I want to start by wishing all the boxing fans and fighters (amateur or pro) a merry Christmas and a very happy new year.
When contemplating what 2014 might bring in the form of challenges or opportunities, delights and difficulties, I, as any other person with a mild interest in pugilism, have a few fights I want to see happening in the coming 12 months.
Grooves vs Froch II
Their fight was just awesome, with Grooves giving an unbelievable performance. During the time leading up to it I thought he might win it (pulling an Andre Dirrell type of performance) but I never thought he was going to floor and school Froch the way he did. The most amazing part being that after suffering difficult times in the fight, he would come back and hammer The Cobra with right hands. So if this fight happens again, Grooves will just have the combination of skill, speed and power to back Froch off most of the fight and win it.
Kell Brook vs Leonard Bundu
I have to admit that I like Bundu: he is quick, skilled, flashy and seems to be a nice person. This fight will just be a gift for him to make good money before he retires (Bundu is already 40) and Brook will win it.
Martinez v Golovkin
I had to choose only one fight to be made, it would be this one. Boxers with a huge amateur pedigree, like Ward or Rigondeaux have seen more styles than boxers that turned pro earlier in their lives. At amateur level, fights are shorter, so you fight a great variety of opponents and sparring partners, some of them being as awkward as they come. In other words, when you have fought 349 fights and only lost 4 you probably have all the styles figured out. Therefore, the confusion that Martinez stirs in his opponents with his unorthodox hands-down guard will disappear against Golovkin. Furthermore, father time seems to not be very merciful with Maravilla these days, having a poor outing in his last fight (some people, not me, even think he lost) and a series of serious injuries. If this fight happens, it will be the end of Maravilla’s short but spectacular reign over the middleweight division and it will not be a peaceful abdication but he will be brutally overthrown.
Rigondeaux v Donaire II
What I said about Golovkin’s amateur background and versatility applies also to "El Chacal". Let’s face it, Guillermo Rigondeaux is unbeatable, and this hinders his marketability (it’s funny because Mayweathers same "quality" is the basis of his current financial success). He is so dominant that it becomes dull. If he faces Donaire again, he will beat him, again. However, given Donaire’s poor preparation for their first fight (he underestimated Guillermo, was not training as hard as he should have, he was receiving his fighter of the year award late the night before the bout, etc) it will be good to have a rematch with a Nonito fully prepared. He might give Rigondeaux a little bit more trouble, or el Chacal might just raise his level and beat him even worst; in any case, it would be interesting to see.
Mayweather v Pacquiao
This is still the best fight out there for both men and the public. It would still be huge, and Manny will give Mayweather as many troubles as any other welterweight out there.
Pacquiao v Bradley
Bradely’s improvements and Pacquiaos last two fights make this confrontation almost a must. Both man will have a real chance of winning it and set the record straight. I have to admit that, at the moment, I see Bradley winning and this mainly due to his very impressive act against Marquez (although Marquez is the type of boxer that can be brilliant against some styles, and disastrous against others), but I am eagerly waiting the 24/7 series to change my mind.
Adonis Stevenson v Sergey Kovalev
I haven’t seen both guys enough to make a confident prediction. However, what I witnessed it’s enough to make me want to see this two go at it and be certain will be very violent (this is not the reason I want to see it though). I have the feeling that Stevenson will win it. The only fact to back my feeling a little bit is that Kovalev has never gone passed 8 rounds and Stevenson has, so if the fight goes that way, the Canadian might have an edge.
Wladimir Klitschko to unify the major heavyweight championships
Finally, we have a chance to have a unified heavyweight champion in boxing. This would be great for the sport and well deserved for Wladimir.
This is all for me, I wish you again to all of you the best for 2014 and I hope you will share the fights you want to see and your predictions for next year.