The year of 2009 was a pretty great one for the sport of boxing. There were a number of high-quality fights that you did not need to pay $50 on pay-per-view to see. The days of paying a ridiculous price for a boxing fight seemed to be no more as 2009 moved forward. We saw Manny Pacquiao rise to super stardom, the return of former pound-for-pound king Floyd “Money” Mayweather, the fall of Jermain Taylor, and the possible banishment of Antonio Margarito.
Politics permitting, the year of 2010 ought to prove to be another great year for boxing, highlighted by the possibility of one of the biggest fights of all time between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. But with the blood-testing controversy still not settled, we are going to have other top fights to look forward to. Here is my list, in no particular order, of the 10 fights I want to see in 2010.
Juan Manuel Lopez vs. Yurikois Gamboa
For the second time in a row, Lopez and Gamboa will be co-featured on the same card at the theatre in Madison Square Garden. Considered two of the most exciting fighters in the lighter weight classes, Gamboa and Lopez seemed to be poised for a future showdown in what would be one of the biggest fights the featherweight division has seen.
Lopez and Gamboa are two of the youngest sensations in boxing. The are both undefeated and bring amazing excitement into the ring, although they do it in very different ways. Gamboa has blinding speed and unleashes a whirlwind offensive arsenal that topples most opponents. Juan Manuel Lopez, on the other hand, brings precision power punching with textbook form. If they do fight, I promise we will see the fight of the year. Put this fight at the actual Madison Square Garden during the Puerto Rican parade weekend, and we will have ourselves a special night of boxing.
Amir Khan vs. Timothy Bradley
Khan rebounded from his horrible loss to Brendiss Prescott to earn the Scrappy as the comeback fighter of the year. Trained by Freddie Roach, Khan is one of the brightest young stars in all of boxing. In 2009, he defeated three consecutive tough opponents in succession: Marco Antonio Barrera, Andriy Kotelnik, and Dmitriy Salita. Timothy Bradley had himself a great 2009 as we saw with his tremendous performance against Lamont Peterson. Even though he did not get credit for the win, he totally dominated Nate Campbell, and many experts have proclaimed him the best 140-pounder in the world.
Khan and Bradley are proven that they are champions, arguably the best two champions, and it would be a very tricky fight for either fighter. How would Khan handle Bradley’s right hand? How would Bradley handle the lightning quickness of Khan? There is buzz surrounding this fight and looks as if it might happen sooner than later.
David Haye vs. Vitali Klitschko
If Haye can get a fight with each one, it would be the biggest heavyweight fight since Tyson-Lewis. Vitali had himself quite a nice comeback in 2009. He totally dominated against the previously undefeated Chris Arreola and easily dispatched a very stubborn Kevin Johnson. Haye is coming off the biggest win of his career, winning the WBA heavyweight championship against Valuev. Haye has talked a lot smack about getting Vitali or Wladimir in the ring. His controversial beheading shirt has caused quite a stir in the Klitschko camp. It looked like at one point this fight was going to happen in 2009, but money talk killed the prospect of that fight. But the more people talk about this fight, the better chance it will happen.
Klitschko has size, experience, and good boxing skills. Haye brings speed, movement, and explosive power. I believe if Haye fought with the boxing brain, discipline, and explosive power to jump in with a bomb, and out of range again, he would stop Klitschko. Same with his brother. For all Vitali’s experience, it has been an awfully long time since he faced a talent like Haye. Either way, this is a fight that I have to see.
Paul Williams vs. Floyd Mayweather
When I thought about this fight, I had to think about Mayweather’s “interview” with R.A., the Rugged Man. It was an interview that many boxing fans who dislike Mayweather, loved, because of how R.A talked down to Floyd on how he would never be one of the all-time greats. One of the funnier lines that R.A used on Mayweather was, "Paul Williams would spank your ass."
After hearing that, you would think Floyd would be intrigued with a fight against Williams. But this is Floyd Mayweather Jr. we are talking about and we know he doesn’t like taking a challenge. This would be a big challenge for him. I am intrigued to see how Mayweather would fight Williams, given the large size differences and how he would have to get in and out on him. This fight could be a mini "Haye-Valuev" fight. You know that the Punisher would kill for this fight but we know there is no way in hell that Mayweather would take it. It’s a fight I would love to see because I really believe that Paul would bully Floyd, but it will never happen.
Miguel Cotto vs. Antonio Margarito
I wrote an article after Cotto’s fight with Pacquiao on what lies in his future. There is only one thing that lies in his future. He MUST avenge his first loss of his career and take a rematch against Antonio Margarito. It's the only fight that makes any kind sense for Cotto. Cotto must slay this controversy once and for all. Bob Arum needs to put together an Antonio Margarito-Miguel Cotto rematch in June at Madison Square Garden during the Puerto Rican parade weekend. While it may not be fair to put Margarito in hostile territory, he deserves it, after being caught red-handed with plaster before his fight with Mosley. We talk about how big a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight would be, but how big do you think a rematch of Cotto-Margarito in MSG would be? Cotto’s Puerto Rican fans want Margarito’s blood and this would be the best way to do it. Let’s not forget that the first fight between these two guys was one of the better welterweight fights of our time. It was an instant classic and with all the controversy that surrounds Margarito from that fight. This is a story that is not complete.
Paul Williams vs. Kelly Pavlik
This was a fight that was supposed to happen on two different occasions last year but Pavlik pulled out with a staph infection. Williams did not want to waste anymore time and won a very close decision against the highly skilled Sergio Martinez in one of the best fights of 2009. Pavlik finally came back to win his last fight against an overmatched Miguel Espino. With both guys posting wins, it is now time to make this fight. There are not many big middleweight fights to look forward to and this looks like the best possible matchup. Since Pavlik defeated Jermain Taylor, he hasn’t looked impressive since he won those titles, beating nobodies in Rubio and Espino and getting schooled by Bernard Hopkins. He needs a big fight against a top name to boost himself in rankings and in the eyes of the boxing public. A win over Williams will certainly do that. Williams is a tall fighter who certainly throws punches. I just don’t see how Williams can handle Pavlik’s power and could get knocked out. However, It is an intriguing fight and the best to be made at middleweight.
Shane Mosley vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Mayweather against any good welterweight will be fine by me. This will not be the last Mayweather fight I want on my list. I just really can’t stand Floyd and really would love to see him exposed. But this is a fight that makes a ton of sense. After Mayweather’s victory over Marquez, Shane Mosley took a page out of Vince McMahon’s playbook and went right up to Floyd to challenge him! I never seen Max Kellerman look so uncomfortable in the ring than he did that night. Shane Mosely deserves to get the big fight this year. Win, lose or draw, Shane was shut out last year and he deserves a big payday.
Mosley has business to take care of when he fights Berto at the end of the month. If he wins that fight and looks good, Mosley has every reason to call out Floyd again. There has been back and forth war of words between the two over the years. Some of have said Mosley has ducked Floyd and vice versa. But I think we can all agree that a fight between the two would be a pretty good mix of styles. But once again, I doubt it will happen.
Chad Dawson vs. Arthur Abraham
Undefeated rising star and WBC and IBO light heavyweight champion "Bad" Chad Dawson is one of the brightest stars in boxing that not many know about. He needs a big step in competition, as in 2009, he fought aging boxers in Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson. Dawson was just too quick for both guys and at times look very disinterested. He needs a big test and a fight that could really appeal to the audience. Even thought it will not happen this year, a fight against Abraham would be a great test. Abraham had a big coming out party in 2009 thanks to his highlight reel knockout of Jermain Taylor. We knew he was a pretty decent fighter before that fight but now everyone knows how much of a beast Abraham really is. He is clear favorite right now in my eyes to take the Super Six tournament and if he does win the whole tournament, then a fight with Dawson could be next. Both guys are undefeated and in their primes.
Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao
Can’t we all just get along? Unfortunately, it seems as though this mega-match will happen in the courts rather than the ring. I would love to think this is all part of a media stunt in promoting the bout, but I doubt it. I don’t understand Floyd’s thinking. He’s saying he’d beat Pacquaio, so why is being so annoying with wanting more than what is necessary in a drug test. This could be a sign he is not sure he can beat Pacquaio after Pacquiao flattened Hatton and walked through Cotto. I am tired of talking about this nonsense. If this were Manny against anyone else, this fight would have been done by now. And if this fight does happen, with all this BS that gone on, I think it is safe that many would love Floyd to be out away once and for all. Let’s make it happen!!!