5 Super-Fights Waiting To Be Made
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In boxing, it's hard to anticipate future matchups because anything can happen in the ring to derail even the best-laid plans of mice and Bob Arum.
Yuriorkis Gamboa vs. Juan Manuel Lopez was one of the "great fights" to be made in the sport until JuanMa suffered his first defeat to Orlando Salido in April.
That's not the most awful thing in the world. Salido/Lopez was a terrific, action-packed thriller and the rematch will be one of the most anticipated fights the rest of the year. But Gamboa/Lopez isn't happening anytime soon.
Here are five fights that might end up happening, might get derailed or might never get considered at all. But if the stars do align, you can expect action and class from the following five potential scorchers.
5) BRANDON RIOS vs. ROBERT GUERRERO
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Good guy vs. bad guy. Boxer vs. brawler. Southpaw vs. orthodox. Two of the best young talents in the sport, both American.
Brandon Rios and Robert Guerrero seem destined to meet one of these days. Guerrero boasts speed, athleticism, power and reach. Rios packs a wallop and fights with a ferocious tenacity. Their courage is proven.
This is one of those fights that will bring out the best in both fighters. Two genuine tough guys with comparable and contrasting skills willing to trade in the middle of the ring until one man can't take it anymore.
I would also love to see their previous two victims duke it out, Urbano Antillon and Michael Katsidis. Forget "Action Heroes", just call that one "War" and make it happen.
4) MIGUEL COTTO vs. SAUL ALVAREZ
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Miguel Cotto has one of the biggest names in the sport. Saul "Canelo" Alvarez is on his way there.
Another fight with all sorts of interesting angles: Puerto Rico vs. Mexico, up-and-comer vs. veteran, a potential lineal championship at stake at 154 (currently No. 1 and No. 3), two boxer-punchers with power.
This fight could have been made as soon as this fall, but Cotto, of course, has unfinished business with Antonio Margarito and the TR-GB fued has just recently begun to thaw.
Alvarez was flawless in dismantling the undersized Matthew Hatton and the outclassed Ryan Rhodes. He's made his presence known in one of the deepest divisions in the sport. I would have preferred to see him take on K-9 Bundrage or Sergei Dzinzurik instead of Alfonso Gomez, grab another belt then call out Cotto for a unification in the spring (assuming of course that Cotto does take care of business against his old nemesis in December).
Either way, if both men continue winning, there's nothing from stopping this latest chapter in the Mex-PR rivalry from happening in 2012. This could be the most lucrative fight in the sport outside of one involving Pacquiao or Mayweather.
3) SERGIO MARTINEZ vs. ANDRE WARD
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This fight needs several chips to fall into place to make it happen, but man would I get fired up for this one! Martinez needs no introduction.
The recognized middleweight champion of the world has been crucifying his challengers of late. Martinez likes to lean in and goad his opponents, exposing his chin. He's quick enough to pull back, herky-jerky and fire off 1-2-3 combinations, taunting his guys to try to catch him.
He is by no means invulnerable, but he often makes it look like it. He has been so dominant, in fact, that it's reached the point where there aren't even any credible opponents in the division for him to fight.
So logically, the next step is to look up. Obviously, 168 lbs has massive unfinished business with the Super Six final yet to play out and many calling for Lucian Bute to get a shot at the winner.
I don't rule out Carl Froch beating Ward, and I wouldn't rule out Kelly Pavlik giving Bute a tough fight if that comes off as reported. But without making things too complicated, in my opinion, Andre Ward is the class of the division, and I think he keeps rolling no matter who they put in front of him.
Martinez is only an average-sized middleweight at best. He fought most of his career at 154 or lower. Ward has a definite size advantage which is a big edge for a guy who is very comfortable boxing on the outside. If the fight ever happens, it would likely be at a catch-weight. At 165, sounds like a good number to me.
Martinez has dreams of Mayweather and Pacquiao. Because he is so good, is physically much bigger than both and has no cache in terms of pay-per-view marketability; compared to them, those dreams are probably Quixotic at best.
We all love plodding brawlers who stand and trade in the noble tradition of Gatti and Ward. But there's nothing like watching two amazing athletes with fighter's mentalities going at it in the ring.
Two top 10 pound-for-pound guys. The undisputed middleweight champ against the undisputed super middleweight champ.
2) NONITO DONAIRE vs. YURIORKIS GAMBOA
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The "Filipino Flash" obliterated the man perceived to be his biggest rival at 118 lbs, Fernando Montiel.
Sure, he could wait for the Agbeko-Mares winner and look to unify more Bantamweight titles. And there's some potentially interesting fights at 122.
But the only fighter around Donaire's weight class who provides similar electricity and dazzling athletic ability is Yuriorkis Gamboa, universally regarded as the best fighter at 126 lbs.
Nonito can fight comfortably at featherweight, I have no doubt about that. He has the frame of a lightweight. He may need a few fights to get used to the bigger competition, but once he acclimates, this could be a potential pound-for-pound showdown of two of the most visibly talented fighters in the world.
1) FLOYD MAYWEATHER vs. MANNY PACQUIAO
What should I pick as number one?
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I had to include it. Only because some of the other fights I was thinking of didn't quite have the mega-implications of the other ones.
But I refuse to write another sordid analysis of why this mythical bout needs to happen because if that's not painfully obvious to everyone reading this, you might wanna follow another sport.
Instead, here's some other potential fights I'd like to see someday.
Lucas Matthysse vs. Marcos Maidana
Tim Bradley vs. Amir Khan
-Biggest fight that could be made at 140 lbs and could have easily cracked my list, but I'm already sick of hearing about it
Tavoris Cloud vs. Carl Froch
-Styles would mesh for a bloody affair
Antonio Margarito vs. Someone with loaded gloves
-Just because :)