By Cliff Rold
The news of Floyd Mayweather being sentenced for his domestic violence issues shook the boxing world in the waning days of 2011. It leaves fans and pundits alike asking similar questions.
Will his May 5 date go away?
Is the Manny Pacquiao fight dead…again?
Lucky for boxing fans, the sport is bigger than Mayweather. Or Pacquiao. Or Mayweather-Pacquiao.
As we head into 2012, the boxing wish list has plenty of other options. Before Jolly St. Nick brings round the goodies for the kids, here’s a few things he can work on for the sweet science. So it’s in writing…
In 2012, please bring a Red Ryder BB gun and a “Dark Knight Rises” that exceeds every expectation. Please also bring:
• Continued Clash at Super Middleweight - While there is disappointment among some fans upon hearing World Champion Andre Ward isn’t looking to go straight to IBF titlist Lucian Bute, there is no need to let the perfect be the enemy of the very good. Talk of a Bute-Carl Froch clash (or two) has received some criticism, further proof that no one bitches quite like a boxing fan. Complaining about a match as good as Bute-Froch is coal worthy. If it happens, it’s an indication of how deep 168 lbs. is. It’s not, like Welterweight, a one or two fight class. As long as the players stay together, and keep fighting, boxing wins.
• A James Kirkland Challenge of Miguel Cotto – After Kirkland’s from the ashes stoppage of Alfredo Angulo, and Cotto’s revenge against Antonio Margarito, is there a better fight to be made at Jr. Middleweight? In all of boxing? Kirkland remains vulnerable when tapped on the chin and the WBA titlist Cotto has some wear on his tires. There is no way this fight doesn’t leave all sorts of blood on the floor and collect votes for Fight of the Year. If Kirkland gets past the sneaky good Carlos Molina, book it.
• Unification at Cruiserweight – It might not have the talent level of some of the lower classes, but the almost Heavyweights have an action fight tradition. The rematch between IBF titlist Yoan Pablo Hernandez and Steve Cunningham kicks the division into high gear in February. WBO beltholder Marco Huck will likely be back assuming, and one should, he falls short in a Heavyweight attempt at Alexander “Please, No Klitschko’s” Povetkin. The last time unification took place in class, fans got some great brawls between Wayne Braithwaite, Jean Marc Mormeck and O’Neill Bell. More please.
• A Big Fight for Pongsaklek Wonjongkam – The lineal Flyweight king has had some big wins in recent years. Julio Cesar Miranda, Koki Kameda, and Edgar Sosa were all real fights and serious notches. What the Thai great has lacked is a fight with another beltholder. WBO titlist Brian Viloria and WBA titlist Tyson Marquez would push Wonjongkam in his twilight and raise the profile on what could be (and it’s always tough for small Asian fighters) an eventual Hall of Fame induction. Oh, and while we’re talking Hall of Fame…
• IBHOF Induction for Myung Wuh Yuh or Yoko Gushiken or Masao Ohba or… - Seriously, enough already. Ohba was the Japanese Sanchez, Gushiken the first great Jr. Flyweight, and Yuh it’s title defense record holder. All of the above should already be in the Hall of Fame. So should Hilario Zapata. Let’s hope at least one makes the cut in 2012.
• Opportunity for Anselmo Moreno – Maybe the game’s most talented defensive specialist not named Floyd Mayweather, Moreno proved up to the hype against Vic Darchinyan. Now the WBA bantamweight titlist needs more names to face him. He shares a promoter with IBF titlist Abner Mares. There is no excuse for those two not fighting next year at some point. The winner can move up if the only fight that matters at 122 lbs. takes place. Speaking of…
• A Toshiaki Nishioka-Nonito Donaire Showdown – Donaire is dipping his toe in the Jr. Featherweight waters with former titlist Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. He may also get Jorge Arce in the most lopsided mismatch of name fighters since Mayweather-Gatti. What he needs, the fight that continues to prove Donaire’s talents, is Japan’s WBC titlist Nishioka. The veteran showed great poise in outboxing Rafael Marquez. Donaire would be a whole other level of challenge.
• More Peterson Brothers in the DMV – They might not move units outside the D.C. area, but Anthony Peterson and Lamont Peterson pack houses at home. It’s criminal they haven’t appeared in their home area more. They did 5K for ESPN scrub fights a couple years ago and brought a raucous mob of fans the night Lamont upset Amir Khan.
• A Middleweight Challenge for Martinez – He’s looking down the scale. He’s looking at the utterly unready Julio Cesar Chavez. He’s not talking Dimitry Pirog, who has all but begged and would wipe the floor with Chavez. There are real, tough, young Middleweights for Martinez to defend against. Pick some and no more Darren Barker pick-a-foes please. Oh, and throw in Gennady Golovkin-Felix Sturm too please Santa. Enough with the close decisions. If Sturm doesn’t want to try for more, put him in with someone who does.
• An Active Timothy Bradley – The Best Jr. Welterweight in the world has barely fought recently. Joel Casamayor sucked as an opponent. Waiting for Manny Pacquiao to call his name might be profitable, but being in the ring more than once a whenever can’t hurt.
• Finally, Juan Manuel Marquez-Erik Morales – C’mon Santa, like you don’t want to see it? It’s the missing link in an incredible era. Sure, Morales looks past it. Who cares? It’s Marquez-Morales!
• A Heavyweight Thriller – It’s unlikely even the best of elves could carve this one up, but a shocking challenge to one of the Klitschko brothers would shake the division up and cause some excitement outside Germany (and, really, they loved Sven Ottke so what excites them can be just odd). No one on the landscape can beat them, but someone who makes a fight of it would be nice.
• Oh, and Somehow, Someway, Mayweather-Pacquiao – Duh. Maybe they can go all James Scott and do it in lockup. If not, a stadium is preferred whenever Mayweather is available.
That’s more than enough for one list and it’s fine if some of the items don’t fit in the sleigh. Don’t forget the “Dark Knight Rises” thing either. Best to you, the missus, and Rudolph.
Love, Boxing Fans (or at least this one).
The Weekly Ledger
But wait, there’s more…
Ward Bests Froch: http://www.boxingscene.com/ward-rules-168-weekend-review-ratings-update--47536
New Ratings: http://www.boxingscene.com/forums/view.php?pg=boxing-ratings
Final P4P 2012: http://www.boxingscene.com/ward-rises-boxingscene-pound-pound-update--47654
Cliff’s Notes…Happy Holidays to all.
Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]