Five Boxing Predictions For 2008

miguel cottoby James Slater: The truly great news that cruiserweight powerhouses David Haye and Enzo Maccarinelli are finally set to meet has inspired me to make a few boxing predictions for the new year. Kicking off with a prediction on the cruiserweight mega-fight, I give my take on what I feel will transpire - both inside and outside the ring - once bell one rings for the year 2008. 2007 was a great year for fight fans, but what will 2008 bring? Here goes with the crystal ball.

Prediction one: David Haye will KO Enzo Maccarinelli, in a fight that thrills all.

How can this fight fail to be an exciting one? Another good question regarding this bout is who amongst us would put money on it going the full 12 rounds? Quite simply, bombs, and serious ones at that, will be exploding in ring centre come March 8th. Haye, the better boxer, has met better quality of opposition, yet I believe Maccarinelli is the slightly harder one-punch hitter. Enzo's power is frightening. Combine this with the probability that David will have been forced to do some serious boiling down to make weight before he climbs through the ropes, and you have a tough night's work for "The Hayemaker." Despite this, however, I still take the reigning world king at 200 pounds to prevail. He will almost certainly have to go through some hell and high water to get there, but watch for Haye and his superior boxing ability - along with his own vaunted power, of course - to get an up-from-the-canvas-win in around 7 or 8 rounds. One thing that is almost 100% certain is the fact that an instant classic surely awaits us on March the 8th!

Prediction two: Manny Pacquaio will beat Juan Manuel Marquez in their rematch.

Another great fight set for the month of March. Fight one, held back in 2004, was a thrillingly close encounter. Who thinks fight two won't be? It will, and there also exists the possibility that the Mexican boxer will emerge with the win this time. A Marquez win is not this writer's pick, however. With Pacquiao's firepower and speed, the possibility exists that Marquez will find himself hurt quickly once again. As with other Mexican fighters, Marquez is a slow starter, and that can prove disastrous against the Filipino dynamo - as it almost did in round number one of their initial meeting, of course. Having said that, Marquez is a much better boxer then Pacquaio. Look for another great start from "Pac-Man," with perhaps a knockdown or a wobble being suffered by the Mexican, only for Marquez to get into his groove and box his way to the final bell. It won't be quite as tight as their first fight, but not far from it. I take Pacquiao to win a close, but unanimous, decision on March the 15th in Las Vegas.

Prediction Three: Oscar De La Hoya will fight Miguel Cotto in 2008.

"The Golden Boy's" next fight announcement is set to take place in two weeks or so. When it does, I predict Oscar will name the unbeaten Miguel Cotto as his next foe. As dangerous as Cotto may be, De La Hoya loves a challenge. And now that a De La Hoya fight with Ricky Hatton has lost a lot of its appeal due to "The Hitman's" comprehensive beating at the hands of Floyd Mayweather, Oscar has no choice but to look elsewhere for a match-up the fans will flock to see. Sure, a De La Hoya-Hatton fight would still sell, but who would be willing to put much stock in a Hatton win? No, Oscar will challenge the sensational Puerto Rican and a genuine blockbuster will be on the cards. The fight may take place at a catch-weight, but it will happen. As to who I think is going to win, however, I will reserve judgement until a later date.

Prediction four: Floyd Mayweather will not fight at all in 2008.

Though he is both at his peak and has also announced his intentions of retirement before, 2008 will, I believe, see Mayweather keeping his word for much longer than when he last said he was done fighting. "Pretty Boy's" niggling aches and pains have been plaguing him for some time, as those who saw the 24/7 build up to his fight with Ricky Hatton will know, and a break from boxing will suit him as a result. It will annoy both his fans and his critics alike, but look for the sport's number one pound-for-pound king to take a back seat in the next 12 months, during which time he will concentrate on his promotional work and spending time with his family. And as for Floyd's talk of moving into MMA, forget it!

Prediction five: Matt Skelton will win his WBA heavyweight title fight showdown with Ruslan Chagaev.

2007 has been a very fine year for British boxers. Look for 2008 to begin in equally promising fashion for the U.K and its fighters when the huge Matt Skelton mauls his way to a close points win over the unbeaten WBA champ, Ruslan Chagaev. The fight, set for January 19th in Germany, is a voluntary for the younger man in Chagaev. After 6 or 7 tough and extremely physical rounds with the freakishly strong Skelton, the defending champion will wish he'd chosen someone else for his comeback fight. Sure, Skelton doesn't look to get any favours boxing in Germany (Chagaev has boxed there many times) and the 40-year-old is no sweet boxer. Both these issues aside, however, I take Matt to bull his way inside, rough Chagaev up some, tire him out by the late rounds, and win a close decision. Great Britain will have a new heavyweight champion of the world come January the 19th 2008!

Article posted on 29.12.2007

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