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The State of The Game: The Fights We Do Get

By Cliff Rold

We didn’t get Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao, at least not when it mattered most.  Maybe one day we’ll get the Jones-Hopkins II version. 

It’s not quite the same.

It increasingly looks like, at least for now, we aren’t going to get Nonito Donaire-Abner Mares.  Given the postponement of Danny Garcia-Zab Judah, the chance of seeing Lucas Matthysse getting a major fight is surely backed up.  In a week where Yuriorkis Gamboa is linked to a PED scandal, we are reminded of how his once red-hot fight with Juan Manuel Lopez went from marinating to rotting on the vine. 

One of boxing’s most familiar complaints is sure to be heard: boxing’s best just don’t fight each other.  The best fights aren’t made, or at least are not made when they should be.

Sometimes, it’s even true.

The above are all examples that can be pointed too. The truth is there are always great matches that fail to come together with varying levels of scrutiny.  For instance, what would the world have said if there had been an internet in the late 1930s?  Henry Armstrong, easily one of the ten best fighters ever to lace gloves, reeled off a still-record eighteen consecutive title defenses at Welterweight.

He did it without ever facing Cocoa Kid, Charley Burley, or Holman Williams, all of whom were prominent top contenders for a decent chunk of his reign. 

His battles with Lou Ambers, Ceferino Garcia, Fritzie Zivic, and others are what is remembered; are what he is judged by. 

What is rarely mentioned in boxing’s circles of cynicism is that, more often than not, what doesn’t happen is an exception to the rule.  Fight fans get an awful lot of the fights they want and sometimes fights some said they didn’t want but were pleased to have when they were over.

Mayweather-Miguel Cotto and Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez fit the description.

Wednesday, the deal was finalized to make an immediate rematch between top ten Jr. Welterweights Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado.  After rumors that one, the other, or both might pursue a different option, they will stare across the ring at each other one more time.  If not for Marquez-Pacquiao IV, their first tilt would likely have been acclaimed the 2012 Fight of the Year in most corners.

In April, the best fight of the Super Middleweight Super Six tournament gets its sequel.  Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler will meet for a second time, both a little older and more hittable then they were the first time.  Considering how hittable they already proved to be against each other, this has the makings of some cave man savagery. 

In 2012 we saw Andre Ward-Chad Dawson, Sergio Martinez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Brian Viloria-Tyson Marquez, Orlando Salido-Juan Manuel Lopez II, Kazuto Ioka-Akira Yaegashi, Carl Froch-Lucian Bute, Amir Khan-Danny Garcia, and Abner Mares-Anselmo Moreno to go along with other fights already noted. 

Already this year we’ve seen Salido-Mikey Garcia, a great match most who follow boxing could look forward too.  2013 is only beginning to come together.  It’s off to a solid start.

That’s no excuse for the fights that don’t happen when should.  Fans have a right to shake their head in frustration.  But let’s not fall victim to perpetuating a lazy myth too often repeated by those who make, at best, a half assed attempt to cover the sport in mainstream media.  Plenty of boxing’s best fight each other.  It’s not hard to find if you look more than twice a year.

The reason Mares has emerged as such an intriguing opponent for Donaire is proof.  He’s consistently faced top-level foes for the last few years.  Vic Darchinyan, Yonnhy Perez, Joseph Agbeko, and Moreno is a veritable murderer’s row in the lower weights.  He’s still unbeaten.  Donaire, win or lose, would be the culmination of the run.  It doesn’t disqualify the rest of the run if the fight doesn’t happen.

It does, certainly, leave a hole. 

That hole can be filled with lament. 

It’s better that it is filled by being able to look forward to Rios-Alvarado II, Froch-Kessler II, and whatever else emerges as a reality in the year ahead.       

The Weekly Ledger

But wait, there’s more…

Vera Shocks Dzinziruk: http://www.boxingscene.com/vera-continues-his-upset-streak-with-dzinziruk-tko--61762  
Matthysse Destroys Dallas: http://www.boxingscene.com/killing-time-coronation-matthysse-destroys-dallas--61789
Ratings Update: http://www.boxingscene.com/garcia-kovalev-shake-things-up-review-ratings-update--61863
Picks of the Week: http://www.boxingscene.com/boxingscenecoms-television-picks-week--61894

Cliff’s Notes…

All the above being said, seriously, can someone just get Donaire and Mares in a ring…Top Rank just doesn’t seem to play well with others and this feud with Golden Boy is just rinse and repeat for those who lived through the Arum versus King years.... If, and it’s still an if, Nonito Donaire takes on Guillermo Rigondeuax for less money than has been offered for Abner Mares, it defies everything we hear about risk/reward ratios.  That’s not a bad thing, but it’s also not striking while the iron is hot….That said, Golden Boy gets both kudos for holding Top Rank’s feet to the fire by releasing the provision of services agreement they offered for the services of Donaire and a snicker for thinking such grandstanding would bring the fight closer, instead of farther, apart…Or maybe the grandstanding was the point…or maybe it’s really an honest effort to make the fight…Headache…If Wladimir Klitschko take a voluntary defense against Odlanier Solis, after a year where he fought the challenge-less likes of Jean Marc Mormeck and Mariusz Wach, he should be fairly pilloried…Finally, the Rock has come back.  Maybe next time, they’ll get all the props reinforced.  Ouch…Deer antler spray aside, the Raven winning the Super Bowl would be a heck of a story.  Unfortunately, the 49ers have a look of a new dynasty in the making.  Number six looks likes it’s coming to the city by the bay.

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

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User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by SlimTim on 02-01-2013

Hey as cheated as I've felt as a boxing fan seeing horrendous decisions and big fights get swallowed by politics, at least the matchmaking on espn2 has been plus so far this year. I'm among those not thrilled at the…

Comment by The Gambler1981 on 01-31-2013

That is why I never get to hung up on certain fights, because there will always be other quality fights so pining over what may never come is a waste of time when there is so much more out there…

Comment by croz on 01-31-2013

Rigo vs Donaire is the much better fight. With all due respect, in this one instance, Mares can go **** himself. Only problem is this might be a very boring fight.

Comment by jbpanama on 01-31-2013

Where can i get some of that Deer Antler Spray??? Has anyone told pur Hero. El Roidweather about it???

Comment by Cinci Champ on 01-31-2013

[QUOTE=r__mutt;12975379]Am I the only who isn't disappointed with Rigo v Donaire (assuming thats all finalized and in the bag)? I still think thats a good fight and a lot of people accused Donaire of ducking Rigo (prior to the Mares…

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