2013 has been a banner year for boxing, perhaps one of the best in the past couple of decades. So let's get right to it--what's the best on tap for 2014:
Floyd Mayweather - A May bout with Amir Khan. Fight has exciting potential, pitting Mayweather with somebody who is equally quick as well as exciting. Naysayers (rightfully) say Khan hasn't earned it but then again he does have a solid pedigree even if its been tarnished lately and he is good TV. We have seen Floyd toy with larger, stronger fighters, so let's see him versus a smaller, quicker one (has been quite awhile). The calls for Golovkin are a bit absurd and those for Lara/Trout--yawn. Assuming he wins, ideally there would the be super bout with Pacquiao. I think if it's ever going to happen it will be fall 2014. I should book my rooms at the MGM for Mexican Independence Day right now regardless. (No point in rehashing the boxing politics here, we all know them but I think Arum is getting old and he may finally push for it given his own legacy)
Manny Pacquiao - Spring bout with Bradley. Honestly I have enjoyed the JMM 4-header but it feels stale now. Paq beat Bradley in 2012 but he needs to set the official record straight. Also, Bradley has earned the right regardless of the previous outcome. If Manny wins, then the aforementioned super bout with Floyd in September. Otherwise, he could face Provodnikov.
Miguel Cotto/Canelo Alvarez/Sergio Martinez - I want to see Cotto fight both Canelo and Martinez. But I think if he loses to one, the other fight may not happen or get pushed off. So maybe Cotto-Martinez in the early summer is the best bet. Canelo is young enough to wait a bit longer for Cotto. If Cotto wins, then he should march onto Canelo. If he loses, maybe an intermediary fight and then Canelo. If Martinez wins, then I think we can hope for Martinez-Golovkin or Martinez-Mayweather. Canelo needs Cotto otherwise a bout with Lara or Quillan before Canelo-Cotto (which could push that fight into 2015). Canelo-Martinez seems interesting enough on paper but I don't forsee that one happening.
Gennady Golovkin - Maybe another building fight or 2 although I think he no longer needs them. Time to pit him in with the big dogs (because we all know he is one already himself) - Sergio Martinez and/or Andre Ward. It really doesn't matter which one, but he needs to finish 2014 by fighting at least one of these guys. I see no reason why these fights have to marinate any longer. They're due.
Danny Garcia - If he's moving to 147, he needs to get acclimated by fighting a Malignaggi type. I know many think he's earned a Floyd fight (and he has) but I don't think it's a good long term strategy for him. That fight will be there in 2015 as long as he doesn't get derailed.. He could fight Malignaggi and then options for a Khan rematch, Maidana/Broner win, etc abound. Wait on Floyd and honestly, he doesn't seem to keen or confident in mixing it up with him.
Amir Khan - Floyd in May. After that, if he shocks the world possibilities are endless. But quite more likely if he loses, then he will probably take the year off til December. Floyd losers tend to go on sabaticals with their ca$h money. I know I would. Peterson/Garcia rematches at 147 or perhaps Broner.
Marcos Maidana/Lucas Matthysse - Win or lose against Broner, Maidana has to fight Lucas. This fight is a must for 2014 and I would be shocked if GBP doesn't produce it. Honestly, this would be one of the fights I look forward to the most. How about on the Mayweather-Khan undercard in May? Winner enters the Mayweather sweepstakes for fall 2014/spring 2015.
Brandon Rios/Ruslan Provodnikov/Mike Alvarado - The number of head shots these guys give/take is one of the reasons I sometimes think boxing should be banned, CTE and all, but I won't digress. Since these brutes are going to go at it with somebody, Rios-Provodnikov in spring 2014 makes sense. High excitement and high probability of a decapitation. I think Mike Alvarado has taken quite an abuse in his last fights. He should have been set up for a softer touch after the Rios fights but was awarded with an assassin. He should seriously contemplate retirement or a year off. If he must fight on, a softer touch before any mention of a Rios trilogy. Seems like a nice guy and I want him to enjoy the rest of his life if he isn't already damaged enough.
Tim Bradley - Spring fight with Pacquiao. If he wins, then he can throw his name into the Mayweather sweepstakes but i don't think he has the ability to thaw the cold war. Only Paq has the name big enough to do that. Coming off a win or loss vs Paq, a Provodnikov rematch or JMM rematch loom, but I'm not exactly as excited about that. one.
Rigondeux - Donaire II
Khan - Matthysse
Broner - Guerrero
Broner - Ortiz
Guerrero - Ortiz
Let's hope we get some of these matchups and 2014 can keep the ball rolling on an amazing 2013.