The past two years were good years for boxing. Over the course of the last 24 months, there have been many great fights and virtuoso performances from some old greats.
Casamayor-Katsidis, Marquez-Casamayor, Pacquiao-Marquez II, Hatton-Malignaggi, Mayweather-Hatton, Pavlik-Taylor I, Margarito-Cotto, Cotto-Mosley, Hopkins-Pavlik, and we’ll punctuate the list with the all-time trilogy of Vazquez-Marquez.
We’ve really been given a treat these last few years.
I hope the streak continues. HBO has put its best foot forward this year with Berto-Collazo and Mosley-Margarito.
Showtime is also starting out hot with the upcoming Junior Bantamweight fight between Vic Darchinyan and Jorge Arce. To top it off, Showtime will televise a mega-event that will feature Manny Pacquaio and Ricky Hatton squaring off.
Here are my suggestions to keep things interesting in 2009:
Kelly Pavlik vs. Arthur Abraham
Despite his first loss, Pavlik is still the undisputed middleweight champion of the world. There is, however, a very capable and touted contender out there, and his name is Arthur Abraham.
The European boxer-puncher is perceived as the biggest threat to Pavlik’s throne at the moment and these two will produce a good fight.
Tomaz Adamek vs. Steve Cunningham II
Their first fight was a fight-of-the-year candidate as well as a final eliminator to determine the undisputed cruiserweight champion of the world.
“USS” Cunningham is still hungry and I think Adamek would be less than reluctant to surrender his newly won crown. A second time around for these guys will be a burner.
Miguel Cotto vs. Shane Mosley II
Cotto and Mosley are the No. 1 and No. 2 contenders, respectively, to the vacant welterweight championship. Both are still exceptionally talented fighters and again, the rematch would prove promising.
Although it wouldn’t be a battering bloodbath donnybrook, it would still be a great boxing match and getting another Ring champion is never a bad thing.
Israel Vasquez vs. Juan Manuel Lopez
How can you get any better than an iron-willed warrior and an explosive puncher squaring off in another chapter of the Mexico-Puerto Rico rivalry?
These two will most likely turn in a “fight of the year” candidates and any fight for the true lineal championship is a welcome bout.
Not to mention that, after his historic trilogy with Marquez, it’d be good for Vasquez to take on a different, but still worthy, opponent before his rivalry with Marquez goes stale. And right now there are not many worthy challengers outside of Juan Manuel Lopez.
Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez III
Their first two fights were extraordinary, with the first being match-of-the-year caliber. Although it seems Pacquiao has moved on to bigger and more lucrative, albeit less significant things, it would be nice to see these two go at it again.
Their skills are still sharp. Both are coming off signature wins, and Marquez wants a piece of Pacquiao like nobody’s business. Even though Pacquiao leads the trilogy 1-0-1, a convincing win by either could give that fighter the nod as the better man.
Let’s hope we see it.