Manny Pacquiao vs Timothy Bradley, April 9 (HBO PPV)
Pros: It's Pacquiao, and it's Bradley, and they're both still world class, elite level fighters in the 147 pound division. Honestly, you can make a decent argument that with Floyd Mayweather retired, these are still the two best welterweights. (You can also make arguments for both Kell Brook and Keith Thurman.) Of all the fights we'll discuss, this is the truest "the best vs the best" matchup.
Cons: We've seen it. Twice. And neither time was it a great fight or even particularly compelling. The first fight in 2012 is memorable only because Bradley was gifted a shockingly bad decision, and the second fight in 2014 only happened because, well, Bradley had been gifted a shockingly bad decision in 2012. There was no call for a third fight between the two, but here we are.
Charles Martin vs Anthony Joshua, April 9 (SHO)
Pros: A meeting of two young heavyweights who have displayed power, both undefeated. It's a gutsy move for Martin, taking the IBF belt he won in January as an unknown and defending it against the fastest-rising star in the division, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist who has trounced his pro opposition thus far. There's a chance, too, that Martin could be that step up too soon for Joshua, and derail a promising career.
Cons: It's going to be relentlessly called the world heavyweight title when we all know that's bullshit, but other than that, there's really nothing wrong with this fight at all. Joshua winning would lead to Eddie Hearn shouting "world heavyweight champion" 5,000 times in the post-fight interview. That's a bit grating to think about.
Gennady Golovkin vs Dominic Wade, April 23 (HBO)
Pros: Gennady Golovkin is back in action, which is always fun on some level, and Dominic Wade at the very least has the gumption to actually get in there and fight the guy, which can't be said for everyone.
Cons: Gennady Golovkin is going to thrash him, probably.
Roman Gonzalez vs McWilliams Arroyo, April 23 (HBO)
Pros: A really great style matchup on paper, and one our own Kyle McLachlan is very excited to see. Arroyo is a good boxer and a wicked puncher, and his two losses aren't bad ones. His first was a four-round decision early in his career, the second a close defeat in Thailand to Amnat Ruenroeng in 2014. Gonzalez, of course, is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world today, at least to most of us.
Cons: Uh, it's not Juan Francisco Estrada? I mean, I guess there's that. Gonzalez is so good that this could wind up disappointing, too.
Badou Jack vs Lucian Bute, April 30 (SHO)
Pros: Jack is on a nice run and has certainly put his shock loss to Derek Edwards in 2014 in the rearview mirror. Bute looked solid in his fight last November with James DeGale, where he lost, but to arguably the best super middleweight in the sport right now. Is Jack as good as DeGale? Does the style matchup work better for Bute? This is a quietly intriguing matchup and a good fight on paper.
Cons: Bute is 36 and sort of just getting another title shot because he's still more famous than most guys at 168. I mean, his last fight was a clear loss, and he hasn't beaten a contender since 2011. Plus, even though Jack is coming off of back-to-back strong wins over Anthony Dirrell and George Groves, there is still some lingering doubt about how good he really is.
Victor Ortiz vs Andre Berto, April 30 (FOX)
Pros: Two guys who at their best come to fight and can make for good action. Both can punch, and their 2011 fight was an instant classic, a back and forth battle that Ortiz won, which saved a career that was seemingly floundering despite his talent. Even if these guys aren't top contenders at 147 anymore, there's a decent chance the fight is going to be a brawl, because that's just how they match up. Gatti-Ward wasn't a meeting of elites, either.
Cons: Neither of these guys are who they were in 2011. Berto is 3-3 since losing to Ortiz, beating Jan Zaveck, Steve Upsher Chambers, and Josesito Lopez, and losing to Robert Guerrero, Jesus Soto Karass, and Floyd Mayweather. Ortiz is 2-3 since beating Berto, losing to Floyd Mayweather, Josesito Lopez, and Luis Collazo, and beating Manuel Perez and Gilberto Sanchez Leon. The hunger they each had in 2011 is not there anymore. Ortiz has suffered a pair of serious injuries, and when he was hit clean by Luis Collazo in 2014, he crumbled. Berto has dealt with injuries, too. Plus, they're both older. In a way, this feels like a slightly better version of the Hopkins-Jones or Mosley-Mayorga rematches from recent years.
Other fights of note in April: Adrien Broner vs Ashley Theophane (April 1, Spike); Arthur Abraham vs Gilberto Ramirez (April 9, HBO PPV); Lee Selby vs Eric Hunter (April 9, Sky Box Office); Jesus Soto Karass vs Yoshihiro Kamegai (April 15, Estrella TV); Gary Russell Jr vs Patrick Hyland (April 16, SHO); Jose Pedraza vs Stephen Smith (April 16, SHO); Errol Spence Jr vs Chris Algieri (April 16, NBC); Krzysztof Glowacki vs Steve Cunningham (April 16, NBC); Nonito Donaire vs Zsolt Bedak (April 23); Anthony Dirrell vs Caleb Truax (April 29, Spike); Andre Dirrell vs Blake Caparello (April 29, Spike); Jonathan Guzman vs Daniel Rosas (April 29, Spike); James DeGale vs Rogelio Medina (April 30, SHO); Edwin Rodriguez vs Thomas Williams Jr (April 30, FOX); Fernando Montiel vs Jorge Lara (April 30, FOX); Billy Joe Saunders vs Max Bursak (April 30, BoxNation); Ovill McKenzie vs Dmytro Kucher (April 30, BoxNation).