Xmas wish list, the fights I want to be made in 2006

05.12.05 - By Andy Meacock: The year 2005 has been quite a good year for boxing. Weíve seen some of the biggest and best names slug it out inside the ring. My favourite fights this year have probably been Diego Corrales v Jose Luis Castillo 1 and Erik Morales v Manny Pacquiao. Both were epics battles and both fights will be happening again in the year 2006.

Other big fights that have been confirmed for the year 2006 are Shane Mosley v Fernando Vargas, Oscar de la Hoya v Ricardo Mayorga, both fights are at junior middleweight. Weíll finally see a unification match at super middleweight between Jeff Lacy and Joe Calzaghe, plus we should see a big fight at heavyweight between Hasim Rahman and James Toney. If you add the two fights I mentioned in the first paragraph, then 2006 is starting to shape up nicelyÖ

So below is a list of the four fights that Iíd most like to see happen in 2006.

Zab Judah v Floyd Mayweather Jr - WBC/WBA/IBF welterweight championships:

Ever since Mayweather Jr destroyed Arturo Gatti in June there has been talk of this fight materialising. Both Mayweather Jr and Judah are naturally gifted boxers. They are arguably the most naturally gifted boxers of their generation and this fight makes sense. The problem is that they share other things in common, the main thing being an ego. This fight should have been made for November but due to disagreements over contracts and finances the fight didnít happen.

Will this happen in 2006?

I hope and I think that this fight will happen in 2006. There has been too much hype, too much talk for this fight not to happen. Bob Arum and Don King are canny promoters and they realise the potential in this bout, so we can expect this fight to happen in the first half of next year.

Ricky Hatton v Miguel Cotto Ė IBF/WBA/WBO light welterweight championships:

Hatton is currently the IBF and WBA light welterweight title holder. Cotto is the WBO light welterweight title holder. As mentioned above, WBC light welterweight champion Mayweather Jr looks set to vacate his title, so the only logical fight at this weight is Hatton v Cotto. Hatton is on an all time high after a career defining wins over Kostya Tszyu and Carlos Maussa. Cotto on the other hand has been looking slightly shaky of late and had a genuine struggle against unknown Columbian slugger Carlos Torres.

On the basis of the current form of these men you might assume that Hatton would be too much for Cotto. Boxing however is an unpredictable sport and Cotto may just have the right style to defeat the forward fighting Hatton. Thatís why this is a great fight for 2006. Will this fight happen?. Itís possible that it could happen. Hatton will be out of the ring for 6 months after suffering cuts in his victory over Maussa. He is also rumoured to be fighting Arturo Gatti when he returns in May. If we assume he defeats the shop worn Gatti, then he will have plenty of options as to who comes next, hopefully Cotto.

Marco Antonio Barrera v Manny Pacquaio Ė probably at junior lightweight:

In November 2003, Pacquaio gave Barrera the beating of his career. It was such a one sided beating that many people doubted whether Barrera would continue to box. Many felt Barrera was done. What many didnít realise that Barrera was to make one of the most inspiring career comebacks of recent times. Since that loss, Barrera has been simply awesome in his fights. He is currently the WBC/IBF junior lightweight champion and has won his last four fights convincingly.

Pacquaio by comparison has not been quite as consistent since defeating Barrera. He has won two of his four fights, losing to Morales and drawing with the underrated and often forgotten Juan Manuel Marquez. Now in fairness to Pacquaio, Morales and Marquez are not slouches but the fact is Barrera has gone from strength to strength and Pacquaio not been quite as consistent since they fought in 2003.

Plus when you consider all the troubles that Barrera has in camp prior to the first Pacquaio fight - i.e. the brain scan/metal plate controversy and the change of camp due to weather issues, itís fair to contemplate and consider that a rematch could be very different.

Will this fight happen ?. I think it might. Barrera is likely to battle Jesus Chavez for the IBF lightweight title in March and Pacquaio fights Morales in a January rematch. Iím picking Barrera to defeat Chavez and I think Pacquaio will defeat Morales in the rematch. Barrera is not a natural lightweight and I think will drop back down and try to avenge his loss to Pacquiao at 130lps. This is probably the fight I want to see most in 2006.

Erik Morales v Acelino Freitas Ė probably at lightweight

Diego Corrales and Juan Luis Castillo have given us two great fights at lightweight (well kind of lightweight! haha). One man who is often forgotten in this division is Acelino Freitas. Freitas embarrassed himself when he fought and quit against Corrales in August 2004. Sadly for Freitas, people often remember infamy over glory and he may be haunted for years to come over his decision to quit that night. That said, Freitas is undoubtedly a very exciting fighter and he packs a punch.

Freitas is currently out of the picture at lightweight due to the forthcoming Castillo/Corrales rubber match and Morales faces Pacquaio in January. If Iím right and Pacquaio does defeat Morales then I think this would be a great fight for both men. It would be a great fight for the fans, a potential brawl.

Will this fight happen ?. Possibly not because Freitas is claiming a rematch clause was part of the contract with Corrales. This claim seems fairly valid by all accounts. Saying that, I am not convinced that Freitas genuinely wants to fight Corrales again. Corrales clearly got to Freitas last time out and I think that Freitas might be prepared to waive the rematch clause and move on. If so then Morales and Freitas could happen as itís a great fight on paper.

So they are the four main fights Iíd like to see be made in 2006. There are a few other interesting match ups that could be made, especially at heavyweight. Iíd like to see how Antonio Tarver would look against Mike Tyson or James Toney. Wladimir Klitschko v James Toney would be interesting. A Klitschko rematch with Lamon Brewster could be good also and would be a true assessment of how Klitschko has progressed since those shaky performances a year or so ago.

Looking forward to 2006?, I know I am!

Article posted on 05.12.2005

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