2014- A year to remember?

By Steve Bateson on January 5, 2014
2014- A year to remember?
What can we look forward to in 2014?

In part 1 we took a look back at 2013, a fantastic and undeniably eventful year for boxing. But now we turn our attention to the next twelve months and dare to dream that perhaps the sport we love is going to deliver even more jaw-dropping moments in 2014.

On both sides of the Pond there is a lot of anticipation for the upcoming annum and it easy to get excited when you delve a little deeper and imagine the prospects and potential fights that could be on the horizon.

The Heavyweight Division

For over a decade the Klitschko brothers, Wladimir and Vitali, have ruled with an iron-first and their dominance has been unquestionable. Perhaps not the most fan-friendly fighters but they have never shied away from a challenge, unfortunately they haven’t met one for quite some time. But with Vitali choosing to hang up his gloves and concentrate on a political career the WBC Championship has now become vacant, a decision that has sparked life into the young lion’s trying to stake a claim to the pride. For too a long a lack of competitive bouts has been cited in a “boring” division but step forward Bermaine Stiverne, Chris Arreola, Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder, even a “retired” David Haye, among others, and already the scene is looking a little brighter. Stiverne and Arreola are likely to get the first chance to fight for the vacant strap but with Heavyweight boxing returning to America and back in the spotlight, we could be about to witness a resurgence for the blue ribbon division. Hopefully in 2014 fight fans get to see potential matchups between many of these contenders, sparking life into a weight class that has remained stagnant for a long time.

The Mayweather Express

Can it be de-railed? Floyd Mayweather now finds himself at 45-0 and with four fights left on his record-breaking contract with Showtime it is becoming difficult to imagine who is going to receive one of those final, lucrative, shots at the big time. Amir Khan is reported to be a banker for Mayweather’s May 3rd date and although the Briton possesses the speed to cause difficulties it is highly unlikely that he will be able to box to a gameplan for long enough to mount a serious challenge. So who else is there? Marcos Maidana is now hot property after beating Adrien Broner but surely far too one dimensional to challenge “Money”? Other names mentioned have been Danny Garcia, Timothy Bradley and, unsurprisingly, a “superfight” with former P4P king Manny Pacquiao. Personally, with Mayweather guaranteed two dates this year, I would like to see Timothy Bradley get the call up for May 3rd and then, although much too late, Mayweather and Pac-Man to finally step up to the play and give the fans the fight that will go down in history.

And the rest

As a fight fan I would like to see the issues between Top Rank and Goldenboy settled so that we can witness a ton more of mouth-watering bouts in 2014. Mega fights are guaranteed regardless but with those two huge behemoths of boxing working hand in hand it would present the potential for stacked cards that widen the eyes of every paying customer. Fans in the UK would love to see something similar between Frank Warren and Eddie Hearn, opening up the doors for Scott Quigg and Carl Frampton to finally settle their differences and prove who the number one super bantamweight in this country is.

Is it too much to ask for the leading organisations and bodies to do away with all these nonsense championships and multiple world champions in one division? How can one body recognise two men as their world champion at one time? And what makes someone a “Silver” champion, is it when you are not quite up to the Gold standard? I have no issues with four world champions per division, IBF,WBC,WBO,WBA,  but I have no time for “interims”, “understudies” or whatever else they seem to award belts for nowadays. Let us have clear and concise rankings, matching the best against the best, and try to make sure that when somebody is defending a “World Championship” that they actually fought a ranked contender to earn it.

From a British perspective I would like to see Carl Froch open up the door on a George Groves re-match. Froch lost a lot of respect from the fans with his comments regarding Groves in the aftermath of their war in November and he knows himself that there will always be question marks surrounding that victory unless he puts all doubts to bed. I understand Froch wants to chase the big payday re-match with Andre Ward, possibly in Las Vegas, but he and Groves have unfinished business to attend to before Froch can even think of facing “S.O.G” again. I’d also like to see Kell Brook step up to world title level and prove that he has the talent to shine at the elite standard. Same goes for Scott Quigg and Carl Frampton,  who if they are not to fight each other then must be looking at Kiko Martinez and Leo Santa Cruz for clashes this year.

On the other side of the Atlantic I would like to see a continuation of great fights at Light Welter and Welterweight. With Provodkinov, Garcia, Guerrero, Khan, Broner, Mattyhsse, Rios, Bradley, Porter, Peterson, Thurman, Alexander, Marquez, Maidana, Pacquaio and Mayweather then there is no reason why we shouldn’t have at least half a dozen 50-50 bouts in the next twelve months. Gennady Golovkin also needs to step up and hopefully clash with Sergio Martinez or Peter Quillin, whilst Miguel Cotto and Saul Alvarez would be a fantastic fight at Light Middle for May or September. Then there is the small matter of Sergey Kovalev and Adonis Stevenson, the two stone-fisted fighters have to collide for 175lb supremacy.

It would also be nice to see Golden Boy’s system of stacking cards full of competitive fights adopted by all promotions on both sides of the Atlantic. It was fantastic to tune in for shows that had at least two world championship bouts and a handful of pick ‘ems instead of the usual upcoming prospects against hand-picked pushovers. Here is to 2014, another successful year for the boxing business and boxing fan alike.

Below I have listed two fights for each weight class (and a few extras from a British point of view) that I would love to see in 2014 and my picks for breakout star:

Breakout star:
Mikey Garcia (Already a two weight world champion but I believe there is much more to come)

Fights for 2014:

Heavyweight

Deontay Wilder vs Mike Perez
Bermaine Stiverne/Chris Arreola vs Wladimir Klitschko
Tyson Fury vs Dereck Chisora II

Cruiserweight

Marco Huck vs Yoan Hernandez
Denis Lebedev vs Ola Afolabi
Tony Bellew vs Nathan Cleverly II

Light Heavyweight

Sergey Kovalev vs Adonis Stevenson
Beibut Shumenov vs Jean Pascal

Super Middleweight

Andre Ward vs Gennady Golovkin (Catchweight)
Carl Froch vs George Groves II

Middlweight

Gennady Golovkin vs Sergio Martinez
Peter Quillin vs Martin Murray
Andy Lee vs Matthew Macklin

Light Middlweight

Miguel Cotto vs Canelo Alvarez
Sergey Rabchenko vs James Kirkland
Demetrius Andrade vs Brian Rose

Welterweight

Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao
Marcos Maidana vs Keith Thurman
Shawn Porter vs Kell Brook
Robert Guerrero vs Amir Khan

Light Welterweight

Ruslan Provodkinov vs Danny Garcia
Lucas Mattyhsse vs Brandon Rios

Lightweight

Yuriorkas Gamboa vs Omar Figueroa
Adrien Broner vs Terence Crawford
Kevin Mitchell vs Miguel Vasquez

Super Featherweight

Mikey Garcia vs Takashi Uchiyama
Rances Barthelemy vs Argenis Mendez II

Featherweight

Abner Mares vs Gary Russell Jnr
Nicholas Walters vs Evgeny Gradovich

Super Bantamweight

Scott Quigg vs Carl Frampton
Leo Santa Cruz vs Nonito Donaire

Bantamweight

Stuart Hall vs Jamie McDonnell
Shinsuke Yamanaka vs Anselmo Moreno

Super Flyweight

Omar Narvaez vs Srisaket Sor Rungvisai

Flyweight

Juan Estrada vs Giovani Segura

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