Great fights that may happen in 2011

By By Mark Klimaszewski: 2010 was a late bloomer. We had some great fights through the first 8 or 9 months. Kessler vs Froch, Perez vs Mares, Escalante vs Roman and Calderon vs Segura were all action packed battles that left fans happy.

But from November onwards we were spoiled. Pacquiao vs Margarito was alot more entertaining than many would have imagined. Marquez vs Lopez, Marquez vs Katsidis, Soto vs Antillon, Khan vs Maidana and Mares vs Darchinyan were all FOTY candidates. Then Pascal vs Hopkins turned out to be a much more exciting fight than many had anticipated. And there were, I’m sure, several more great fights that I never got to see (being based in the UK means too many fights are missed due to poor coverage on UK TV).

So, what does next year hold? There’s already been some speculation about the big fights expected to happen next year (Haye vs Klitschko, Pacquiao vs Mosley, Bradley vs Alexander, Khan vs the winner, Froch vs Johnson to name a few). But there are several more would-be classics waiting to happen. Here is my pick of potential match-ups the fans would love, that could (and should) get the green light in 2011:

Marquez vs Soto

Now Pacquiao has officially signed to fight Sugar Shane Mosley in May, Marquez will no doubt be peeved.
But..... God works in mysterious ways and it’s probably for the best that Juan doesn’t face Manny in what could’ve ended up being a debilitating beating for the aging Mexican warrior.

Now, more than likely, we will see Erik Morales get the fight he has recently been calling out for; but the real fight fans would like to see Marquez unify the WBC belt with his other titles by taking on fellow Mexican and skilled pugilist- Humberto Soto.

This would be a great fight for the hardcore fans and for good reason; both guys are skilled boxer-punchers and like to fight. It would be an aggressive, chess-type battle in the early rounds and a full on tear up by round 6 onwards! Who wins? Most would say Marquez because he is a more polished fighter.
Let’s hope we get to find out.......

Lopez vs Gamboa

Supporters of these two have been calling for a fight between them for a while now. Both have devastating punching power; both have supposedly suspect chins; both hold titles at featherweight (Lopez has the WBO, Gamboa has the WBA and IBF belts) and both guys are undefeated.

What’s not to get excited about? Although it can be argued Lopez has faced the better quality opposition (cemented by retiring a brave Rafael Marquez by round 9 in November) these guys are still regarded as the best in the 126lbs division, alongside undefeated Indonesian Chris John (who is now campaigning at super feather).
Who wins? Hard to say right now but most opinions lean towards Lopez.
Hopefully in 2011 we will finally get to find out......

Nonito Donaire vs Fernando Montiel

I believe this fight has been signed for February. Donaire continues his quest to climb the P4P rankings in his second fight at bantamweight against the formidable Montiel. With the WBA and WBO straps on the line, this has the makings of a great boxing match. Montiel is regarded by many as perhaps a heavier hitter than Donaire but both men have power, excellent ring IQ and punch accuracy. Donaire is slick and can switch stance at will, Montiel can change the course of a fight with a single shot. You can bet it will be a great display of skill and may end in a KO.

Who wins? Donaire is the favourite going in. Although only his second trip to 118lbs, his fans believe he will be the bigger man in the ring. Still, Montiel cannot be taken lightly. Either way it will be possibly the toughest fight of both men’s careers. Not too long ‘til we find out either.....

Sergio Martinez vs Dmitry Pirog

Sergio ‘Maravilla’ Martinez has etched his name into the minds of fight fans in 2010 with two superb, career-defining victories. Considered by many experts as an underdog going in against middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik, Maravilla shocked the world by out boxing The Ghost to a wide UD back in April.

Then, in his rematch with Punisher Paul Williams in November, he shocked the world again by cleanly KOing the usually sturdy-chinned Williams in round 2.

Undefeated World Boxing Organization (WBO) champ Pirog also shocked many in the boxing world by KOing then undefeated Daniel Jacobs to grab the vacant WBO belt in July.

With Martinez having no obvious choice of opponent right now, this fight could well be on the cards in 2011. Difficult to judge how it would pan out (admittedly, the only fight of Pirog I have seen is the Jacobs one); this could end up being a very entertaining fight. Obviously, Martinez has the edge in experience and ring craft. But Pirog is certainly an unknown quantity with a quirky style and a good punch. Let’s wait and see, eh?

Rematches that should happen next year:

Hopkins vs Pascal II

For obvious reasons this needs to happen. A close fight that I thought Hopkins had the edge in, their meeting last week proved to be better than we had imagined. Hopkins isn’t getting any younger, but looked the best he has in ages. This rematch needs to happen sooner rather than later and preferably somewhere more neutral. Can the old-timer squeeze out a more definitive performance this time around?

Calderon vs Segura II

This was certainly one of the year’s best fights, with Calderon receiving his first defeat at the hands of relentless pressure fighter Giovanni Segura. There was superb back and forth action throughout, ending with Ivan taking a knee for the 10 count after suffering sustained punishment to the body.

In fact, the fight- in style and conclusion- held many similarities to the 2008 battle between Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito.

There’s every chance the Iron Boy can come back stronger to reclaim his crown and avenge his only defeat. And I’m sure Segura will be happy to go again. Here’s hoping this one comes off....

Cotto vs Margarito II

Well, this was deemed a pointless exercise after their first fight by some fans. But, post ‘plaster-gate’, and Margarito’s humbling beating at the hands of the P4P #1 in November, it now seems a lot more feasible. Cotto going on to fight superbly against Yuri Foremen earlier this year adds more to the speculation that Emmanuel Steward has re-invented the Puerto Rican warrior. Suddenly, the fight makes a whole lot of sense. Can Cotto avenge the brutal defeat that took a portion of his soul (some believe) and left him haunted by the ‘ghost of Margarito’ for sometime after? Only one way to find out.....
Here’s to another great year in boxing!

Article posted on 25.12.2010

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