It wasn't even a month ago that I was bemoaning the lack of big fights this summer in boxing. While MMA diehards and casual fans alike had the momentous UFC 100 to celebrate, boxing's biggest fight (Mayweather-Marquez) was postponed until September, leaving us with very little in the way of marquee fights.
With the official signing of Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto for November 14 coming yesterday, boxing's autumn months are now loaded. And I mean loaded.
Cotto-Pacquiao has a chance to be the biggest money fight of the year, and it also has a chance to be a Fight of the Year contender. Pacquiao did big business in May with Ricky Hatton, and Cotto brings a potentially even bigger American PPV audience with him as the current king of the Puerto Rican boxers. Take into account that Pacquiao has generated massive buzz over his last two dominant performances against guys who were global superstars, and you have huge money potential for this fight.
Then there's Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s return on September 19 to face the current king of the Mexican boxers, Juan Manuel Marquez. While the fight has been downplayed by some that don't think it'll be competitive, exciting, or either, it is a big fight. It is not going to match the business Floyd did with Oscar de la Hoya or Ricky Hatton, and I think Floyd is in for something of a wake-up call as to his level of drawing power without a massive star across the ring, but what intrigues me most is the miracle chance: Imagine the pandemonium among Mexican boxing fans -- and many of the rest of us who aren't Mexicans -- if Marquez pulled off the upset.
Everyone knows about those two, even the yokels up at the bar who happen to catch a few muted moments of Kimbo Slice-Tank Abbott on TV and then start talking about boxing and MMA, rattling off about six names they know, getting three of them semi-wrong. What else is in store?
The Super Six World Boxing Classic, obviously, which starts on October 17. Vitali Klitschko will defend his WBC heavyweight title against big-talking ex-cruiserweight champion David Haye on September 12 in front of about 60,000 fans in Germany, if sales for Wladimir-Haye (also a scrapped fight from this summer) transfer to Vitali-Haye. Chad Dawson has been forced to take the gamble in a rematch with Glen Johnson on November 7. Librado Andrade will get a chance for revenge against Lucian Bute on November 28.
Middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik will return on October 3, and that one could get interesting now. As Brick noted yesterday, with Pacquiao-Cotto signed, it sets off a lot of guys. Shane Mosley needs a fight. So does Paul Williams. Williams has indicated he'd be willing to fight Mosley at 147 or Pavlik at 160. Mosley has had brief negotiations with fellow welterweight titlist Andre Berto, too. Pavlik's team has looked at Felix Sturm, Karoly Balzsay, Winky Wright and Sergio Martinez.
It's all good reason to start feeling better about boxing. The summer seems long still, but as the leaves die, boxing is going to bloom.