31.12.05 – By Paul Ruby: And, I will end with my wish-list for 2006:
1. Mayweather, Judah, Gatti, Mosley (or any other high-profile opponent): For the love of God, can someone please give Antonio Margarito a shot!
2. HBO or Showtime: Put Jorge Arce on the TELEVISED undercard of a big-time fight with a couple hundred thousand people watching. He’s the most exciting little guy in the sport and his following should be much bigger.
3. Nacho Beristain: You’re a great trainer – one of the best in the last 20 years – but a horrible manager! You’re running the careers of the Marquez brothers into the ground, so why don’t you turn the matchmaking side of your duties over to someone who can set them up with great fights and paydays they deserve. The way it stands now, you’re sending Juan Manuel Marquez to Indonesia to fight Chris John for about $32,000. It doesn’t take an MBA to figure out that’s far less than he should command!
4. Joe Mesi: a successful and healthy return to the ring. You’ve persevered and won your court battle, now it’s time to get back in shape and pick up where you left off.
5. Roy Jones: simply put, retire after you face Hopkins. I know it’s good money, but you’re already starting to bastardize your legacy. A good case can now be made that you should not be considered a top-20 all-time Light Heavyweight. And that says nothing about the health risks involved!
6. Jermain Taylor: Fix your technical flaws. I hate to say it, but this may require a new trainer. You give up your height by keeping your legs so far apart. You don’t always judge distance that well. You’ve got gifts that almost no one in boxing has – please make the most of them. And don’t sign to fight Winky Wright until you’ve made some improvements.
7. Shane Mosley: Start throwing combinations again! You were once among the most exciting fighters in the game – what happened?
8. Ricky Hatton vs. Jose Luis Castillo or Diego Corrales: I don’t need to explain this one. Let Hatton face a non-threatening foe in April, and then get his fight set up for August or September.
9. Jeff Lacy: Beat Joe Calzaghe convincingly. Calzaghe had a world of talent, but now he’s old and not the fighter he once was. It is Jeff Lacy’s time to stake his claim to the throne of the 168-pound division
10. Exciting heavyweight fights: I think most of us are tired of the snooze-fests we’ve been forced to endure recently. Let’s see exciting guys like James Toney, Joe Mesi, Calvin Brock, Samuel Peter, and Wladimir Klitschko in the ring against other worthy opponents.
Everyone else – have a happy and safe 2006!