Always leave them wanting more. In 2009, it seems like the boxing gods have taken the advice of the one and only Walt Disney (I think it was Walt Disney who said that). The end of the year seems like it could go out with a bang, and, as the quote says, leave us wanting more. (Well, I always want more, but I'm a bit of a boxing extremist.)
I feel being a big boxing fan comes with quite a heavy burden to carry. The difference between Red Sox fans or Bruins fans and a boxing fan is that I have to convince people my beloved sport is not dead. Instead of saying my team’s better than your team, "Yankees suck," or talking about the bullpen needing more depth, I have to inform/convince people my wonderful sport, as a whole, is alive and kicking.
I am like a cheerleader or a salesman for my sport, and I need to let you know there are some solid fights out there. So I am here as a good boxing fan and cheerleader of fistic fury to let you know about some great matchups that are going to close out 2009.
Sept. 19, HBO Pay-Per-View
Floyd Mayweather Jr. (39-0,25 KO) vs. Juan Manuel Marquez(50-4, 37 KO)
In a perfect world, the winner of this fight would fight the winner of the Miguel Cotto-Manny Pacquiao fight. (I may be a fan, but even I know that boxing is not perfect, so keep your fingers crossed.) At first glance, I thought this was just a way to hype up a future Mayweather-Pacquiao showdown. The closer we get, the more interested I am in this fight. Not only are they two of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet, but they're also two of the slickest.
People always refer to fights as a chess match. If that is true, this is the ultimate chess match. Both fighters are fast, smart, and can adjust as the fight goes on. Also, there is quite a bit on the line; as I stated before, the winner could be in for a huge payday against the winner of Cotto-Pacquiao. Heck, I'd love to see the losers fight!
Last but not least, the undercards for this bout are shaping up as well: A rematch between Chris John and Rocky Juarez, Zab Judah versus Antonio Diaz, and all-action brawler Michael Katsidis against Vincente Escobedo. For once, a pay-per-view may be worth the money.
Super Middleweight Tournament — Oct. 17, Showtime
Andre Dirrell (18-0, 13 KO) vs. Carl Froch (25-0, 20 KO)
It's Showtime's first official telecast with fighters from the tournament facing off against each other. Eventually, all the included combatants will meet in the ring, with not one of the potential matchups being boring. The first fight is a battle of the undefeated — Andre Dirrell, the former 2004 Olympic bronze medalist, takes on the heavy-handed, straight-ahead Carl Froch. On paper, it looks as if Dirrell has all the tools to dispose of the British champ, but Dirrell has never faced anyone even close to the caliber of Froch. On paper, it looked like Jermain Taylor had the tools to dispose of Froch, too. We know that didn't happen.
Arthur Abraham (30-0, 24 KO) vs. Jermain Taylor (28-3, 17 KO)
The second of fight of the tourney is one I thought I might have seen at middleweight (160 pounds) a few years ago. Taylor lost his last fight to Froch via a 12-round TKO, but he was beating Froch for most of the fight and may have won had he not faded down the stretch. Unfortunately for Taylor, Abraham is loosely similar to Froch — he has heavy hands, rarely stops coming forward and has a solid chin. (I think loosely similar is an oxymoron, but you get it the point.) Unfortunately for Abraham, Taylor is a very desperate man, which is a very scary thing in a tournament like this. No matter what, these fights look great. You can find more information on the tournament here.
Nov. 7, HBO
Chad Dawson (28-0, 17 KO) vs. Glen Johnson(49-12, 33 KO) II
Back in January, I posted a blog that stated the fights I would like to see in 2009. This was one of them. Dawson walked away with a unanimous decision over Johnson in 2008, but many fans and critics alike have been vocal about their feelings that Johnson took the fight. I thought Dawson did just enough to win, but Johnson did enough to get a rematch. It's finally here, and it's not a minute too soon. This could be Johnson's last chance to be at the top, so expect him to throw everything but the kitchen sink at Dawson — you know, the usual way he fights.
Nov. 14, HBO PPV
Manny Pacquiao (49-3, 37 KO) vs. Miguel Cotto(34-1, 27 KO)
I wrote about this fight not too long ago, so I won't beat you over the head with it. This has "Fight of the Year" written all over it. Over the past few years, Cotto and Pacquiao have repeatedly given fans what they want: solid, entertaining fights. This is just one more quality fight for both guys. Let's hope we get a few decent fights on the undercard.
Nov. 28, HBO
Lucian Bute (24-0, 19 KO) vs. Librado Andrade (28-2, 21 KO) II
This is a rematch of their exciting but controversial fight in October 2008. Bute escaped with a unanimous decision after either some hometown cooking or just awful refereeing. Bute was out on his feet in the 12th round when the ref took his sweet time getting to the count. Early in the fight, Bute pulled out to a pretty good lead, but Andrade broke him down as the fight went on. The rematch will be interesting. Will Bute pace himself? Will Andrade start faster? Will memories of the first fight haunt Bute? I can't wait to find out.
I'm sure you notice I left a certain heavyweight fight off the list. It's on purpose. No matter how good a heavyweight fight has looked over the past few years, it’s always been a letdown. Could this one be different? Sure, but I'm not going to waste my time talking about it until the division, as a whole, rebounds.
If that isn't enough for you, HBO has also started up the Emmy-winning, 24/7 series again for the Mayweather-Marquez fight, and I would hope they would do another for the Pacquiao-Cotto fight as well. So even though the fall is going to be jam-packed with football, hockey and MLB playoffs, don't forget about the sweet science. What's the worst that could happen?
You could come back for more.