10 Bold Predictions for Boxing in 2013

Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistDecember 29, 2012

10 Bold Predictions for Boxing in 2013

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    The sport of boxing goes on and on.

    While it may appear to be on the sporting world's respirator from time to time, the explosive competition and powerful moments allow the sport to live on and continue to command the fans' attention.

    Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao gave the sport a memorable jolt in the fourth fight of their series in early December when Marquez defeated his rival for the first time with a one-punch knockout in the sixth round.

    That was a huge moment for the sport in 2012.

    Here are 10 bold predictions for boxing in 2013—both inside the ring and out.

10. Mayweather Will Be Active

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    A look at the record shows that Floyd "Money" Mayweather has not been the most active of fighters.

    Since he fought Ricky Hatton in December 2007, Mayweather has fought four times in the ensuing five years.

    He has had plenty to occupy his time, including his outrageous sports bets and jail time.

    The window is not going to remain open for Mayweather forever. He has earned plenty of money, but he has big needs.

    Mayweather is scheduled to have a fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas against an undetermined opponent in May. Look for him to have one more fight before the end of the year as well.

    That will mean 2013 is the first year that Mayweather has had multiple fights since 2007.

9. Wladimir Klitschko Becomes Unified Heavyweight Champion

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    There has not been an undisputed and unified heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis ruled the heavyweight division.

    That will change in 2013 when Wladimir Klitschko fulfills that role. Vitali Klitschko is the WBC heavyweight champion, but he will almost certainly retire in 2013. That will leave that belt there for his brother's taking.

    Wladimir Klitschko owns four other heavyweight crowns and he'll hammer Alexander Povetkin if those two meet in the early part of 2013 (source: badlefthook.com).

    Nobody can dispute that Wladimir Klitschko is the best heavyweight fighter by a wide margin.

8. PED Issue Does Not Go Away

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    Boxing may have more at stake when it comes to eliminating the use of performance-enhancing drugs than any other sport.

    In baseball, using PEDs will help a hitter blast a baseball farther and it may help a pitcher throw harder and recover faster.

    However, a boxer who uses PEDs may put the life of an opponent as well as his own health at risk (source: ESPN.com).

    Boxing, of course, does not have national regulation. Each state has its own boxing commission that administers the rules of the sport.

    Some are much more vigilant than others.

    It is difficult for all states to follow the top standards.

    Boxing must get out front in drug testing and cannot allow any loopholes.

    Lives are at stake.

    However, this is not likely to change until something tragic happens.

7. Timothy Bradley Gets Exposed

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    Timothy Bradley is undefeated at 29-0-0 and the WBO welterweight champion.

    He is rated the No. 6 pound-for-pound fighter in the world by BoxRec.com.

    He fought Manny Pacquiao last year and came away with the decision.

    However, that fight is widely regarded as one of the worst judging fiascoes in recent memory, as Pacquiao got the best of Bradley in the view of many observers (source: FoxSports.com).

    Bradley will get exposed in 2013. He will likely fight Pacquiao or another top fighter and will get beaten badly.

    Bradley can win against a mediocre fighter, but he does not have enough firepower to trade with top fighters.

    His undefeated status should assure that he gets a headline-type fight in 2013. It will prove to be his undoing.

6. Manny Pacquiao Will Return

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    It was not the kind of year that Manny Pacquiao wants to be remembered for.

    He dropped a decision to Timothy Bradley in June. While many observers thought Pacquiao was a clear winner, the judges gave the decision to Bradley.

    Six months later, Pacquiao got knocked out by arch-rival Juan Manuel Marquez in the sixth round. It gave Marquez his first victory in the four fights between the two great fighters.

    Pacquiao will return to the ring in 2013. Look for him to have at least two bouts. If he can win them both, he will set himself up for a huge bout in early 2014 with Floyd Mayweather.

5. U.S. Olympic Boxing

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    The USA men's Olympic boxing team got shut out in the 2012 Olympics held in London.

    The USA has a proud history in Olympic boxing, with top stars like Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard getting their start there.

    The organizers behind the United States boxing team say it is embarrassed by the showing and will make sure that it never happens again (source: TeamUSA.org).

    However, the organizers can't wait until 2016 to make changes. They must start overhauling the amateur boxing program in the United States in 2013 if there is going to be an upgrade in the program.

4. MMA Growth Will Put Spotlight Back on Boxing

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    Mixed Martial Arts fighting will continue to grow and may cause some headaches for boxing.

    However, as that sport gains popularity, it will find that it is vulnerable to the same scandals that have plagued boxing over the years.

    Boxing has always managed to survive and bounce back from its scandals.

    Does MMA fighting have the same kind of backbone and ability to bounce back?

    We will find out. However, scandal in the form of PED use or fixed-fight allegations are sure to follow as the sport grows more popular.

    Scandals will test that sport and give boxing a chance to shine by comparison.

3. Updated Round-by-Round Scoring

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    Boxing gets damaged by poor judging decisions.

    The victory by Tim Bradley over Manny Pacquiao shocked mainstream sportswriters (above) and shined a bright light on boxing's poor scoring system.

    Instead of letting judges surprise fighters and fight fans with their decision at the end of the fight, the technology exists to keep the fighters and fans updated as the fight unfolds.

    This will mean that judges' decisions will be scrutinized much closer than they are right now.

    Judges who don't take their job seriously will be exposed as their round-by-round scoring is revealed after each three minutes of boxing.

2. Over-the-Air Networks 'Rediscover' Boxing

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    It was not a headline-producing fight, but CBS got back in the boxing business when it presented a fight between Leo Santa Cruz and Alberto Guevara Dec. 15.

    Santa Cruz, the IBF bantamweight champion, earned a unanimous decision

    While the fight was produced by Showtime, it was shown on the air by CBS. It was the network's first live fight broadcast since Bernard Hopkins knockout of Glen Johnson in 1997.

    Look for CBS to do more boxing broadcasts and expect NBC, ABC and Fox to follow suit.

1. David Price Emerges as Heavyweight Contender

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    As 2012 comes to an end, British heavyweight David Price (15-0-0) is rated as the 13th-best heavyweight in the division by BoxRec.com.

    That's not a lot of respect. However, Price is surging. He was 4-0 in 2012, and all of the fights were won by knockouts in four or fewer rounds.

    Price should be just as active in 2013. If he can maintain his unbeaten streak, look for him to emerge as a solid heavyweight contender by the end of the year.

    That may earn him a shot at Wladimir Klitschko some time in 2014.