Franchise Thoughts: 10 Fights I'd Like to See

Thinking about the convoluted roads that led to the De La Hoya-Pacquiao and Pavlik-Hopkins fights got me thinking about how much easier life as a boxing fan would be if there was just one all-powerful being in charge of matchmaking. Say, me, for instance.

While I'm not going to hold my breath for that to happen, it doesn't mean a boy can't dream. So I thought to myself, "Self, if you had ultimate power over boxing, meaning money and politics were out of the way, who would you most like to see fight?"

To make it a little more interesting, I limited myself to first-time meeting - no sequels. I mean, no one would mind seeing Marquez-Vazquez IV, but it's not really exercising your brain to come up with that one. Also, even though jumping up or down multiple weight classes is all the rage right now, I'm a firm believer that there are plenty of good fights to be made at most weight without resorting to that nonsense, so I imposed a limit of one class up or down when matching fighters.

Since this is my list, I naturally picked fighters who I enjoy watching. But I did throw a couple in I don't care for if I thought they could be paired with someone to make an especially compelling storyline or style matchup.

In no particular order, here are 10 fights I'd like to see. With any luck, at least some of them will actually get made.

Antonio Margarito vs. Floyd Mayweather

I wouldn't consider myself a Floyd hater, but I'm also not his biggest fan. His immense skill can't be questioned, but the quality of his opposition is just suspect enough that I'll always wonder if he was as good as it seemed he was. I expect him to come out of retirement, but not to take this fight - which is the only one I'm really interested to see him take. If he would beat the Tijuana Tornado, I'd consider all questions answered, because Margarito would test him.

Kelly Pavlik vs. Arthur Abraham

History has shown that it's wise to be at least a little skeptical when it comes to boxers who rack up impressive records fighting only in Europe. Abraham falls into that category, but he does have some wins on his resume (Kingsley Ikeke and Howard Eastman, for instance) that are legit, and he definitely proved something by putting a beating on Edison Miranda this summer. He deserves a shot at Pavlik, and only the fact that he's not that well known in the U.S. - and thus wouldn't sell too well - is keeping it from happening.

Chad Dawson vs. Tavoris Cloud

Though separated by only a year, Dawson has been in with much tougher competition so far, and Cloud may not be ready for this just yet. But Bad Chad is in a division with primarily older contenders, and eventually he'll need new challenges. Dawson has a well-rounded set of skills, and Cloud is a beast who is looking for the knockout every time out. This would be a fun fight for fans.

Paul Williams vs. Andre Berto

Here are two more young lions who would almost guarantee fireworks if they faced off. Williams is a punch-throwing machine, and his first-round KO of Carlos Quintana showed that he's not as slappy as some have suggested. Berto is a certifiable badass who is ready to step up and face tougher foes.

Wladimir Klitschko vs. David Haye

You know Haye actually has this in mind as his actual goal. He could be the shot in the arm the heavyweight division needs, but he's yet to prove himself against the big boys. Meanwhile, Wlad's recent fights haven't exactly been scintillating, but perhaps he just needs the right challenge to find the champion's heart inside him. Or maybe I'm just a hopeless optimist.

Chris John vs. Israel Vazquez

It's a running joke on this site that I have never seen John fight. There's a good reason for that, as I don't get too many boxing feeds from Indonesia. My gut tells me he can't possibly be a total stiff, as he does have wins over Derrick Gainer and Juan Manuel Marquez, though the latter is rumored to be due at least partly to some home cooking. In any case, if The Dragon ever wanted to test himself on this side of the world, may I suggest Vazquez? With his power, offensive skill and heart, he'd make sure we all know exactly what John is made of.

Manny Pacquiao vs. Nate Campbell

Manny is an easy choice as my favorite fighter since I'm Filipino on my mom's side. Oh yeah, it doesn't hurt that he's the best boxer active in the sport right now. Campbell put on a tremendous performance when he beat Juan Diaz that really opened my eyes. He's also a great success story overdue for a nice payday, which he'd get if he fought Pacman.

Manny Pacquiao vs. Edwin Valero

This was actually discussed as a possibility before Pacman moved up to much bigger and financially better things by signing to face Oscar De La Hoya. From a purist's standpoint, this bout would be a lot more aesthetically pleasing, pitting the pound-for-pound king against Dougie Fischer's favorite son, an internet legend who has knocked out every foe he's faced thus far. Potentially explosive? I would say so.

Roy Jones Jr. vs. Anderson Silva

Before UFC head honcho Dana White put the kibosh on this idea, I was pretty excited to see if it would actually happen. Silva is considered by many to be MMA's most talented fighter, and his striking skills are something to watch. Still, I wonder about how even The Spider would fare against a top notch boxer -especially defensively - and Jones has enough gas left in the tank for us to find out. This fight would also do amazing business at the gate and on pay-per-view, with Jones still a draw among casual fans and Silva continuing to be built up by the UFC.

Manny Pacquiao vs. Shane Mosley

This appears to be a violation of my self-imposed weight rule, but Manny is going up to welterweight to face De La Hoya, so I'm letting it slide on a technicality. This is strictly a personal pick, as these two men have been my favorite boxers since my brother Uatu first got me into the sport. Mosley is obviously bigger and hits pretty hard even at 147, but he's also older than Manny and has lost at least a half-step. If Manny was going to take a big step up in weight, this is the fight I'd rather see.

No comments: