Time for family, friends, presents, eggnog, Christmas music and the greatest holiday of all — Boxing Day.
I know that some countries celebrate this holiday differently than I do, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Someday everyone will come around and see that Boxing Day really should be about the sport of boxing. Football has Thanksgiving, basketball has Christmas and even hockey has New Year’s Day.
Why can’t boxing have Boxing Day? It makes so much more sense. The holiday already has the name.
In honor of this wonderful day, I have compiled a list of 10 fights I would like to see happen this coming year. I know there are a few missing, and I wanted to include Amir Khan versus Timothy Bradley, but Khan obviously has unfinished biz with Lamont Peterson. Please feel free to tell me if I missed any others or if you disagree. After all, what would Boxing Day be without a little verbal sparring?
1. Manny Pacquiao (54-3, 38 KO) versus Floyd Mayweather (42-0, 26 KO)
Hardcore boxing fans may not be salivating over this one the way they were before Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez III, but let’s face it, it should still happen. These are the two best fighters in the world, fighting in the same division and looking to put the icing on their legacy cakes. All they need to do is figure out how to make it happen, which is easier said than done I guess.
2. Miguel Cotto (37-2, 30 KO) versus Saul Alvarez (39-0-1, 29 KO)
Miguel Cotto looked like the fighter of old when he got his revenge against Antonio Margarito on Dec. 3. Saul Alvarez looked impressive when he dismantled Kermit Cintron a week prior. Alvarez is a rising star that has shown his potential, but not against “Class A” opposition yet. Cotto isn’t the man he was years ago, but has proved he can still trade with the best of them. He would be a major test for the young lad. If Alvarez were to win, he truly would be a star in the boxing world, and if he lost, it wouldn’t be too big a deal because Cotto is a formidable champion. Also, the boxing rivalry between Mexico and Puerto Rico always makes for a great build-up, passionate fans and fireworks in the ring.
3. Bernard Hopkins (52-5-2, 32KO) versus Glen Johnson (51-16-2, 35 KO) II
Most fans probably don’t even know that Bernard Hopkins has an 11th-round TKO victory over Glen Johnson. That’s because it happened back in 1997! That’s four years before Hopkins schooled Felix Trinidad, and seven years before Johnson KO’d Roy Jones Jr. Who thought these guys would still be around, much less still fighting at the level that they have been? Let them square off and see who the best pound-for-pound over-40 fighter is today.
4. James Kirkland (30-1, 27 KO) versus Alfredo Angulo (20-1, 17 KO) II
This fight was fireworks from the get-go. I don’t think either fighter planned on seeing the 12th round. These guys could fight 10 times, and I don’t think we’ll ever get a decision. I wouldn’t mind either of them facing Miguel Cotto, but why do that when James Kirkland and Alfredo Angulo already have such explosive chemistry?
5. Tomasz Adamek (44-2, 28KO) versus David Haye (25-2, 23KO)
OK, so both former cruiserweight champs have now found out, pretty emphatically, that they can’t match up against the Klitchkos. So let’s get these two together. They really are the best heavyweights in the division that aren’t tremendously oversized. It would be like how heavyweights used to be. And yes I know Haye is “retired,” but does anyone really believe that?
6. Lucian Bute (30-0, 24KO) versus Andre Ward (24-0, 13KO)
It may be a bit presumptuous of me to think that Andre Ward will be the winner of the Super Six tourney next week, but I don’t care. Even if Ward loses to Carl Froch in their fight, I like the matchup between Ward and Lucian Bute better. I would like to see how both Ward and Bute adjust to each other’s speed. Both are smart, fast, crafty boxers and both possess power. “Intriguing” is the word I would use to describe this matchup. Then Bute can meet Froch, and we’ll have seen all the best fight the best at 168. Everybody wins!
7. Marcos Maidana (31-2, 28 KO) versus Robert Guerrero (29-1-1, 18 KO)
This was a fight that I was really counting the days to. Robert Guerrero had a shoulder injury that derailed the fight, and I’m hoping that the powers to be can reschedule what could be an excellent fight. Does Guerrero have enough to hold off the hard-hitting Marcos Maidana? Does Maidana have enough boxing skill to keep up with the southpaw Guerrero? I sure would like to know.
8. Juan Manuel Lopez (31-1, 28 KO) versus Yuriorkis Gamboa (21-0, 16 KO)
This is a fight that needs to get done. It’s one of those fights that could get talked about forever, and then never materializes. That would be a travesty for fight fans. I don’t think I need to go into detail as to why this would be a great fight. I think fight fans know it probably wouldn’t go the distance.
9. Marcos Maidana (31-2, 28 KO) versus Brandon Rios (29-0-1, 22 KO)
I’m honestly not sure either guy could be in a bad fight. Both have heavy hands, are easily hit, and don’t seem to want to see the 12th round. Since Rios had such trouble making weight in his last fight, I would assume a move up is in his near future. This is a fight of the year candidate before they even step in the ring.
10. Nonito Donaire (27-1, 18KO) versus Featherweight Division
Donaire is one of the more exciting fighters in the game today. He’s fast, can hit like a sledgehammer, and wants to give fight fans their money’s worth every time he steps in the ring. His last fight on HBO was no indication of what he can do in the ring. Since he has dominated the super bantamweights, I think it’s time to invade the feathers. Gamboa, Lopez, and Orlando Salido would make for outstanding fights.