THREE MOUTH-WATERING FIGHTS LEFT IN 2015
By TOM WATT on July 28 2015
After all the build-up, excitement, drama, media back-and-forths, ‘will they/wont they?’ Questions and the general fanfare that accompanied the ‘Fight Of the Century’, the majority of fans, pundits and almost all of the casual fans walked away feeling they hadn’t got their money’s worth, particularly at a record-setting $99 Pay-Per-View price Stateside.
However….the Boxing gods have smiled upon us and gifted the second half the year with three mouth-watering clashes that should extinguish any lingering disappointment for both the purists and the casual fans. Not only do these fights represent ‘the best fighting the best’ but they also offer their own unique styles and selling points.
Cotto v Canelo
This clash has been bubbling away for a while now and since we reported on the 2nd of July (See here) the two camps have agreed on pretty much everything now including a catch-weight (155 lbs). The only thing left to decide is the venue with three stand-out options being available, the MGM in Vegas, the Thomas & Mack Centre (with The Wynn) in Vegas or Madison Square Garden in New York.
All three venues have their own selling points with the two Vegas venues offering guaranteed ticket buys and the added amenities of the hotel – as per Dan Rafael the MGM’s offer is reportedly $1m higher than The Thomas & Mack/Wynn bid. Madison Square Garden has been Cotto’s preferred venue throughout his career and he has routinely sold out but his team have said they will fight wherever it makes the most money.
Venue aside this fight seems locked on to happen in November and will see two of the Sport’s biggest names and most exciting fighters go head to head. As well as the age-old Mexican – Puerto-Rican rivalry that will be re-ignited with this clash, we will also see one of Boxing’s living legends in four weight World Champion and Future Hall-Of-Famer, Miguel Cotto, go up against one of the Sport’s hottest young stars in Mexico’s superstar, Canelo Alvarez who, having just turned 25 has already amassed an intimidating record of 45-1-1 with Shane Mosley, Austin Trout and Erislanday Lara.
Expect to see rivalry build between the Mexican and Puerto-Rican contingents as the fight draws closer, this is a fight that has been in the making for a long time but many thought would never happen, Cotto who is now nearing the end of his career has fought only once in the last 12 months (a KO win over Australia’s Daniel Geale) and has become well-known for his difficulty to deal with in negotiations (Sergio Martinez labelled Cotto a ‘Diva’ in the build up to their fight) – fortunately we have not had to wait five years for Cotto v Canelo to be made and in less than four months we will get to see these two warriors going at it. Whilst this fight may not eclipse Mayweather v Pacquiao’s numbers, it will likely be the biggest event in Boxing for at least the second half of 2015.
GGG v David Lemieux
Gennady Golovkin has been the revelation of 2015 as fans have flocked to watch his aggressive, fan-friendly style - with twenty straight knockouts it is easy to see why and coupled with Triple G’s polite mannerisms and apparent willingness to fight anybody, a cult figure has been born. Meanwhile back in Canada, David Lemieux has built an intimidating record of his own with 31 of his 34 wins coming by way of Knockout – so when Lemieux tweeted last week that ‘destructive forces would collide’ – he wasn’t joking! This fight will see the two heaviest punchers in the Middleweight Division go head to head.
The destructive pair have shared a couple of opponents and we can perhaps draw some comparisons there. Both Golovkin and Lemieux have victories over tough, Philadelphian Gabriel Rosado although Golovkin beat him at arguably a stronger point in his career in a bloody battle that left Rosado bleeding heavily until the eventual 7th round TKO. Since then Rosado has lost to Peter Quillin, Jermell Charlo and David Lemieux so it would be a fair assumption to say that the fighter Lemieux knocked out in the 10th round wasn’t quite as sharp as the one Golovkin beat in the 7th. Another shared opponent is rugged Mexican, Marco Antonio Rubio – Golovkin wiped the floor with Rubio when they met in October 2014 and many have since stated that the man that took the ring that night was a shadow of his former self and he was duely dispatched within two rounds by the ‘Kazakh Destroyer’. When Rubio faced off with Lemieux in 2011 at Lemieux’s home turf in Quebec, the Mexican was on a 10 fight win-streak and still considered to be one of the top operators in the Sport. Nevertheless, the differing ways in which the two dealt with the challenge of Rubio could offer some insight for comparison.
Golovkin’s promoter, Tom Loeffler said “Finally we were able to get somebody to agree to fight Gennady, somebody that had something to risk.
"Whenever there was a champion or somebody that had something to risk to fight Gennady, they would never get in the ring with him.
"The fans appreciate when a fighter has a lot of risk but steps up to the plate. That's what makes a compelling fight.
"It's a true middleweight championship, and that's what Gennady has always wanted.
"He has always wanted to show he's the best fighter in the world at 160 pounds. And then once he unifies the division, he can go somewhere else.
"But all this talk about moving up or down, it's always been his priority to unify the middleweight division."
Don’t expect to see much running in this fight as these two fan-favourites vie for the support of the Boxing masses, both men have been questioned for their lack of a ‘big name’ on their resume but when they meet each other on October 17th that will change for one man. Golovkin has to be viewed as a slight favourite and is the better-known to the casual fan but Lemieux has shown time and time again that he cannot be written off and this is his chance to truly announce himself to the World.
Rigondeaux v Lomachenko
IT appears that despite Boxing’s somewhat earned reputation for not pitting the best against the best, two of the Sports most technically gifted fighters in Cuba’s Guillermo Rigondeaux and Ukraine’s Vasyl Lomachenko seem set to lock horns later this year. According to reports earlier this month, a catch-weight of 124 lbs has been agreed in principle, with a re-hydration clause of 135 lbs insisted on by the smaller Cuban’s manager, Gary Hyde and agreed upon by Lomachenko’s team.
This fight will not only represent a fight tailor-made for the purists but would also bring together two double Olympic Gold Medalists together for the first time in a professional bout. Opinion within the Boxing fraternity is very high for both fighters and opinions are likely to be split as to how this one would end up, Lomachenko is an extraordinary fighter that can throw punches with volume and accuracy rarely seen – he also became World Champion after 3 professional bouts, although his steep rise to stardom came at the price of a loss to Orlando Salido. Rigondeaux on the other hand remains unbeaten as a pro after fifteen straight wins and ‘El Chacal’ has made his name as a master tactician and technician, impossible to pin down and often impossible to hit as we have become accustomed to seeing from Cuba’s finest exports over the years.
The two fights above may gain more PPV buys and more media attention but the fight between Rigondeaux and Lomachenko will be on that has Boxing purists drooling at the prospect of seeing the man Freddie Roach described as ‘The best defensive fighter I’ve ever seen” (Rigondeaux) against a man widely believed to be the greatest amateur of all time. Whenever you have two fighters facing off with 4 Olympic gold medals between them then you know that you’re in for a good fight but with two fighters with the abilities that these two share, then expect nothing short of spectacular.
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