FIGHTS WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE THIS YEAR
By TOM WATT on 11th Feb 2015
Mayweather Vs Pacquiao
An obvious one, but one that had to be mentioned so we may as well get it done. The “will they? Won’t they?” pantomime has gone on for as long as anyone cares to remember and until last year most of us had written this off as one of the greatest fights that never happened, especially after Pacquiao was left unconscious by Marquez. However, a dominant win over a mis-matched Chris Algieri saw the Filipino’s stock rise once again and there has been a sense of renewed optimism around what would be the biggest fight of a generation. Things took an interesting twist last week when both were spotted courtside at a Miami Heat game and intensified even further when Mayweather posted a video of the pair together in his hotel room with Floyd stating ‘We’ve got to make this fight happen’
Until we see a signed contract or hear it from Mayweather himself though, don’t believe anything you see, particularly from Bob Arum. Time is certainly running out for a May 2nd clash so I would hope to see some movement soon. If it doesn’t though, there are other great fights out there both internationally and here in Australia - and we've had a look at some of those below
Khan Vs Cotto
Eighteen months ago the idea of this fight would have been laughed off by most people within the Boxing World, Khan with his reputation for having a glass chin and Cotto with his reputation for being a fierce warrior seemed like a total mismatch for the Bolton-born fighter. However, fast forward to the here and now and this fight could be a possibility – at a catch weight. Seemingly frustrated with chasing the Dragon tha is the Mayweatehr fight, Khan is looking for another big-name opponent to conquer and the Middleweight World Champion, Miguel Cotto is in his sights. Khan actually tweeted this weekend that he would take the Cotto fight ‘in a heartbeat’ at a catch-weight of 155lbs and with Cotto’s negotiations with Canelo breaking down he is in need of an opponent.
Where this fight breaks down is in the numbers, both Khan and Cotto would want to be the A-Side of this fight, Cotto is the defending champion and a notorious diva when it comes to negotiations whereas Khan brings with him a huge audience for the UK and Asia that would push huge PPV numbers. If the pair could come to an agreement on this then there may be hope. Also, Khan has only had 2 fights at Welterweight, a jump up to fight Cotto, even at a catch-wieght would be a big ask for King Khan and maybe one step too far at this moment although the chance to be the co-main event on the Mayweather Pacquiao card may be enough of a draw for the Bolton man to take that risk
Personally, I’d rather see the two fighting different opponents that they have already both dismissed in Kell Brook for Khan and Canelo for Cotto.
Khan Vs Brook
A domestic showdown that has been simmering nicely for a few years. Khan has always been a step ahead of Brook having been jettisoned into the limelight after his Olympic showing but now that the Sheffield-fighter has claimed a World Title following his decisive and impressive victory over ‘Showtime’ Shawn Porter last year in California, the tide is turning and this has lead some, including Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn to say that this should be a 50/50 purse split – “Khan brings the name, Kell brings the belt” Hearn said in an interview with IFL TV last week. The pair have had a few pops at each other over the years, Khan recently posted photos of himself at Wembley stadium on Twitter during Brook’s latest fight announcement (in an attempt to steal the limelight) and Brook for his part has called out ‘Queen Khan’ in many an interview and Social Media post.
Stylistically it’s a great match, 2 very quick and skillful fighters that would bring out the best in each other, Khan brings with him that lightning speed that made Devon Alexander look less than ordinary and Brook brings the timing and accuracy that nullified Porter’s seemingly relentless come-forward style that had seem him quickly rise become the division’s hottest fighter until Brook took him apart.
Will it happen? Only time will tell, both parties can’t stop talking about each other so I would expect to see this fight happening this year despite Khan claiming Brook isn't on his level. The only thing I can see getting in the way is Khan’s determination to get his superfight with either Mayweather or Pacquiao – he’s already missed out on one World Title shot by taking his place in the Mayweather lottery, will he make that same mistake again?
Golovkin Vs Cotto
This is a no-brainer, nobody in the sport of boxing wouldn’t want to see this fight – although if anybody doesn't I would imagine it would be Cotto and his team! I’m sure the reasons for not making this fight would be that the money isn’t right, GGG isn’t a big enough draw etc. but the brutal truth is that GGG is a dangerous man, probably the most dangerous man in the sport and a fight with him, at the moment is high-risk, low-reward.
However, Cotto would no doubt be given all of his demands to make the fight happen, something Team Canelo wasn’t willing to do. With Cotto billed as the A-side fighter and given the lion’s share of the purse, would he risk getting in there with the Kazakh Destroyer? It would be a fantastic match-up of two guys that are no strangers in going to war in the ring and the fans would definitely be clamouring for a chance to witness what could be the most brutal fight of 2015.
GGG has been asking for this fight for a long time and it seems as though Cotto has a decision to make, keep his Middleweight belt and fight Golovkin, or vacate and drop back down to his more natural weight to take a fight with perhaps Khan or Mayweather and let the real Middleweights battle it out. – Although Golovkin is fast running out of suitors.
Victor Ortiz Vs Brandon Rios
Love him or hate him, Victor Ortiz is an interesting guy – after giving Floyd Mayweather a very uncomfortable 4 rounds, he was knocked out by the P4P in controversial circumstances after not protecting himself after a break. Then Ortiz only lost another 2 fights against Joseseto Lopez and Luis Collazo and was written off by most fans, especially given his new acting career. However, an apparently revitalised Ortiz defeated a very average fighter in Manuel Perez on the Khan Alexander undercard and announced his intention of returning to the top and retaking a World Title.
Rios on the other hand has made a name for himself by never backing down from a fight, since 2011 ‘Bam Bam’ Rios has fought some of the toughest guys in the sport including Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manual Marquez, Diego Chaves, current WBA champion Richard Abril and Mike Alvarado (three times) – this tough list of opponents has put the Robert Garcia trained fighter in a great position for a strong 2015 – particularly after the demolition job he did on Mike Alvarado at the end of January.
A fight between these 2 would certainly draw the attention of the fans and would no doubt be an all-action affair. Given recent activity and performances I’d fully expect Rios to come through victorious although if Ortiz is able to replicate the kind of performance that saw him become a fans favourite then he may have a chance.
Lucas Browne Vs Dereck Chisora
Hard-hitting Aussie Lucas Browne has been very vocal in his desire to make some big fights in 2015, Those on his radar include Ustinov, Chagaev, Fury and the newly crowned WBC Champion, Deontay Wilder. Fury and Wilder seem to have their sights set on each-other should neither be able to get the Klitschko fight so it seems as though Browne may have to wait his turn for that pair of giants. A fight with ‘Del Boy’ Chisora though, may be a good one for both fighters.
Fresh off a resounding defeat to Tyson Fury at the tail end of 2014, Chisora is in need of a fight that would give him a chance to return to people’s minds and with the strong UK and Aussie fan-base Lucas brings with him – its an easy fight to make in the UK should Frank Warren and Ricky Hatton decide to make it happen. – It is unclear whether Chisora will fight on but if he does, this would surely be a great opportunity for the Londoner.
Browne on the other hand would relish the chance to get back in the ring in front of a UK crowd and despite his losses to Haye, Klitschko and Fury, Chisora is a still a big name in the Heavyweight division, particularly in the UK where the Aussie’s promoter, Ricky Hatton is based. I would fully expect Browne to beat Chisora if the 2 were to meet, he has too much power and has done well with fighter’s of Chisora’s build – this is the heavyweights though and everyone has a puncher’s chance. – A great fight if it happens and a definite ticket-seller.
Lucas Browne Vs Alex Leapai
If the Chisora, Fury and Ustinov fights do not materialise in the near future, then I wouldn’t be surprised to see Browne pit himself against some of Australia’s top heavyweights. Leapai has long been the standard bearer for weight category but defeats to Kilitschko and more recently, Malik Scott have seen the heavy-handed fighter drop down the rankings Still, an all-Aussie Heavyweight clash is bound to ignite the interest of fans and one would have to expect a knockout given the pair’s combined record of 43 Kos in 52 wins.
Daniel Geale Vs Billy Joe Saunders
Daniel Geale had an interesting 2014 – after defeating fellow compatriot, Garth Wood early in the year, Geale accepted the challenge of Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin for a showdown at Madison Square Gardens. As expected the ‘Kazakh Destroyer’ had too much power for Geale and after the longest opening round in recent history, Geale was eventually knocked out in the 3rd round. Not to be discouraged Geale got straight back into training and lined up a fight with friend and long-time sparring partner, Jarrod Fletcher who himself was fresh off a World Title defeat to Daniel Jacobs. The all-Aussie showdown did not disappoint and Geale looked back to his sparkling best, constantly moving and out-punching his opponent on the way to a clear and unanimous decision.
Billy Joe Saunders had a great year of his own, ending with the much anticipated and built-up clash with the polarising Chris Eubank Jr on the undercard of Tyson Fury Vs Chisora - although this fight was the Main Event as far as a lot of the fans were concerned. An amazing display of boxing saw Saunders take the win and earn himself a shot at And Lee’s WBO World Title. Saunders has confirmed he has accepted a payment reportedly around $100,000 from Al Haymon to step aside and allow Peter Quillin to fight Lee for that title. On top of that he has now been lined up to face Hassan N’Dam for the vacant IBF World Title.
Should this fight happen it would need to be later in the year one would expect given the commitment Billy Joe has to getting his World Title. However, should he be successful in that aim, Geale would see that as a perfect opportunity to get yet another World Title – something he discussed with me after his last fight with Fletcher. The fans aren’t demanding this fight at the moment but a win or 2 for both of them could see it tee’d up nicely for the end of the year.
Mundine Vs Canelo? Cotto? Geale? Lara?
Since his somewhat surprise win over Sergey Rabchenko, Anthony Mundine’s loyal fans have been clamouring for a big fight for ‘The Man’ with opponents such as Cotto and Canelo being mentioned by his promoters although both of those fights seem unlikely. Mundine was also invited to take part in the WBC Light-Middleweight ‘World Cup’ which will determine the mandatory challenger for the title currently held by Floyd Mayweather but declined.
This leaves Mundine in a tricky situation, time on Mundine's career needs a credible opponent for his next fight and the big names all seem to be taking other routes. The Mundine camp seemed confident of bringing Mexican Superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez over to Australia with the Aussie fighter holding a victory over Canelo’s older brother in the past – however, Alvarez has since taken a fight with heavy-hitter Chris Kirkland for May 2nd and is expected to jump up to 160 after that fight, having failed to make weight in his last 2 fights. Cotto is still a long shot but with rumours of him being a back-up for Mayweather and with UK Superstar Amir Khan calling him out, there are bigger fights available to the Peurto-Rican.
So the talent pool is quick running out, one fighter that will always be linked to Mundine is fellow Aussie, Daniel Geale – whilst not necessarily a big-seller in the States, it’s a huge domestic fight without doubt, when we caught up with Geale before his last fight he eluded to the fact tat it’s a fight he is asked about regularly. Neither fighter has ruled out making this Trilogy fight a possibility and with both coming off the back of good victories it may be a great time to see them back in the ring together, perhaps at a catch-weight. It’s a massive domestic fight if it happens and perhaps one of the better options for both guys at the present time.
Lara is another fighter desperate to land his next fight as nobody seems to be overly keen to step in the ring with the ‘American Dream’ and the argument in America is that he doesn’t have a big enough fan-base to headline a PPV card and is too high-risk, low-reward. However, if he was to take a fight with ‘The Man’ in Australia it would draw a huge crowd through the gates and on PPV so in theory it’s a fight that could be made easier than the other names from across the pond mentioned above. If the fight does happen I’d have to think Lara would be too slick and too good for Mundine but the former NRL legend has made a career of upsetting the odds and would certainly fancy his chances of doing just that.
Trent Broadhurst Vs Kerry Foley
An all Aussie fight that was meant to happen at the tail end of 2014 for the Australian title on the Daniel Geale Vs Jarrod Fletcher undercard when the pair were ranked 1st and 2nd respectively until Foley was forced to pull out with a recurring hand injury. Broadhurst instead ended up fighting Yousef Kanani on the same card and took a unanimous win that night, looking very impressive (watch our post-fight interview with Trent here). Foley is now fighting the same opponent in April so a match-up with the 2 is set up well for later in the year. Meanwhile Broadhurst is looking to stay busy himself and has a fight with Joe Rea on March 7th as well as hoping to set up a rematch with ‘The Butcher’ in April to avenge his only loss.
Mundine & Geale in their second encounter
1. FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.
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