz and Berto met last year they put on one of the best fights of the year. Neither one had a serious win after that, with Ortiz embarrassing himself in a match with Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Berto having an uninspired win over a lesser opponent.

    A match between the two would help rekindle the energy and momentum they had going into 2011, and could help them have an eventful 2012.

    It's the best way for both of them to start off the year, and the same can be said for fans of boxing.