By Francisco Salazar
2013 was a great year for boxing, wasn’t it?
Back and forth fights, knockouts, and upsets made 2013 one of the more memorable years in boxing.
Fight fans could not get enough of Bradley-Provodnikov, Rios-Alvarado II, and Segura-Marquez.
Then there the knockouts that had fight fans watching over and over on You Tube. Knockouts of Chad Dawson and Mike Dallas by Adonis Stevenson and Lucas Mathhysse respectively even created a buzz amongst those that casually watched the sport.
Not only did fight fans tune in to networks such as HBO, Showtime, and ESPN as in previous years, but boxing was boosted by the emergence of NBC Sports Network and Fox Sports.
Who could then forget “The One” weekend? The events that led up to the Floyd Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez fight was boxing’s version of the Super Bowl.
Then there were the robberies in boxing, such as Ricky Burns’ draw against Ray Beltran and Julio Cesar Chavez’s controversial victory over Bryan Vera.
To some, boxing could be summed up in three letters in 2013: GGG. Gennady Golovkin continued his winning ways by scoring highlight-reel knockouts of his opponents.
Throughout all corners of the world, whether it was a 12 round title fight or a four round bout with up and comers, 2013 was a big year in the sport.
Could 2014 measure up to or beat out what 2013 did in terms of viewership on television and attendance?
That remains to be seen. Matchmakers for Top Rank, Golden Boy, Lou DiBella, Banner, Goossen Tutor, Matchroom, etc. will have their work cut out for them.
There are already a few fight cards that have drawn the interest of fans and media. The Lucian Bute-Jean Pascal fight on January 18th is not only for bragging rights in Montreal, but it is also a compelling fight in a deep light heavyweight division.
One of the more talented fighters in boxing today, Miguel Angel “Mikey” Garcia is scheduled to return on January 25th against Juan Carlos Burgos in New York City.
Some of the biggest fighters in boxing are also scheduled to return to the ring in the first half of 2014. Alvarez is scheduled to return to the ring on March 8th, while Manny Pacquiao returns on April 12th.
Floyd Mayweather is scheduled to return on May 3rd, presumably against Amir Khan and there is a discussion of a bout between Sergio Martinez and Miguel Cotto in early June in the New York City area.
So signs are pointed to a great 2014, right?
As I pointed out, that depends on the matchmakers of the big promoters and what the networks are willing to buy.
Like most fight fans who are optimistic, I am hopeful big fights get made or at least, the best matchups stylistically are made.
For the time being, Top Rank and Golden Boy have given fight fans what they have wanted. That could be attributed to fighters within their companies facing one another or each doing business with Banner, Lou DiBella, or Goossen Tutor.
With the Cold War between the two promotional companies not thawing anytime soon, it is likely 2014 will be no different than 2013. Both companies will still make the best matchups within their company.
And that is great. Top Rank can do great fights between 140-147 pounds amongst Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley, Brandon Rios, Mike Alvarado, Jesse Vargas, and Carlos Abregu.
The same could be said for Golden Boy in the same weight class with Floyd Mayweather, Danny Garcia, Lamont Peterson, Lucas Matthysse, Marcos Maidana, Adrien Broner, and Amir Khan.
Will there be a point in the future, maybe this year, that fight fans will pressure the promoters to push for the two companies to work together? Especially with the type of matchups that could be made between 140-147 pounds between the two companies.
That remains to be seen.
I have high praise and respect to the heads of both promotional companies: Bob Arum with his longevity and experience and Richard Scheafer, who promoted or was involved in some of boxing’s biggest events.
In the past, each has said they want to make fights for the fans or to fulfill the demand of fights fans want.
Could that happen this year? As I mentioned, that is unlikely to happen. But sooner or later, the voice of fight fans are going to grow louder and louder. As it should, fans spend their money on tickets, merchandise, and par per view. No one is telling them to do so, but then again, boxing is driven by those same fans.
I understand Top Rank and Golden Boy are in the business to make fights that will make them the most profit. But will they listen to those who can make a good pitch for fights involving the competition?
Most boxing fans have moved on from a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight ever taking place. Could they move on from a Guillermo Rigondeaux-Leo Santa Cruz not taking place? Or a Danny Garcia-Ruslan Provodnikov fight?
While I am at it, if not Pacquiao, why not Timothy Bradley against Mayweather? The list goes on and on.
I really every promoter involved in boxing makes the best possible fights for 2014 and this coming year is just as strong if not stronger than 2013.
With that, I hope Golden Boy and Top Rank does business together. It may not be this year, but eventually they will have to business together. Money talks and in boxing, that is a major reason why fights get made.
With fight fans dream of boxing to return to network television or for performance enhancement drugs to disappear permanently from the sport, 2013 has rekindled or strengthened their love for the sport.
With so many talented fighter and so many potential fights that can be made, let us keep this momentum going.
Why? I would sure like to write another one of these one year from now.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, Knockout Nation, and RingTV. He could be reached by email at [email protected] or on twitter at FSalazarBoxing