Wishlists are not an uncommon feature in sports writing, but usually they happen around some holiday. "Christmas Wishlist for Boxing" pops up somewhere every year. Me? Late March. I'm a rebel, baby.
By the way, I'm going to update the picks contest stuff sometime in the next few days. I'm not going to have anyone do any picks for this weekend, even though Chambers-Peter is an interesting fight on Friday and Arum's got the Top Rank PPV on Saturday. BLH is skipping the Top Rank PPV, for the record. I'm not paying for Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. -- I was considering it when the initial card looked stronger (with Canchila-Segura II), but not anymore.
1. I wish people would stop talking about Roy Jones Jr. and Anderson Silva fighting already
Here's the thing: I know how this fight plays out. So do you. So does everyone. If it's boxing, Roy beats Anderson. If it's MMA, Anderson beats Roy. It will be boxing because Silva is confident in his boxing skills. He's excellent for an MMA guy; that's not a slap in the face to MMA, it's just the God's honest truth. I don't think there is a single boxer in the world that could cross over to MMA and be successful immediately against legit competition, and it goes both ways. People keep talking about this fight like it's a huge deal. It's not. It's another patented Roy Ploy: Take a fight you should absolutely win and market it to be a bigger deal than it is. People have stopped buying Jones. Yes, he has his fans that will always go, "Roy is back, baby!" but they're loons. They're Roy Jones superfans that refuse to see the enormous decline in skill he's undergone in the last few years.
Silva says he'd like to do the fight (that it's a done deal) whenever his UFC contract is up and he retires from MMA. Roy's already 40.
2. I wish Monte Cox would buzz off
If you haven't yet heard, the New Jersey State Athletic Commission has refused to sanction the proposed boxing match between former UFC heavyweight champ Tim Sylvia and 47-year old Ray Mercer. Thank God, and all respect to the NJSAC for telling everyone involved "no" on this absurd venture. Cox says he'll shop the fight elsewhere. Hey, I'm sure Texas or West Virginia would sanction it. Maybe we can get a Tommy Morrison-Evander Holyfield fight on the undercard, too.
3. I wish Israel Vazquez would receive a clean bill of health
I'll admit it: I miss Izzy. He's my favorite fighter in the sport. I get the sinking feeling we'll never see him compete again, and if we do, he'll be but a shell of the action fighter of the decade that he's been. We've yet to even begin to fathom the physical toll that the Vazquez-Marquez series took on both fighters.
4. I wish I was more confident that Paul Williams will beat Winky Wright
I have nothing in the world against Winky Wright. In fact, I'm a fan of Winky Wright. But boxing would be better off if 27-year old Paul Williams emphatically defeated 37-year old Winky Wright on April 11. But even with ring rust after 21 months off by the time he fights Williams, Winky Wright can't be counted out. He's too savvy, too good defensively, too smart. He takes a great punch. He won't be grossly undersized against Williams, either, the way Verno Phillips and all those welterweights (sans Margarito) were.
5. I wish for the Lucian Bute-Librado Andrade rematch
Again, I like both guys, and I freaked out as much as anyone at the finish of their first fight. But when all was said and done, my problem was more with refereen Marlon B. Wright's abysmal handling of the situation. Bute was up and that's all he needed to be. There are a lot of things you can argue, but I don't think one of them is that Andrade was robbed. I hope they rematch because it'll close the case. Bute, honestly, is way too skilled for Andrade, who is one of my favorite fighters to watch because he can lose 12 rounds and make it entertaining. Bute might be the best 168-pound fighter in the world right now; I'd still put Kessler a notch ahead of him, but that gap is closing fast. Still, he's got the Andrade thing picking at his reputation. Fix it. If Andrade beats Vitali Tsypko on April 4 (and that's no guarantee), he's Bute's mandatory. Make it happen.
6. I wish the Klitschkos would just fight each other and get it over with
I'm not serious. More accurately, I wish the Klitschkos weren't brothers and we could settle this thing.
7. I wish the Khan-Barrera debate would rest, even if totally valid
Don King has filed a protest over the Khan-Barrera fight and wants a rematch. Why? So Barrera can get his head knocked off? I think the Don has a valid point. The fight should have been stopped sooner than it was. That gash was God awful and was not going to get any better. But watching the two of them match up, even with Barrera somewhat handicapped, does anyone think Marco Antonio really has a shot at beating a huge lightweight with that sort of power and speed?
But about his point: It's a good one. The doctors and referees are there to protect fighters, even if that means protect them from themselves. Barrera wouldn't quit if someone hit him with a shovel. He was not going to say he couldn't fight on. His corner probably held much the same views, and also figured they might tap Khan's chin before the officials could stop it.
If you give me a Khan-Barrera rematch, I know what happens. Khan overwhelms him. At some point Barrera goes down hard. He's not big enough, fast enough, strong enough, or good enough anymore to chop Khan down. I have absolutely no interest in seeing them fight again.
8. I wish the top tier of the sport would break up somewhat
Let's look at it like this:
Pacquiao is fighting Hatton
Guys Who Supposedly Want the Winner: Floyd Mayweather, Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto, Juan Manuel Marquez
Guys Who Want Floyd: Mosley, Cotto, Marquez, Hatton, Pacquiao
Guys Who Want Mosley: Pacquiao, Hatton, Cotto
Guys Who Want Cotto: Mosley, Pacquiao, Hatton
Guys Who Floyd Wants: Hatton, Pacquiao, Marquez?, (Tune-Up)
It's getting downright incestuous.
9. I wish Bernard Hopkins would show the sport as much respect as it has shown him
Bernard Hopkins is fond of remembering all the times he's been screwed over, or all the times he thinks he's been screwed over. He'll remind you of them every chance he gets. But how about the last decade or so, with Hopkins one of the top fighters in the sport, shown great respect, paid handsomely, and in a position of power as a promoter with Golden Boy? What's he given back?
I applauded B-Hop for fighting Calzaghe last year, fighting and demolishing Pavlik after that, and then saying he'd love to take on Tomasz Adamek. I was fooled.
Same as I'll never say I count Bernard out again, I'll never say I believe Hopkins has turned a corner. Offering Adamek a flat fee of $500,000 for a fight is ludicrous, and Hopkins and Golden Boy know it. Same ol' Bernard: Great fighter, total prick. I have all the respect in the world for him, but the man has come off like a jerk for the 10,000th time. Either that or a guy who got cold feet about the idea.
10. I wish for boxing to keep staying "local"
The Marquez-Diaz fight in Houston set an all-time Texas record for money in boxing. The Margarito-Mosley fight in Los Angeles set the all-time Staples Center attendance record. Adamek has been drawing big houses in Newark for fights with Steve Cunningham and Johnathon Banks, not exactly marquee stars. Lucian Bute could sell out the Bell Centre in Montreal if he fought anyone on this blog. Nate Campbell and Roy Jones did decent houses in Florida, all things considered.
Boxing doesn't belong to Las Vegas and the casinos. The people have spoken loudly when give the chance. They'll turn out for the fights if you make it affordable, and then everyone makes money. Go figure.