Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather and 10 Matches That Need to Be Made
The more Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. is talked about, it seems like it is even further and further away from happening.
For every fight fan, the demand to see the best fight the best is what they want, and it's not as hard to make happen as it seems.
There are a lot of superstars making their way through the rankings in their respective divisions, and many of them have yet to face the ones who are on a similar path.
The next year or two should feature many of the biggest bouts in years in each division, and these are the matchups that everyone will hope take place.
No. 10: Tavoris Cloud vs. Winner of Bernard Hopkins/Chad Dawson
Bernard Hopkins (52-5-2, 32 KO) made history when he defeated Jean Pascal earlier this year. He became the oldest boxer to ever win a major world title at the age of 46.
The light-heavyweight division isn't the glamor division of boxing, and there aren't many popular fighters out of the top five. The ones that are there are certainly worth wanting to see fight Hopkins, and this includes IBF light heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud (23-0, 19 KO).
Hopkins will have to make it through Chad Dawson (30-1, 17 KO) first, and that matchup has all the makings of being a close bout that calls for a rematch.
If a clear winner does emerge, Cloud needs to get in there and put his undefeated record on the line against them.
No. 9: Sergio Martinez vs. Felix Sturm
If former WBC and WBO middleweight champion Sergio Martinez (48-2-2, 27 KO) has no intentions of moving up to the star-studded super middleweight division, he will need to take on the best of the rest in the middleweight division, including WBA middleweight champion Felix Sturm (36-2-1, 15 KO).
Sturm has gone undefeated since 2006, including beating 11 opponents with a combined record of 386-20.
Sturm's combination of speed and technical ability makes him one of the more dangerous opponents for Martinez, who had a tougher than expected bout with Darren Barker in his last fight.
Martinez is a leading pound-for-pound fighter and a win over Sturm could solidify that position even more.
No. 8: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Saul Alvarez
An interesting dynamic is taking place in the middleweight division and two Mexican superstars are on the verge of facing one another.
WBC light middleweight champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (38-0-1, 28 KO) is one of boxing's youngest stars, and his undefeated record really showcases what the hype is all about. Since 2010, the 21-year-old has fought eight times, including stoppage victories over six of those opponents.
On the other side is another young and undefeated boxer in Chavez Jr. (43-0-1, 30 KO), who is the current WBC middleweight champion and son of the Hall of Famer boxer Julio Cesar Chavez.
Both are scheduled to face different opposition later this year, but wins for each of them can only bring them closer to this potential superfight.
No. 7: Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Robert Guerrero
Mexican star Juan Manuel Marquez (53-5-1, 39 KO) may learn another tough lesson in moving up in weight when he takes on Manny Pacquiao in Nov.
If he comes up short in that bout, he will always have a home in the lightweight division for however long he wants to stay in the ring. At 38, he might not have many fights left.
One of them could come against WBA and WBO lightweight champion Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero (29-1-1, 18 KO).
Guerrero has had injuries that have kept him out of the ring for most of 2011, but he has gone unbeaten in six years with some very impressive victories. The only thing he lacks is that big-name opponent.
No. 6: Yuriorkis Gamboa vs. Chris John
After Juan Manuel Lopez was knocked out earlier this year, boxing lost a potential featherweight superfight between him and Yuriorkis Gamboa (21-0, 16 KO).
Fans can still settle for a bout between two undefeated boxers if Gamboa takes on Indonesian boxer Chris John (45-0-2, 22 KO).
John has gone undefeated for over 13 years and is one of the leading champions in the division. The only one that sits in front of him is Gamboa, who is a former Olympic Gold medalist.
This bout could bring out the standout performance that both need to throw themselves into the pound-for-pound discussion.
No. 5: Nonito Donaire vs. Winner of Abner Mares/Joseph Agbeko
Filipino boxer and WBC, WBO bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire (26-1, 18 KO) left his mark in 2011 when he knocked out Fernando Montiel in the second round.
That victory thrust the 28-year-old into the pound-for-pound rankings, but he hasn't fought since. That will change when he faces undefeated boxer Omar Narvaez later this month.
Donaire appears to be waiting for the winner of the Showtime Bantamweight Tournament, which has been going on since last year.
The two finalists, Abner Mares and Joseph Agbeko, fought earlier this year but in a very controversial bout that called for a rematch. It is scheduled to go down in December.
After everything is settled, a bout between Donaire and the winner of that fight should happen to determine the top bantamweight in the world.
No. 4: Timothy Bradley vs. Amir Khan
Light welterweight champions Amir Khan (26-1, 18 KO) and Timothy Bradley (27-0, 11 KO) have been on similar paths throughout their young careers.
In a bout that should have crossed both boxers' paths already, they should have fought each other in the summer. Instead, Bradley will fight Joel Casamayor in November, while Khan will fight Lamont Peterson in December. Bradley holds a victory over Peterson.
If everything works out for them, they should meet in 2012. The demand for the fight is high. All they have to do is sign their names on the dotted line.
No. 3: Humberto Soto vs. Brandon Rios
Lightweight champions Brandon Rios (28-0-1, 21 KO) and Humberto Soto (56-7-2, 33 KO) will eventually fight one another, and it might go down as the fight of the year whenever it happens.
Both are all-action boxers who have been involved in some of the more exciting brawls in recent memory. Rios recently knocked out Urbano Antillon in a third-round shootout. Soto defeated Antillon by decision in one of 2010's best fights.
If they continue to find success, an eventual meeting between the two could be one of best and most meaningful fights of both of their careers.
No. 2: Lucian Bute vs. Winner of Andre Ward/Carl Froch
IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute (29-0, 24 KO) is the best boxer to not be included in the Showtime Super Six World Boxing Classic, but he has been leaving his mark outside of the grand prix by knocking out his last six opponents.
When Carl Froch (28-1, 20 KO) takes on Andre Ward (24-0, 13 KO) in December, it will be one of the most anticipated matches of the year.
Both have been working towards the Super Six finals for more than two years and it all comes down to that one night.
Lucian Bute will have to get through journeyman Glen Johnson in November, but a victory could set him up to face the winner of the Ward/Froch bout.
No. 1: Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
It might seem like a bout between Manny Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KO) and Floyd Mayweather Jr. (42-0, 26 KO) is too good to be true, but it still has time to happen.
As long as it doesn't happen it will only grow in terms of importance and anticipation. That can end up being an even bigger letdown if it doesn't happen.
The hope is Pacquiao agrees to Mayweather's strict drug testing demands, and that that's the only thing that is holding it back from coming to fruition.
When it does, fight fans can expect it to go down as one of the biggest boxing matches in a long, long time.