Manny Pacquiao-Canelo Alvarez and 5 Fights After Top Rank/Golden Boy Feud Ends
With reports that the tensions between Top Rank and Golden Boy may be easing just a bit, though with no inter-promotional matchups scheduled on the horizon, it's again worth speculating what kind of ridiculous fights could be made between pugilists representing the warring stables.
Some of the best potential fights in the sport have not even been discussed because of the bitter animosity between the two rivals.
Here's a look at five fights that could me made in the near future with great intrigue and potential for fireworks. I'm not including Floyd Mayweather Jr./Manny Pacquiao because although Mayweather is affiliated with GB and Pacman is repped by TR, the feud is pretty low on a long list of reasons that fight hasn't been made.
Marcos Maidana vs. Brandon Rios
This is a matchup with serious potential for a bloodbath. Rios has cast himself into one of boxing's most polarizing villains, never afraid to speak his mind and often doing so to ridicule and debase his opponents, and in one famous case, the trainer, Freddie Roach.
Maidana is a tough-as-nails brawler, willing to take a beating to keep coming forward swinging for the fences with concrete right hands.
The smaller Rios (currently fighting a division lighter than Maidana) also likes to bulldoze forward and brawl inside. Rios' volatile tongue would be sure to stir up some healthy animosity and the action in the ring would likely be bloody, intense and end in a definitive knockout one way or the other.
Saul "Canelo" Alvarez vs. Miguel Cotto
This is a fight that's not as far off from happening as I thought it was about six months ago. But watching Alvarez against Hatton and Cotto against Mayorga, I don't think the gap is as far away as commonly assumed.
Should Cotto find himself without a dance partner next spring, assuming he avenges his brutal defeat to Margarito, Canelo would be a great pick. A classic mix of a young star in the making taking on seasoned former champ with a huge heart but declining skills. Another chapter in the legendary Mexico/Puerto Rico rivalry. And by that time it could very well be a fight between the top two fighters at 154 lbs—a chance for a ring title at junior middleweight.
Let's just hope Chavez Jr. doesn't end up as Miguel's spring foe, because I think Alvarez/Cotto is a much better, more meaningful fight.
Robert Guerrero vs. Brandon Rios
This really strikes me as a no-brainer. Guerrero, the consummate professional and all-around great guy, against Rios, the outspoken, brash, self-proclaimed best fighter in the lightweight division.
The styles in the ring speak to a compelling fight. Guerrero, with very quick hands and a southpaw stance, working the height and jab, but not afraid to go to war, as he did with Katsidis, and try to overpower and outmaneuver a bulldozing Rios. Rios would have to attack hard yet be evasive, avoid taking the savage punishment that Katsidis did.
Guerrero will be a staunch test for anyone at lightweight or junior welterweight. But you can't deny the energy and spirit that Bam-Bam comes charging with every time he's in the ring. This looks on paper to be a great combination of boxing skills and guts and determination, a fight that would surely stretch both combatants to their limits.
Nonito Donaire vs. Yuriorkis Gamboa
For one thing, we're not even sure who will end up with Nonito Donaire's promotional rights, but it goes without saying that some sort of cease-fire in the TR/GB war would have to occur for Donaire to get this, or any fight. And this should not be immediate. I'd like to see Gamboa fight Mikey Garcia, then JuanMa if he can avenge his stoppage to Salido.
In the meantime, when Donaire gets back, he can try to unify bantamweight and face the winner of the Showtime tournament. But I would urge him to start moving up; he has the frame to easily fill out at featherweight and compete in a much more loaded division with a lot bigger fights. In the bantamweight division, Donaire is like a man against boys.
In the next year or two, there aren't many more fights I would rather see than Donaire in there with the explosive Yuriorkis Gamboa. Two guys with these athletic gifts, the speed, the power and the skills would only seem destined to face off and create a truly memorable spectacle.
Manny Pacquiao vs. Saul "Canelo" Alvarez
Alright, relax. This fight's not happening anytime soon. But I believe it will, possibly as early as the fall of next year.
Canelo is surging in popularity, particularly amongst the Mexican fans, some of the most passionate fans in the sport. If—and I say, IF—he can clean out the 154 division, put a guy like Cotto on his resume and stay trim enough that he could still make a 150 catchweight, then it's on.
Think about Pacquiao's next opponents: Marquez in November; then possibly Floyd in the spring; or Ortiz if he wins; or Bradley. Who gets the fall 2012 spot? Or the following spring of 2013?
Pacquiao hinted that he would fight six more times, including Mosley—twice a year through 2013. If Canelo keeps surging, winning and hanging around Pacquiao's wheelhouse in the weight department, Canelo will earn one of those fights.
This is a battle that will happen, and it will be a legendary fight!