Although 2010 wasn’t our best year, our sport being relatively…well turgid for most of the year, we, as boxing fans need to put it behind us and look towards 2011. Lets not look back and think of what could have been but what should be. What we are going to look at here are 10 reasons why boxing fans should be looking forward to this year, whether or not the powers that be allow us to have them all are another matter. The list is broken into 2, the first list is things that we are almost certain to get, the second list is things that we need to pray for a little bit though should, happen unless last years bad luck runs into this year.
What we WILL have:
1-Super 6 Finale
With just the Semi Final and Final of the Super Six Boxing Classic, the Showtime tournament to find the best (or second best) Super Middleweight in the world. The tournament seems to have been going on since the birth of Jesus (or something else that happened year ago), though should be coming to the end after the final 3 fights. Hopefully 2012 will start with the winner facing Lucian Bute in a fight that will finally decide the man to fill in the boots of Joe Calzaghe.
2-Bradley v Alexander
One of 2 big unification bouts in January (along with Shumenov v Breahmer) and one that means a lot. Though the WBC is apparently refusing to accept Bradley as champion if he wins, a win for either man will see them as the man who faces Amir Khan to be declared the man at 140. Bradley and Alexander are both unbeaten, young, hungry Americans, each with different strengths and flaws and both have had a good guy type of image, though in recent months Bradley has spoken out and perhaps hurt his public image slightly. The fight promises to allow the year to start on a high.
3-Montiel v Donaire
Few fights pit the fighters we want against each other, but this is one of those occasions where the two premier fighters in their division face off. Nonito Donaire (25-1) has failed repeatedly to follow up on his upset victory over Vic Darchinyan whilst Montiel (44-2-2) has blown chances to force his name into “pound for pound” conversations in the past. His win in Japan over Hozumi Hasegawa has given him the chance to prove he’s one of the best in the world and his WBO/WBC defence against Donaire is the sort of fight both men need. I’m siding with Cochulito, though the fight is nothing short of a 50-50 fight.
4-Soto v Antillon II
We may need to cross our fingers a little bit here, though it’s apparently all but a signed and sealed deal for the undercard of Pacquiao v Mosley. The first fight between the two was one of, if not the, best fight of 2010, if this live up to the none stop action of their first bout then we really need to tune in again. Antillon gave Humberto all he could handle and had it not been for the point deduction would have earned himself a draw in really great fight. Can the Crafty Little Fox manage to get the win again or will Antillon have learnt his lesson?
5-Mares v Agbeko and Darchinyan v Perez
Again we need to thank Showtime for this, but their “Bantamweight tournament” comes to an explosive end in a brilliant double header with the winners of the first fights and the losers meeting. Darchinyan always promises excitement and generally delivers, Mares could become a global star, Agbeko could add value to his ever growing reputation and Perez could try to re-establish himself after his first loss. The card, with a yet unspecified date is one of those must watch boxing nights, tell the wife you’ve got to work late, tell the kids Daddy need them in bed, and find a bar showing this, it will be worth it.
So now 5 we have to hope for:
1-Mayweather v Pacquiao
The longer this fight takes to get sorted the more likely it seems that either the loser will have “gotten old” or that it just flat out won’t happen. A shame for boxing if it doesn’t though hopefully Bob Arum and Oscar De La Hoya will realise they’ve lost out on a lot of money and decide to put their differences aside for the sake of the sport. Although Mayweather seems happy to get in trouble out side of the ring whilst Pacquiao seems to be adding more to his out of the ring workload, the heat and momentum is probably slowly dying on this one.
2-Klitschko v Haye
Either Klitschko, it really doesn’t matter as long as Haye gets in the ring with one of them. It’s probably a bigger fight in Europe right now than the Pac/May fight which has started to get fans shrugging their shoulders non-plussed by the problems of the fight. This is actually looking like it’s quite likely to happen thanks somewhat to a stomach (or back injury) to Wladamir Klitschko. Ironic really that Haye used an injury to get out of the same fight a few years back but Wlad has used the injury to force the fight.
3-Lopez v Gamboa
A fight boxing fans have been almost begging Bob Arum to give us for well over a year seems to be getting put back just as often as the two above, though with only Hozumi Hasegawa and Chris John to take care of now that Celestino Caballero has “eliminated” himself with a loss to Jason Litzau. Although this fight will only happen when Arum wants it to, the demand for it is here now, the two guys hold the WBA “Super” title, the WBO and the IBF title between them and are generally regarded as the top 10 in the division, lets have them fight then move their own ways “uncle” Bob, please.
4-The end…of the Mike Tyson rumours
They come around every few months, nothing seems to have ever given them much foundations they just appear like a bad smell every so often. Tyson turns 45 this year and has been out of the ring since June 2005, he will not be making any sort of a stupid comeback. Hopefully whoever starts these stupid and pointless rumours falls off a cliff in 2011 just so we don’t hear the same bogus story that seems to leak out all the time. Their will be no trilogy with Holyfield, their will be no money spinning bout in the middle east and most importantly, their will be no more Mike Tyson in a boxing ring.
5-The emergence of a few fighters
Hopefully 2011 will see fighters like David Lemiuex, Saul Alvarez, James DeGale, Masao Nakamura, Rico Ramos, Dmitry Pirog, Matty Askin and Kazuto Ioka becoming the stars their talent deserves. Although they are at various stages of their careers, from World champion to relatively unknown prospect they could all do with one of those massive years that sees them becoming a star. This is obviously going to happen to some of them, though hopefully Pirog will go back to America to defend his title and DeGale will get a world title tilt by the end of the year.