Dream Boxing Matches That Will Never Become Reality
Politics too often play a factor and are an obstacle to making great fights that fans really want to see.
Whenever big potential fights fall through the cracks—such as Gennady Golovkin vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. recently—I often find myself wishing that boxing had a similar structure to the UFC, but that level of organization and matchmaking ability will never happen in boxing with as many cooks in the kitchen so to speak.
Sanctioning bodies ordering champions to fight mandatory title defenses against undeserving opponents, promoters refusing to work together and exclusive television-network contracts are all frequent reasons why big fights don't happen.
Worst of all of course is when boxers just decide to dodge a tough opponent at all costs.
When most of the elite boxers only fight twice a year, it doesn't take much to prevent great potential matches.
The five potential bouts on the following slides are likely never to happen. They'd all be great fights, but obstacles like what I mentioned above stand in the way. I would make each of these matches within the next calendar year if given the authority in a dream scenario.
Ruslan Provodnikov vs. Lucas Matthysse
Why It Would Be a Great Fight: This fight would be must-see TV for the hardcore fans. Casual fans have never heard of either Ruslan Provodnikov or Lucas Matthysse, but this matchup has Fight of the Year written all over it if it ever happens.
You could certainly make a reasonable argument that these two fighters land the heaviest punches in boxing pound for pound. In 58 combined career victories, the two men have a combined 49 knockouts. Matthysse hasn't had a decision victory since 2008, while Provodnikov hasn't won by decision since January 2012.
These men look to close the show. They don't coast when they know they have a big lead and instead keep swinging for the fences. That mentality would make Provodnikov vs. Matthysse one hell of a fight.
Why the Fight Will Never Happen: Of all the fights on this list, this one has the best chance of being made, but I still don't like the odds. Matthysse is an Al Haymon fighter, while Provodnikov has been on HBO for a while and has had Top Rank as his co-promoter for a few recent fights.
Top Rank isn't Provodnikov's full promoter, so maybe he could leave in the near future and go fight on Showtime, but as with most things in boxing, I'll believe it when it happens.
My Prediction if the Fight Did Happen: Provodnikov wins by late TKO.
Both men have tremendous power and are eager to let their hands go, but after watching Matthysse get knocked down twice in his last fight, you have to wonder if the punishment he's taken over a long career has started to catch up with him.
They both have holes in their defense, have jaw-breaking power and fight very similar styles, so what remains to decide the fight in my view is the chin. How long can they stay on their feet while the other fighter lands heavy bombs?
I like Provodnikov's chances to stay on his feet a little longer.
Danny Garcia vs. Terence Crawford
Why It Would Be a Great Fight: They are two terrific young fighters who have proven themselves at the championship level. Both fighters have fast hands, good power and fight a TV-friendly style most of the time.
Danny Garcia and Terence Crawford are also both poised to possibly become the biggest stars and best fighters at welterweight over the next several years, as Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao start thinking about retirement.
Why the Fight Will Never Happen: Like many other fights on this list, the reason why this fight is likely never to happen is solely because their promoters refuse to work together. As long as Garcia is with Haymon and Crawford is with Top Rank, this fight has no prayer of being made.
Another potential issue even if their promoters suddenly had a change of heart is that the timing might not work out.
Most people expect Crawford to move up in weight to 140 pounds in the near future, where Garcia is widely regarded as the top dog. Problem is, rumors continue to swirl that Garcia could move up in weight as well to 147 pounds in the next year, as reported on recently by Matt Breen of The Inquirer.
Their size isn't the issue, but which division the two men decide to make the majority of their fights out of could be a significant road block.
They could end up being just two ships passing in the night.
My Prediction if the Fight Did Happen: Danny Garcia wins by unanimous decision 116-112.
They are similar fighters who are even in most areas but I like Garcia's power a little more—especially with his left hook—and his experience in big fights as the difference.
Sergey Kovalev vs. Adonis Stevenson
Why It Would Be a Great Fight: This would be a unification title fight between the boxer who most regard at the top man in the division and the boxer who most regard as the top puncher in the division; what's not to love about this fight?
Why the Fight Will Never Happen: Adonis Stevenson already ran from one network to another after having agreed in principal to fight Sergey Kovalev, so why would he take the fight now even if Kovalev joined him on Showtime?
Stevenson clearly wants no part of Kovalev. I'll never forget after Stevenson's fight on HBO against Tony Bellew—which featured Kovalev as the co-feature—Max Kellerman asked Stevenson if he wanted to fight Kovalev next since that was the fight everyone including HBO wanted to see.
Stevenson not only didn't say yes, but he also attempted to justify it by saying the hometown fans in the arena wanted to see him against other fighters. Similar to my own reaction, the fans in the arena were lukewarm at best to the idea of him not fighting Kovalev.
Even if issues with promoters were removed, I doubt Stevenson would sign up to fight the Krusher.
My Prediction if the Fight Did Happen: Kovalev wins by late-round TKO.
To put it simply: Kovalev has more power than anyone else in the division, and after Stevenson's last fight when he went down in the ninth, I have a few questions about the chin and stamina of the Canadian star.
Gennady Golovkin vs. Saul "Canelo" Alvarez
Why It Would Be a Great Fight: It would feature the two fighters I ranked previously as having the brightest future in the sport of boxing.
Whenever Mayweather Jr. and Pacquiao decide to retire the fighters most likely to replace them as the biggest TV attractions are Gennady Golovkin on HBO and Canelo Alvarez on Showtime.
This fight would be great for TV. Both men love to throw power punches, neither of them attempts to run, and they both fight with what Golovkin called his "Mexican style." These guys love to fight, and they never back down; the network airing this fight could charge $200 dollars for the pay-per-view, and I'd still order it.
Why the Fight Will Never Happen: HBO holds exclusive North American TV rights to Golovkin fights, while Alvarez has been loyal to Golden Boy and Showtime over his career. The fight is dead until one of those two things changes.
Even if that obstacle didn't exist I doubt that Alvarez—who has said he wants to stay at 154 pounds—has much interest in going up in weight to fight a bigger, stronger boxer.
My Prediction if the Fight Did Happen: Golovkin wins by unanimous decision 117-111.
Golovkin is the bigger man and is superior in nearly every skill set. He possesses more power, he's more accurate with his punches and his movement and ability to cut off the ring is far more advanced than Alvarez.
Neither fighter's defense can be qualified as great, but neither man has appeared to be hurt in recent years either. In terms of defense and chin, I would rate them as equal.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao
Why It Would Be a Great Fight: This is pretty obvious right?
Fight fans have wanted to see Mayweather Jr. take on Pacquiao for over five years now. They have both been at the top or near the top of the pound-for-pound list for many years and are without a doubt the two biggest stars in the sport.
Both fighters possess elite hand and foot speed that would make the fight mesmerizing on television.
They're the most skilled, the most accomplished and biggest celebrities in the fight game today. A fight between the two would shatter pay-per-view records and be a huge mainstream crossover event that would grab the attention of even the most casual fan.
This fight would be like watching Nolan Ryan pitch against Babe Ruth. Like watching Michael Jordan play a game of one-on-one against LeBron James. Nothing is bigger than this fight.
Why the Fight Will Never Happen: You all know this by now as well. Disagreements on blood tests, purse split and the usual promoter issues have kept this the fight from happening so far.
While the issue over blood tests doesn't appear to be a problem anymore, the other two factors are just as big as an issue now as they were in 2009.
Bottom line is this: As long as Mayweather remains with Haymon/Showtime and Pacquiao remains with Top Rank/HBO, this fight has no chance of ever being made. Both fighters are exclusive to different networks, and Top Rank has refused to work with Haymon fighters.
That's the cold, unfortunate reality of boxing today. With the two fighters currently at the ages of 37 and 35, respectively, we're quickly approaching a time when this fight would no longer be relevant as their skills start to deteriorate.
My Prediction if the Fight Did Happen: It seems Pacquiao has lost a step, while Mayweather looks as dominant as ever outside of the first half of his fight against Marcos Maidana. Against most opponents Pacquiao has a tremendous advantage in terms of foot and hand speed; that would not be the case against Mayweather.
Mayweather would have the clear advantage in terms of defense, and with Pacquiao's power fading, that skill would likely be even. After a few cautious rounds, Mayweather would figure out Pacquiao's rhythm and start to time him with counterpunches like he does against every opponent.
Mayweather wins by unanimous decision 116-112.