Looking to the future

By Steve Bateson on October 19, 2013
Looking to the future
Boxing is thriving and there are some great fights on the horizon

Boxing is dead? I’ve heard the proclamation from certain quarters over the last couple of years, especially during the UFC boom period around 2009, but taking a look at some of the upcoming fights between now and the end of 2013 I cannot help but feel that rumours of the demise have been greatly exaggerated. If you want my opinion, boxing is healthier than it has been for some time.

You look past the shady officiating and the growing number of drug offenders, two subjects that need to be eradicated from the sport, and just take a look at what we have in store before the turn of the new year because as a boxing fan I believe there is a lot to get yourself excited about.

This the first in a series of articles that will look into what fight fans should look forward to over the next twelve months, division by division:

Light Weltwerweight- Welterweight

I thought we could group these two divisions together as the amount of fighters who move between both is undeniable. You take a look at the rankings of fighters between 140-147 pounds and tell me that those two divisions are not currently thriving. This year alone we have already witnessed two potential fights of the year (between Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado and Tim Bradley vs Ruslan Provodkinov) and there is still at least four more left on the calendar (Rios-Pacquiao, Alvarado-Provodkinov, Broner-Maidana and Thurman-Soto Karass) that have the potential to steal that mantle.

The beltholders include; Danny Garcia, Adrien Broner, Tim Bradley, Devon Alexander and, the future hall of famer, Floyd Mayweather Jnr. You group any of those fighters together and you are virtually guaranteed to see some action but even then you are barely scratching beneath the surface to unveil the strength in depth that these “rosters” possess.

Bring into mix names like; Former pound for pound king Manny Pacquiao, Marcos Maidana, Robert Guerrero, Amir Khan, Lucas Martin Matthysse and you can start to see the possibilities that are available to match-makers. There is no reason why we should not continue to see mouth-watering show downs in the foreseeable future because there is a plethora of contests to pick from, it is difficult to imagine a dull bout being finalised.

For most fighters that operate in these categories the holy grail is of course being hand-picked as one of Floyd Mayweather’s remaining four opponents, guaranteeing a huge purse due to Mayweather’s lucrative Showtime contract, and there is certainly plenty of men who are on the shortlist. Front-runners are rumoured to be Danny Garcia (undefeated, heavy-handed and an underrated boxer) or Britain’s Amir Khan (the only fighter who can claim to have the speed to trouble Floyd) but no matter who they line up it is almost unthinkable to imagine anyone capable of dethroning “Money”. Those who aren’t picked to face Mayweather should not feel too downhearted though because there is plenty more opportunities available to them, more than a handful of chances to put their names up in lights.

In fact, steering clear of a Mayweather clash could be healthier in the long run because for those fighters who remain undefeated, they can protect their “0” and perhaps even forge an unblemished career of their own. Tim Bradley, Adrien Broner and Danny Garcia are the three that immediately spring to mind and whilst they may miss out on a career-high payday there is a chance that superstardom may soften the blow.

Broner, likened to Mayweather because of his brash attitude, is arguably the most likely to elevate himself to pay per view star in the next couple of years but he is going to have to weather some serious storms on his way there, the next twelve months may very well determine just how big the Ohio man can become. His last bout, an ill-tempered clash, with Paulie Malignaggi asked more questions about Broner than it did provide answers. His power did not seem as intimidating at the higher weight and it will be interesting to see how he fares against the brutality of Marcos Maidana when they meet on December 14th. If Broner is successful then fight fans should look forward to him taking on the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Tim Bradley and perhaps Robert Guerrero before the end of 2014.

And what about Manny Pacquiao? Once the most feared fighter in any weight class, his skills and deadly punching power undeniable, and despite coming off the back of two defeats I wouldn’t rule out the Pac-Man from climbing the steady heights once more. Should he overcome Brandon Rios next month, a sure-fire barn burner, then I would expect to see Manny fight two or three times next years. A re-match with Tim Bradley has to be high on his agenda and, although three years too late, there would still be a huge clamour to witness the super-fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather.

Whichever way you cut it I think these two divisions are currently these most exciting in boxing today, a mixture of boxers and punchers, with an unlimited amount of fights that could set the pulse racing. Take a look on surface value and you see names like Mayweather, Pacquiao, Khan, Garcia, Broner and Bradley but you take off the lid and see that underneath you have guys like Alexander, Kell Brook, Keith Thurman, Alvarado, Rios, Provodkinov, Guerrero, Maidana, Matthysse, Juan Manual Marquez, if he chooses to fight on, and even the old pros like Zab Judah and Paulie Malignaggi (scheduled to meet on December 7th). That is just a handful, the list is endless, of names and fighters who can guarantee that these two divisions are the most competitive and fan-friendly for years to come.

Fights to watch out for in 2014:

Floyd Mayweather vs Amir Khan

Adrien Broner vs Manny Pacquiao

Danny Garcia vs Tim Bradley

Marcos Maidana vs Lucas Matthysse

Kell Brook vs Devon Alexander

Mike Alvarado vs Keith Thurman

Brandon Rios vs Robert Guerrero

Ruslan Provodkinov vs Joseito Lopez

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Bradley Provodnikov best moments

Brandon Rios vs Mike Alvarado 2 Highlights HD

Amir Khan vs Julio Diaz (Showtime Version)

08-06-2013 Josesito Lopez vs Marcos Maidana

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  1. procopy 10:38pm, 10/22/2013

    the china-chinned Khan against FMJ? what a joke. He has a speed to “trouble” Floyd? If Garcia was able to catch him, FMJ will also sure do. and pound his glass jaw with accurate shots. even Provodnikov has more chance of winning against Floyd than Khan. Pacman-Mayweather is really too late, I think. But I’ll still watch it if it happens.
    How about re-arranging some of those and get:

    Rios or Maidana vs Provodnikov - the heavy handed russian is a rising star and the other two guys are already known hard hitters

    Garcia vs Manny Pacquiao - an undefeated fighter against a former pound for pound king

    Broner vs Guerrero - both skilled fighters

    oh and you seem to forget GGG,

    Golovkin vs any of those :))

  2. Darrell 10:44pm, 10/19/2013

    Now Provodnikov has powered over Alvarado I think he will be going after much bigger fish than Lopez.

    Bradley vs Garcia would be an excellent boxing match.

  3. Smart Dude 06:43am, 10/19/2013

    Good read. My thoughts:

    Broner will not fight Manny, at least until Manny is 38 years old. Way too risky for him now. And I think Manny would kick his butt if they fought in the next 18 months.

    Garcia vs Bradley makes sense and would be a semi-final to face Mayweather.  But nobody under middleweight can beat Mayweather right now anyway.  Of course, it would be nice if he fought Manny just to rest any doubt out there that there is no one that can beat him.

    Too bad Duran and Leonard are not still fighting.

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