If Pacquiao vs. Marquez Didn't Live Up to the Hype, Maybe These 10 Fights Will
After Saturday's bout between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, many boxing fans were left asking themselves whether or not the right man had won.
After 12 rounds, Pacquiao walked away with a majority-decision win and his second victory over his Mexican rival, who has yet to get a win in three fights against the Filipino superstar.
Without looking back on the controversial decision, there are many good things to look forward to, and one of them is the Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito rematch that is set to go down on HBO pay-per-view on Dec. 3.
That fight and many others will make the final two months of boxing the best time of the year.
No. 10: Tavoris Cloud vs. Zsolt Erdei
In a battle of unbeaten light heavyweights, IBF champion Tavoris Cloud (23-0, 19 KO) will take his biggest step yet in facing Zsolt Erdei (33-0, 18 KO) on a Showtime broadcast on Dec. 31.
Cloud is among the best in the division, and his victories over Glen Johnson, Clinton Woods, Yusaf Mack and Julio Cesar Gonzalez have placed him among the best potential challengers for the No. 1 light heavyweight.
Erdei is a master boxer, and his 15 decision victories have shown he can compete with the best round after round and pull out the victory in the end. His last 15 opponents have a combined 387-43 record.
No. 9: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Peter Manfredo Jr.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (43-0-1, 30 KO) will defend his WBC middleweight title on Nov. 19 against another junior in Peter Manfredo Jr. (37-6, 20 KO), who is coming off six wins in a row, including those over Matt Vanda and Daniel Edouard.
Chavez took a step up earlier this year when he faced the unbeaten Sebastian Zbik, who came into the bout with a 30-0 record.
Chavez won a majority decision and walked away with his newly won WBC title.
Will this be the showcase fight that Chavez is looking for or will it be another case of an undefeated fighter losing their "0" in 2011?
No. 8: Saul Alvarez vs. Kermit Cintron
On the other side of Chavez Jr. is Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (38-0-1, 28 KO), who is the current WBC light middleweight champion and one of the fastest rising stars in the sport.
He will take on Kermit Cintron (33-4-1, 28 KO), and although many don't see a potential challenge for Alvarez, Cintron is an opponent the 21-year-old can use to establish himself as one of the sport's most exciting fighters.
This may be the set-up for a mega-fight between Alvarez and Chavez Jr.
No. 7: Wladimir Klitschko vs. Jean-Marc Mormeck
The Klitschko bros. own all of the heavyweight titles, and Wladimir Klitschko (56-3, 49 KO) will put all four of his on the line against Jean Marc Mormeck (36-4, 22 KO) on Dec. 10.
Mormeck's last loss came against Haye, whom Klitschko beat in his last fight, but he has won three fights since, including those against Fres Oquendo, Vinny Maddalone and Timur Ibragimov.
Klitschko has to make up for his snoozer of a fight versus Haye, and this could be a good showcase fight for him.
No. 6: Abner Mares vs. Joseph Agbeko II
IBF bantamweight champion Abner Mares (22-0-1, 13 KO) beat Joseph Agbeko (28-3, 22 KO) the first time they fought in August, but the bout was over-shadowed with controversy due to referee Russell Mora's actions during the bout.
Even though Mares' punches were continually going beneath the belt-line of his opponent, Mora didn't deduct any points and even counted a low-blow knockdown as a legitimate knockdown.
Mares walked away with the majority-decision victory, and had another ref been in charge for the bout, he may have left with a disqualification loss.
This rematch gives him the chance to redeem himself and get a convincing win.
No. 5: Brandon Rios vs. John Murray
The Cotto-Margarito undercard is one of the best in recent memory, and it starts with a lightweight title bout between WBA champion Brandon Rios (28-0-1, 21 KO) and John Murray (31-1, 18 KO).
Rios is one of the sport's most exciting boxers, and his knockout wins over Urbano Antillon and Miguel Acosta in 2011 contained several round of the year candidates.
Of Rios' last 10 opponents, none have made it the distance.
No. 4: Amir Khan vs. Lamont Peterson
WBA and IBF light welterweight champion Amir Khan (26-1, 18 KO) will defend his titles against one of his toughest challengers in Lamont Peterson (29-1-1, 15 KO) on HBO, Dec. 10.
Peterson's only loss was to Timothy Bradley, and his draw came against Victor Ortiz. Among his best qualities are his heart and determination. He got off the canvas four times against Bradley and Ortiz to make it the distance with both.
Khan is coming into the fight after defeating Zab Judah in July. His other wins include those versus Marcos Maidana, Paul Malignaggi, Paul McCloskey and Andriy Kotelnik.
No. 3: Pawel Wolak vs. Delvin Rodriguez II
Another undercard bout on the Margarito-Cotto pay-per-view event is one between Pawel Wolak (29-1-1, 19 KO) and Delvin Rodriguez (25-5-3, 14 KO).
They first fought earlier this year on a Friday Night Fights broadcast and put on one of 2011's best fights. After 10 rounds, the bout was ruled a draw, but Wolak's eye told the story of what he had to go through to make it the distance.
Title or no title, these are the types of fights that boxing fans should be looking forward to.
No. 2: Andre Ward vs. Carl Froch
Super middleweight champions Andre Ward (24-0, 13 KO) and Carl Froch (28-1, 20 KO) will put a stamp on the Showtime Super Six Tournament, and it all goes down on Showtime on Dec. 17.
Both have battled the best of the best for the past two years, and Ward's victories over Arthur Abraham, Mikkel Kessler and Allan Green have led him to this point.
For Froch, he had to deal with a loss against Kessler, but he does hold wins over Glen Johnson, Abraham, Andre Dirrell and Jermain Taylor.
Both of these boxers are making their way into the top 10 pound-for-pound, and this will be a defining point in both of their careers.
No. 1: Miguel Cotto vs. Antonio Margarito II
The last pay-per-view event of the year will feature a light middleweight bout between Miguel Cotto (36-2, 29 KO) and Antonio Margarito (38-7, 27 KO), and it is guaranteed to deliver one of the best fights of the year.
In 2008, Cotto received the first blemish on his record against Margarito in the form of an 11th round TKO, and he is determined to get redemption for the brutality placed upon him in that bout.
Margarito hasn't fought much since that fight, but losses versus Shane Mosley and Manny Pacquiao have left him battered and bruised. A year-long suspension for illegal hand wraps in the Mosley bout have led many to believe he cheated in the first Cotto fight.
Illegal wraps or not, Cotto believes he can beat Margarito any way he wants, and all the questions will be answered come fight night.