Pacquiao vs. Marquez and the Top 10 Can't-Miss Fights in November
Will November be the month that revives HBO pay-per-view boxing in 2011?
After two months of unusual and bizarre endings to pay-per-view main events, this is one of many questions surrounding the upcoming superbout between pound-for-pound leader Manny Pacquiao and Mexican rival Juan Manuel Márquez.
Pacquiao has yet to get a decisive victory over Márquez, who he knocked down four times over 24 rounds but has only managed to pick up a draw and a split-decision victory against.
They will have a third bout on Nov. 12, and it's anticipated to go down as one of the best fights of the year. If their first two fights were of any indication, it's hard to think of why not.
These are the top 10 can't-miss fights in November.
10. Tyson Fury vs. Neven Pajkic (Nov. 12)
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After an impressive victory over Dereck Chisora in July, heavyweight prospect Tyson Fury (16-0, 11 KO) quickly returned to the ring two months later to knock out Nicolai Firtha.
He will be in action again on Nov. 12, when he faces Neven Pajkic (16-0, 5 KO) at Event City in the U.K.
In the world of heavyweights, it doesn't take too much to gain attention as the "next big thing." Fury has done that, and with victories, title shots will soon follow.
9. Denis Lebedev vs. James Toney (Nov. 4)
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After delivering one of the most brutal knockouts of the year, Russia's Denis Lebedev (22-1, 17 KO) will face the always intriguing James Toney (73-6, 44 KO) on Nov. 4.
Toney has only fought three times since 2009, and one of those fights came in the UFC. He picked up a 10-round decision over Damon Reed in February.
Lebedev recently returned from his first career loss to Marco Huck, when he knocked out Roy Jones, Jr. in May.
This will be for the interim WBA light heavyweight title.
8. Julio César Chávez, Jr. vs. Peter Manfredo, Jr. (Nov. 19)
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Julio César Chávez, Jr. (43-0, 30 KO) will defend his WBC middleweight title for the first time when he takes on Peter Manfredo, Jr. (37-6, 20 KO) on HBO, Nov. 19.
After a close and controversial win over Sebastian Zbik in June, Chávez gets a stern test in Manfredo, who is currently riding a six-fight win streak.
Many are hoping for Chávez to meet and overcome a challenge that helps him break away from his Hall-of-Fame father's reputation. This could be the fight in which he does just that.
7. George Groves vs. Paul Smith (Nov. 5)
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Super middleweight George Groves (13-0, 10 KO) recently picked up the biggest win of his career, when he stopped trash-talking rival James DeGale with a majority decision win in May.
That victory opened up a lot of fans' eyes as to what kind of potential the 23-year-old has moving forward, and it will be put to the test once again when he faces Paul Smith (31-2, 17 KO) at Wembley Arena on Nov. 5.
Smith had suffered a recent defeat to DeGale but rebounded with two first-round knockouts.
6. Saul "Canelo" Alvarez vs. Kermit Cintron (Nov. 26)
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WBC light middleweight champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (38-0, 28 KO) continues his ascension to the top of boxing's best when he faces former welterweight champion Kermit Cintron (33-4-1, 28 KO) on Nov. 26.
The HBO bout will be Alvarez's fourth appearance in the ring in 2011. His victories include those over Alfonso Gomez, Ryan Rhodes, Matthew Hatton, Carlos Baldomir and Lovemore Ndou.
Cintron comes into the bout knowing this might be one of his final chances to fight for a major belt. He has gone 1-2 over the last two years, with his only victory coming over Antwone Smith.
5. Adrien Broner vs. Vicente Rodriguez (Nov. 26)
Super featherweight title holder Adrien Broner (21-0, 17 KO) made up for his lackluster performance against Daniel Ponce de Leon with a resounding first-round knockout victory over Jason Litzau in June.
In his third HBO appearance of the year, he will face Vicente Martin Rodriguez (34-2-1, 19 KO) for the vacant WBO super featherweight title.
In a division that is led by boxers like Yuriorkis Gamboa and Juan Manuel Lopez, the 22-year-old prospect could quickly be on his way to the very top, very soon.
4. Ricky Burns vs. Michael Katsidis (Nov. 5)
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Ricky Burns (32-2, 9 KO) and Michael Katsidis (28-4, 23 KO) will fight for the interim WBO lightweight title on Nov. 5, and both hope to give the U.K. crowd a fight to cheer about.
There is no reason why this fight shouldn't be exciting from the first bell to the last, and both have been Fight of the Year candidates throughout their careers.
Burns won the WBO super featherweight title when he beat Román Martinez last year. He defended that title four times before deciding to move up in weight.
Katsidis recently came back from two consecutive losses to knock out Michael Lozada in August.
3. Alfredo Angulo vs. James Kirkland (Nov. 5)
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Heavy-handed punchers Alfredo Angulo (20-1, 17 KO) and James Kirkland (29-1, 26 KO) might not be fighting for a title on Nov. 5, but who cares? This is one of the most exciting matchups of the year for all of the right reasons.
It's going to be nothing but fearsome action, and if it lasts 12 seconds or 12 rounds, it's going to be exciting. Neither of these two like to go to the scorecards, and their records prove it.
Every punch will be thrown with bad intentions, and that's what makes this fight one of the best left in the year.
2. Lucian Bute vs. Glen Johnson (Nov. 5)
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Romanian boxer and IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute (29-0, 24 KO) will defend his IBF Super Middleweight belt on Nov. 5 versus Glen Johnson (51-15-2, 35 KO).
Only the best of the best beat Johnson, and his record proves it. Over the past five years, only Carl Froch, Tavoris Cloud, Chad Dawson and Clinton Woods have been able to defeat him. Every other middle-of-the-pack opponent has been beaten by the 42-year-old.
Bute will defend in front of a hometown crowd in Quebec City, and he will look to get his seventh knockout victory in a row. Johnson has only been stopped once in 68 bouts.
1. Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Márquez (Nov. 12)
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Manny Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KO) and Juan Manuel Márquez (53-5-1, 39 KO) have a well-documented history fighting each other, and neither boxer has yet to claim a decisive victory over the other.
In their first bout from 2004, Pacquiao dropped Márquez three times in the first round before being out-techniqued in the remaining rounds, which led him to leaving with a split-draw.
In the 2008 rematch, Márquez found himself on the canvas again, but recovered and fought back to lose a split-decision.
Neither guy wants to let it go to the scorecards this time around, and that could produce one of the best moments of each boxer's career.
It might be the most defining moment of Pacquiao's career, but it is arguably his most important. Losing this one is like losing all three.