Now that we got our long awaited dream fight with Manny Pacquiao versus Floyd Mayweather on May 2nd. It’s time for us to be greedy as boxing fans and work on the next fights that simply must happen. While some fights may not be as big or newsworthy as others to the casual fan. I can assure you that all the fights on the list are fights that must happen and will elevate our sport to new heights in the near future.
These matchups take into consideration championship belts, fighters drawing power, possible bad blood feuds and a few other ingredients fans normally like to see. If you are of the opinion that boxing will have no more big fights left after the Pacman-Floyd fight you are sorely mistaken. Not only are there more big-time fights to be had, there are more than the ten that we are listing for this article.
Here are a few noteworthy fights that didn’t quite make the top 10:
Canelo vs. Cotto – This fight was very close to being made until Canelo decided to take his ball and go home because he did not get and answer fast enough from Cotto. Nonetheless, it is still a good option for the future that will be sure to revive the Mexican–Puerto Rican rivalry.
Andre Ward vs. Carl Froch – Yes we already saw this fight play out in Atlantic City, but it is only fair that Ward goes off to the UK for the rematch. At this point, Ward is not a draw, and Froch is, so unless Ward is going to keep begging GGG to come up in weight or start taking tune-ups. He is kind of stuck without a big fight. Froch, on the other hand, has some options and doesn’t necessarily need Ward to make money so it may or may not happen depending on how the two feel.
Marcos Maidana vs. Amir Khan – This fight also already happened once but since then both guys have improved and could use each other right now since neither has a fight lined up. Khan could try to beat Marcos in a more dominant fashion than Floyd did and use that as an angle to get a fight with the pound for pound king.
Gennady Golovkin vs. Julio Caesar Chavez Jr. – This fight was on and then off, once Bob Arum threatened litigation. If it comes to fruition, it will be a good test for both men and could skyrocket GGG into a PPV draw.
10. Terence “Bud” Crawford (25(17)-0-0) versus Danny “Swift” Garcia (29(17)-0-0) – When Crawford announced his move from 135lbs to 140lbs the first fight that came to mind was against the current lineal champion Danny Garcia. Crawford is a rising star that is in need of a big name to further elevate himself into stardom. Garcia is a champion that has been fighting less than stellar competition as of late and has been questioned because of this. These two have a history in the amateurs with the score being 1-1 both hold wins over one another. Combined these men could put on a hell of a bout, and the winner would put themselves in line for the likes of Mayweather and Pacquiao fight as well.
9. Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (42(36)-0-0) versus Naoya “Monster” Inoue (8(7)-0-0) – These are probably the two least known fighters on this list to the casual fan because they are flyweights. Now this doesn’t mean they are not worthy of recognition. Chocolatito is a beast in the ring plain and simple. He has great boxing skills and he always goes for the KO. Inoue is truly a “Monster”. Don’t let the 8 fights fool you. He destroyed Omar Narvaez in his last fight inside of 2 rounds and made it look easy in his flyweight debut.
That was a feat that not even Nonito Donaire could not accomplish in 12 rounds. If you want to watch two skilled fighters that look to destroy their opponents, then you need to look no further. If this fight can happen on the undercard of a major headliner, I can guarantee that the viewers would not be disappointed and hopefully these guys could get a decent paycheck as well while there at it.
8. Keith “One Time” Thurman (24(21)-0-0) versus Amir “King” Khan (30(19)-3(2)-0) – Thurman is in search of a career defining fight and Khan is in need of a credible welterweight opponent so this fight makes perfect sense. Khan is a bit “chinny” as they say, but we have also seen Thurman hurt as well. Both are looking to get into the Mayweather sweepstakes, and the winner of this bout would truly be deserving. If Keith can dispatch of Khan in impressive fashion he will be most assuredly be a viable opponent for Floyd and if Amir can survive the fight to get the win he will not only have Floyd as a realistic option but he will have the Pacman as well.
7. Scott Quigg (30(22)-0-2) vs Carl “The Jackal” Frampton (20(14)-0-0) – The super bantamweight division has a lot of talent right now and along with the 2 other champions that are on this list, these guys are in dire need of a big fight so why not fight each other in a domestic level showdown. Both champions have been very impressive as of late and have had a great urging from their British and Irish fans respectively to help get them in the ring. This is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, fights that can be made in Europe right now. To have both of these fighters take each other on while they are undefeated and trending upwards, would be a huge boost to European boxing as a whole. They could easily sell out a stadium somewhere and depending on the outcome we could see a rematch the likes of Froch-Groves 2 as well.
6. Adrien “The Problem” Broner (29(22)-1-0) versus Danny “Swift” Garcia (29(17)-0-0) – Even before Marcos Maidana beat the brakes off of Adrien Broner, there was a yearning for these 2 fighters to step into the ring together. Now that Broner has moved down to 140 the fight can become a reality. Both fighters are young and in their primes right now so the fight makes all the sense in the world. Add in the fact that both fighters are with Al Haymon and fighting on NBC and the fight could possibly get even bigger with more casual fan viewership. The winner would be turned into an instant star and possibly even the loser. Plus if these two are both going to stay at 140lbs than they are destined to fight anyway so why not give it to us sooner rather than later.
5. Leo “Teremoto” Santa Cruz (29(17)-0-1) vs Guillermo “El Chacal” Rigondeaux (15(10)-0-0) – Rigo is recognized as the true champ of the super bantamweight division but he can’t seem to get anyone to fight him for his belts. The combination of his fighting style (evasive/ running) and his lack of a fan base make him a high risk/low reward kind of fighter. Leo, however, is a come forward, throw punches in bunches, Mexican style fighter with a decent fan following when he is not fighting subpar competition. Both have called each other out in the past, but the fight has not come to fruition for one reason or another. Whether it be Al Haymon’s fault, HBO’s fault or just lack of interest from the casual fan, this fight has not happened, and it is truly a shame. Rigo is by far the more skilled fighter without a doubt, but Leo brings relentless pressure and enough power to crack Rigo’s weak chin. This fight needs to happen, and if the winner fights the Quigg-Frampton fight, we will be able to get an undisputed super bantamweight champ by next year.
4. Kell “Special K” Brook (33(22)-0-0) versus Amir “King” Khan (30(19)-3(2)-0) – Kell Brook came on the scene with an impressive and decisive victory over Shawn Porter last year. Before that he had been mainly fighting in the UK and awaiting a title shot while calling out Khan. Now that Khan has moved up to welterweight and Brook has a belt there isn’t a better time for the two combatants to fight. There’s just one problem.
It appears that Khan is ducking Brook and trying to downplay his position within the welterweight division. Sure Khan is desperate to fight Mayweather just like everyone else in boxing but he is now trying to weasel his way out of a particularly anticipated fight with Brook. Brook is easily the best welterweight in the UK (that includes Khan) and he also has a title belt that could be used to entice big named fighters such as Mayweather, Pacquiao, and Marquez.
The fight would easily sell out Wembley Stadium in the UK and become one of the biggest fights in British boxing history. Khan is now stuck without a dance partner after the fight of the century has been made and Brook should have an easy time dispatching of Jo Jo Dan in March so there should be no reason for this fight not to happen in the summer before Khan goes on Ramadan. If Khan chooses to fight another weak opponent and bypasses Brook, he will most assuredly confirm that he is ducking the champion in hopes of not taking another loss on his record.
3. Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder (33(32)-0-0) versus Wladimir “Dr. Steel Hammer” Klitschko (63(53)-3(3)-0) – One of the most anticipated, if not the most anticipated, fight on this list has to be this one. The heavyweight division has been very lackluster in the last 10 years or so and is in desperate need of a revival. Wilder is the WBC heavyweight champion from the USA, and Klitschko is the lineal champion (with all the other belts) who has had a stranglehold on the division for what seems like forever now. Deontay is fast, powerful and fresh compared to all of Wladimir’s recent opponents and is most definitely the best heavyweight not named Klitschko right now.
Wilders beat down of Stiverne in January showcased not only his power but his boxing skills as well. The way Wilder used his reach and height advantage in the fight gave all of us the hope that he could be the one to dethrone Wladimir in the very near future. Klitschko has a showdown with Jennings later this year, and unless he gets abducted by aliens between rounds, he should be able to dispatch of Jennings very easily. That will either set up a showdown between his mandatory challenger, Tyson Fury, or pave the way for a unification bout with Wilder.
Call me greedy but I’d rather see the unification fight first and then the winner gets Fury. Either way this fight will put the focus back on the heavyweight division and give us a long overdue heavyweight super fight.
2. Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (26(23)-0-1) versus Adonis “Superman” Stevenson (25(21)-1(1)-0) – The only thing “super” about Stevenson lately is the fact that he has fought “super” bad opponents and has been ducking Kovalev. Kovalev in the meanwhile has destroyed Bernard Hopkins and everyone else that has been put in his path. Now he is going to fight the number 3 guy in the division Jean Pascal while Adonis is fighting another substandard opponent. This fight should have happened over a year ago now and it is downright appalling that it hasn’t. For that reason, this is my number 2 fight that must be made ASAP.
Stevenson may have beaten the lineal champ in Chad Dawson, but Dawson was already done before they fought when he was knocked out by the Super Middleweight champion the fight before. Kovalev has most definitely surpassed Stevenson in every way due to his willingness to fight the best and beat the best. Do I have faith that this fight will happen? Nope. Does it need to happen? Yep. It seems at this point it will take the sanctioning bodies to get involved and make Kovalev the mandatory to Adonis so that they will finally fight and if that is what it takes then so be it. Fight fans deserve the fight, and so does Kovalev.
1. Miguel “Junito” Cotto (39(32)-4(2)-0) versus Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (32(29)-0-0) – Coming in at number 1 on the list is GGG versus Cotto. GGG has been on the cusp of being a truly huge crossover star for some time now. There’s just one problem. None of the big named fighters will fight him. He has fought 3-4 times a year for the last few years and still hasn’t had a PPV fight that would make him truly a household name. That could be remedied, however if he fought Cotto.
Cotto beat a badly faded Sergio Martinez for the lineal middleweight crown almost a year ago now, and he hasn’t fought since. It is true that Cotto is not really a middleweight, but that does not mean he should be holding the belt hostage versus fighting the true number 1 guy in the division. I can understand Cotto wanting a bigger named fights like a Canelo matchup or a Mayweather rematch, as opposed to fighting a wrecking ball who will most likely KO him if they every step in the ring but that does not make it right.
The middleweight division is a storied one with great champs, and it should be honored by having a unified champion. Cotto versus GGG will most definitely be a bigtime affair and will be one of the biggest fights that can happen in the near future. If it does happen, we will either have a new superstar and PPV draw in GGG, or we will see the legacy of Cotto grow by leaps and bounds. All they have to do is sign the contract like Floyd and Manny did so we can all find out.