By Francisco Salazar
If 2012 was any indication of boxing being alive and well, one did not have to look very hard.
Sensational fights. Unpredictable upsets. Spectacular knockouts. And what would the boxing world be without its fair share of controversial decisions?
2012 was great, which would make a lot of people expect for 2013 to be just as good, if not better, right?
While many fight fans, including the media, play fantasy matchmaker in their head, there are 10 fights that would carry over from the successes of 2012.
No, not Mayweather-Pacquiao. Most people are over that fight not taking place and I am not referring to representatives of Golden Boy Promotions or Top Rank. Or people that are close to either fighter.
These are 10 fights that could become realistic with, if the public demands it and makes business sense to all parties involved. In no particular order, the top 10 fights that should take place in 2013 ..
Nonito Donaire – Abner Mares (Super bantamweights)
Hopefully, Top Rank and Golden Boy can put aside their differences and work together to make this fight happen. Fight fans could now somewhat accept Mayweather-Pacquiao not taking place, but they will raise a ruckus if Donaire-Mares does not become reality. It makes sense for the fight to happen in 2013, as both are in their prime. Donaire just turned 30 and Mares is three years younger.
Donaire may face Guillermo Rigondeaux in a world title unification bout in the first half of 2013, while Mares’ opponents include Victor Terrazas or Leo Santa Cruz. Should they win their respective bouts, both should really press their promotional companies and managers to make this fight happen no later than this year.
Roman Gonzalez – Brian Viloria (Light flyweights)
At first, I wanted Gonzalez to fight Ulises Solis. And maybe a Gonzalez-Solis bout could possibly take place in 2013. However, Gonzalez-Viloria is really appealing to fight fans, especially those who are fans of the smaller weight classes. What makes Gonzalez-Viloria appealing is that their styles compliment one another very well. Both could hurt their opponents with either hand and throw lots of punches in a round.
Both fought on the same fight card in Los Angeles on November 17th. Viloria won a hard-fought 12 round decision over Juan Estrada, while Viloria stopped Hernan Marquez in the 10th round. Just days ago, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum announced that he is seriously hoping to put this fight together. If I had a glass in my hand, I’ll toast to that.
Ray Beltran – Antonio DeMarco (Lightweights)
Answer this question. Have you seen these two boxers in a bad fight? Yup, I can’t think of one. These two guys have fan-friendly styles and most importantly, come to fight. This would be a perfect match-up in that Beltran comes forward, while DeMarco mostly likes to counter. DeMarco is coming off a knockout loss to Adrien Broner and Beltran is coming off a decision win over Hank Lundy. This fight could be featured on a HBO Boxing After Dark telecast or as an opener to a Showtime Championship Boxing telecast.
Danny Garcia – Lucas Matthysse (Junior welterweights)
Garcia had a very good 2012. He won a world title belt over Erik Morales in February, stopped Amir Khan in July, and won the rematch over Morales in October. However, I may be in the small minority that the best fighter at 140 pounds is Matthysse. The Argentine fighter rebounded from two highly-disputed decision losses in 2011 to win the same interim title that Garcia now possesses with a win over Ajose Olusegun in September.
Should Garcia defeat Zab Judah on February 9th (not an easy fight) and Matthysse defeat Mike Dallas on January 26th, then it makes sense to make the fight. Both are promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and an early summer showdown between the two would be explosive.
Mike Alvarado – Ajose Olusegun (Junior welterweights)
Both are coming off of stoppage losses in their last fights. Alvarado was stopped by Brandon Rios in their October 13th thriller, while Olusegun was stopped by Matthysse in September. The thing that some people do not remember is that both fighters did not taste the canvas in those bouts.
There is talk of Rios and Alvarado fighting each other again in March. However, if the fight does not come off, why not Alvarado-Olusegun? Alvarado and Olusegun have fan-friendly styles, move forward, and throw lots of punches. This fight could easily be made as Olusegun is co-promoted by Lou DiBella and Gary Shaw, while Alvarado is promoted by Top Rank.
Brandon Rios – Ruslan Provodnikov (Junior welterweights)
As mentioned above, Rios-Alvarado II is a possibility in March. However, little do fight fans know is Rios and Provodnikov are ranked number one and two respectively by the WBO at 140 pounds. Juan Manuel Marquez holds the title at 140 pounds, but there is little likelihood Marquez would “defend” the belt. If Rios-Alvarado is not made and Marquez does not face either Rios or Provodnikov, why not have both fighters face each other?
P.S. I DO WANT to see Rios-Alvarado II. As we know in the sport of boxing, injuries or people backing out of verbal deals do occur. I’m just giving options.
Daniel Geale – Peter Quillin (Middleweights)
Each of these fighters has a world title belt and are itching to be the fighter to make a name for themselves at 160 pounds, not named Martinez or Golovkin. Quillin won a world title belt with his entertaining, yet dominating 12 round unanimous decision over Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam in October. Geale is unbeaten in his last seven fights since a controversial 12 round split decision loss to Anthony Mundine.
Geale will defend his world title belt in a rematch against Mundine on January 30th. 10 days later, Quillin defends his world title belt against Fernando Guerrero. Should they come out victorious, why not have them face off in a title unification bout in the summer or in the fall? Both can box and can hurt opponents with either hand. Hope this fight happens.
David Price – Tyson Fury (Heavyweights)
All fight fans in England and abroad are counting the days when both will face one another. Both are unbeaten heavyweights and are slowly moving towards contender status from being labeled as a prospect.
Price, who has won his last 12 fights by knockout, is taking a major step up in class on February 23rd, when he takes on Tony Thompson. Fury won a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision over Kevin Johnson on December 1st.
Although people may question whether facing each other this year is too soon, keep this in mind: Price will turn 30 in July and may have already peaked as a pro fighter. If these two were to fight each other in 2013 or 2014, this could be one of the most anticipated fights in British boxing history.
Amir Khan – Josesito Lopez (Junior welterweights/ welterweights)
Khan returned to the ring on December 15th with a stoppage victory over Carlos Molina. Before people praise Khan too much, one has to observe that Molina is a lightweight moving up to face Khan. Lopez is coming off a stoppage defeat at the hands of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in September.
Khan has expressed a desire to fight back home in England for his next fight. Lopez, who has mostly fought at 140 pounds, would be happy to oblige after having fought Alvarez at 154 pounds, following fighting and defeating Victor Ortiz at 147 pounds in June.
Khan may have the speed advantage of the two, but Lopez is a good counter-puncher. Regardless of where the fight takes place, it would make fight fans happy.
Alfredo Angulo – Delvin Rodríguez (Super welterweights)
I personally think that Golden Boy, who promotes Angulo, will choose the popular Mexican fighter to face “Canelo” Alvarez on May 4th. However, if the fight is not made, I really like for “Perro” to face Rodriguez. Fight fans remember Rodriguez from his July 2011 war with Pawel Wolak and his victory over the Polish fighter later that December. Rodriguez challenged 154-pound world title holder Austin Trout in June, losing a 12 round unanimous decision.
After going through being detained for seven months because of an expired visa, Angulo has won his last two bouts in a row. His December 15th victory over Jorge Silva was a barnburner of a fight, but showed Angulo still has flaws with his defense.
Rodriguez is scheduled to face unbeaten George Tahdooahnippah on February 15th. Assuming Angulo will fight in March, this fight could be a great summer or fall match-up.
There are many fights that I would like to see in 2013. With the exception of Donaire-Mares, these fights could be made without having to worry about the well-documented Golden Boy/ Top Rank feud. Although I’ll be on Cloud 9 if all fights were to be made on this list, I would be happy if just one would happen.