Boxing Power Rankings: The Top 10 Fights to Bring Boxing Back
As a die-hard boxing fan, nothing has to be "brought" back to the sport of boxing for me.
Unlike many, who have been turned off by the once challenger to the national pastime, boxing still holds a very fond place in my heart and a constant place in my daily routine.
Visits to ESPN.com/boxing and of course Bleacher Report's boxing section are a frequent part of my day. My idea of a good Saturday night consists of some Buffalo Wild Wings, a few friends, Bob Papa and some HBO Boxing After Dark.
But, excluding myself and the few others out there aroused by the scintillating matchup of Adrien Broner vs. Jason Litzau, boxing has lost its appeal and relevance in the sporting universe.
Lacking the consistently intriguing duels, which seemed to be the norm in years past, the sport has struggled to maintain a loyal, week-to-week fan base.
Match-making issues and a slew of retiring super-stars hasn't helped matters as the pressure on one or two "Mega-Fights" per year have been placed with the daunting task of carrying the calender year and "bringing boxing back."
If boxing is to once again gain solid footing in sporting world, it must borrow a page from the book of the new popular form of pugilism, the Ultimate Fighting Championship or better known as the UFC.
What the UFC has done, which boxing has failed to do over the course of the past decade, is consistently provide interesting and intriguing matchups.
This is not to say every fight will be a Mayweather vs Pacquiao Armegeddon, but that on a more consistent basis, fans will be presented with a fight that will provide measured impact on the boxing spectrum.
With this goal in mind, here are 10 fights that can bring boxing back.
10. Paul Williams and Roy Jones Jr. Versus Their Couches
Because they are two of some of my favorite all-time fighters, I hope that we never again have to see Roy Jones Jr or Paul Williams step into the ring.
Watching Williams get pummeled by Erislandy Lara, not long after watching the replay of the latest butchering of Jones Jr., it was one of the first times I was nearly brought to tears by sport.
Boxing is such a fickle sport, one mintue you have it, the next you don't. But unlike other sports where not "having it" equates to a lower batting average or a seat on the bench, not possessing the same abilities to defend oneself can result in life-altering damage that sometimes can never be recuperated.
So before we get into the countdown of how to bring boxing, let's take a second and hope the lures of boxing never bring Paul Williams or Roy Jones Jr. back inside the ring.
They deserve better.
9. Tavoris Cloud vs Jean Pascal
Those in love with the sweet science of boxing need not apply.
When Tavoris Cloud (23-0, 19 KO's) and Jean Pascal (26-2, 16 KO's) meet up it will be more reminiscent of a back street brawl, then a battle of wits and technique.
Coming off another knockout victory Cloud is looking to state his claim in a wide open 175-pound division.
With Bernard Hopkins having to be at least somewhere in the vicinity of, in the region of, in proximity of (you get the point) retirement and Chad Dawson showing several flaws, it seems Cloud may be in line for a long stretch of light heavyweight supremacy.
Former light heavyweight champ Jean Pascal may have the power to match Cloud and move towards regaining his title.
With Cloud being one of the few remaining contenders represented by Don King, expect to hear much about this being possible "Only in America."
8. David Haye vs. Tomasz Adamek
They should have fought at cruiserweight and now make the most sense to face each other in what should be a fairly even, entertaining fight.
Assuming Tomasz Adamek fails in his challenge to Vitali Klitschko's heavyweight title, David Haye and Adamek would represent the last two challengers to the Klitschko reign of dominance, and while if either is truly a heavyweight can be debated, they both posses the highest skill level of any fighter in the division south of the brothers grim.
Adamek and Haye were both top notch cruiserweights and would provide solid exchanges in the middle of the ring.
Plus, can I also add in I'm interested in seeing what type of T-shirt Haye thinks of for this fight.
7. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs Saul Canelo Alvarez
Seemingly on a preordained path to fight one another, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (43-0, 30 KO's) vs. Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (37-0, 27 KO's) would pose for a battle of truth seeking, respect and the title of the next great Mexican fighter.
One blessed with the royal blood line and the other with endless skill Chavez Jr and "Canelo" have created loyal fanbases and a stir about who is the prince, to Juan Manuel Marquez's thrown as the King of Mexican fighting.
Both young and champions, the verbal jabs have already been thrown by Chavez Jr.
Claiming the WBC middleweight title in June, Julio Chavez Jr. is still seeking to claim his own name as many have gleamed him as only a cash cow for Bob Arum's Top Rank Promotions, banking off the historic last name, in void of great talent or potential.
Adding fuel to the fire while much of Mexico has supported Chavez Jr., to the tune of 1.5 million viewers to his last fight, it has embraced the freckled shoulders of the 21-year-old Alvarez.
Half boxer, half movie star, with peculiar looks and dynamite power "Canelo" Alvarez has been touted as the heir to the thrown of great Mexican fighters, including Erik Morales and Chavez's own father Julio Cesar Chavez Sr.
Clearly not enjoying this rise to stardom together, as Chavez darted out when speaking about a potential Alvarez fight, "First (Alvarez) must earn respect, and then we can talk," the angst and build up to this fight would be truly amazing.
Is Chavez Jr. more than a name?
Can "Canelo" Alvarez continue his rapid ascent up the boxing hierarchy?
Who is truly the new King of Mexico?
Can we just get this fight started already?
6. Andre Berto vs. Devon Alexander
Both coming off lackluster performances Andre Berto (27-1, 21 KO's) and Devon Alexander (22-1, 13 KO's) have the oppurtunty for a big bounce back win against each other.
Berto, suffering the first defeat of his career in a knockout to Victor Ortiz, has missed two opturnities for his first mega-fight in the past couple years.
Set to face Shane Mosley in 2010, Berto withdrew from the fight due to the earthquakes in his native Haiti and apparently was set to great Floyd Mayweather back to the sport, before he was upset by Ortiz.
Alexander had his perfect record ruined when he met up with fellow undefeated fighter, Timothy Bradley in a Technical Decision loss. Alexander followed that up with a controversial win against Lucas Matthysse.
The chance is there for either Berto or Alexander to take the reigns and get their career righted.
Desperate fighters generally make for great fights.
5. Yuriorkis Gamboa vs. Juan Manuel Lopez
Yea, yea, I know Juan Manuel Lopez (30-1, 27 KO's) was knocked out in his last fight, and you think that means this fight is down the drain.
Well hold on just a second, and don't pronounce Lopez or this potential showdown with Yuriorkis Gamboa (20-0, 16 KO's) dead just yet.
Prior to Lopez's stunning knockout loss to Orlando Salido, Gamboa vs. Lopez was viewed as the most enticing fight, this side of Pacquiao-Mayweather land, that could be made.
Attempting to build up the increasing fanfare, Bob Arum, promoter for both Lopez and Gamboa, opted to hold off the fight for a later date.
Assuming Lopez wins, in a suitable fashion, in his rematch with Salido expect Arum to cease his waiting and match his two cash cows against each other in a fight, that if nothing else, will be full of punches and fireworks.
A potential Gamboa vs. Lopez fight may not be salivated over as it once was but still features two very skilled fighters who never withhold the action.
4. Winner of the Super Six vs Lucian Bute
Whoever is the eventual champion of the Super Six World Boxing Classic won't be done just yet clearing out the 168-pound division.
Waiting for either former Olympic Gold Medalist Andre Ward (24-0, 13 KO's) or iron man Carl Froch (28-1, 20 KO's) at the end of this long, grueling tunnel may be the stiffest competition yet, in the form of undefeated Lucian Bute (29-0, 24 KO's).
Ward and Froch, who are set to meet Oct. 29th at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City to conclude the Super Six Classic, have each won over fans with their impressive performances throughout the competition.
In the midst of one the most grueling stretches in boxing, Froch has won five of his last six fights, facing the likes of Jean Pascal, Jermain Taylor, Andre Dirrell, Mikell Kessler, Arthur Abraham and Glenn Johnson, with his only loss coming in a tightly contested decision to Kessler last year.
During the same stretch that has earned Carl Froch massive respet, Andre Ward has begun to live up to the hype of an Olympic Gold medalist.
Ward has seem to risen to the top of the heap, dominating his opponents in wins over Kessler, Allan Green, Sakio Bika and Abraham.
A potential fight of either Ward or Froch vs. Bute would an extremely intriguing matchup.
In Ward vs. Bute you have two slick, fast punchers with talent out of this world and Ward to draw in the American public.
A Bute. vs Froch battle would be the classic boxer vs. stalker affair as Froch would look to chase down Bute in a fight that would assure of action.
Either way these are two can't miss bouts.
3. Sergio Martinez vs. Victor Ortiz
When I read the announcement of Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Victor Ortiz (29-2, 22 KO's) fight, I was disappointed but not for the same reason many of you were.
The announcement of the Mayweather fight with Ortiz put on hold an action fight that could actually live up to the hype in a Sergio Martinez (47-2, 26 KO's) Victor Ortiz bout.
Both southpaws with speed, power and a penchant to make great fights, a potential Martinez-Ortiz deal would represent one of the few occasions where an anticipated fight could actually exceed expectations.
While not receiving the national media attention that both Manny Pacquiao and Mayweather garner, Sergio Martinez has established himself as a rival to the pound-for-pound throne.
But unless an unlikely super-fight can somehow be negotiated with either pound for pound king, Martinez may look to Ortiz for what should be a fan friendly event.
If Victor Ortiz is able to pull the upset and defeat Floyd Mayweather, then this fight becomes of meteoric porportions, but even if Ortiz finishes short but represents himself well against "Money," then Ortiz would present a young yet proven, big-named opponent for Martinez.
2. Wladimir Klitschko vs Vitali Klitschko
Scott Heavey/Getty Images
We can all dream, right?
With no other legitimate challengers in the heavyweight division the only interesting fight that can be made would be a battle of the brothers, in the ultimate family feud between Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko.
Although it will likely never happen, I wrote a piece (following the Wladimir-Haye fight) stating my reasons why this fight should and is morally OK to happen.
I'm an only child, so maybe I just don't understand.
1. Manny Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather Jr.
This just in...
Another boxing countdown list ending in the fight to end all fights, Pacquiao-Mayweather.
Nothing can be said about this fight that hasn't been said.
All I'll say is that both of these fighters need this fight. Whatever the reasons if this fight doesn't happen, both of these men will have an invisible but loud asterisk attached to their resume.