28.10.05 – By Jim Amato: All I can say is, “Holy Smokes!” If this is a preview of things to come, then the upcoming year in boxing should be a good one. Three tentatively scheduled bouts could create a lot of fan interest and some serious fireworks. For starters, former champions, Shane Mosley and Fernando Vargas are rumored to be on a collision course on February 25th. I find this to be a very intriguing match up that, I wish, would have taken place a few years ago, when both were on top of their game.. However, it still it should be interesting and the winner will be in line for a nice future payday, while the loser may have to consider retirement. This is truly a “crossroads” match for two fine boxers. I always felt Shane was the better of the two, yet if Mosley has slowed down too much and is forced to go to war with Vargas, then to me that increases Fernando’s chances of winning.
On March 25th Marcos Antonio Barrera may challenge IBF lightweight titleholder Jesus Chavez. This has the makings of a terrific fight. Chavez is a strong, durable fighter and a hard hitter. Barrera is an outstanding boxer / puncher who has been one of the best fighters of this era. This will be quite a test for the aging but still capable Barrera. My initial gut feeling is that Marcos may have bit off a little too much here. Jesus Chavez is finally fulfilling all the potential he was always said to have. Barrera is on the downside of his fabulous career. Although I understand Barrera want to move up and win a title in another weight class, I feel this is a bad match for him. I’ll go with Chavez by a late, come from behind knockout.
Then on May 6th it may be Oscar De La Hoya returning to fight Ricardo Mayorga for the WBC junior middleweight title. So many questions going in. How much does Oscar have left ? Will he be too rusty after such a lengthy layoff? I always felt Mayorga was over rated. He’s not a bad fighter but, to me, the De La Hoya who dismantled Fernando Vargas would have a field day with Mayorga. Is that the Oscar we will see May 6th if the fight comes off? As far as I’m concerned, even if Oscar is only 80% of what he was, he has the style to take Mayorga apart. Also, there should be some motivational inspiration for Oscar. If he gets past Mayorga, he could call out the winner of Mosley-Vargas. There is some definite history there. He could challenge Jermain Taylor for the middleweight title if Jermain is successful in turning back Bernard Hopkins this December. He could also invite welterweight champion Zab Judah to move up and challenge him. All of those bouts would create a nice financial return for the “Big O.” Like he really needs the money…Still if Oscar is trying to etch his name in history, a win over Mayorga will open a lot of doors.
2006 may just be quite a year !