Manny Pacquiao, 53-3-2, 38 KO’s, will be stepping back into the ring on November 12th, to finish the trilogy with long time rival, Juan Manuel Marquez, 52-5-1, 38 KO’s. It is one of many great matches that we can look forward to in the final six months of 2011. Of course, we are looking ahead to 2012, with the hope of a Floyd Mayweather – Manny Pacquiao collision, but there is plenty to enjoy prior to it materializing.
On July 2nd, the fireworks will come early with IBO/IBF/WBO Heavyweight Champion, Wladimir Klitschko, 55-3, 49 KO’s, attempts to pick up another title against the charismatic WBA Champion, David Haye, 25-1, 23 KO’s. Finally, excitement in the heavyweight division!
Wlad is on a streak of 13 fights in a row, seen as unbeatable by many. He has dominated his opposition, controlled the range, and stopped most of his recent opponents without much feedback. Haye is quick, confident, and powerful and is seen by most, as the only man that could knock out Wlad. They have had a face off on HBO where it was very heated and it was obvious that Haye got under Wlad’s skin, which is a key to winning this fight. This is a GREAT fight for boxing.
On September 10th, WBC Champ and older brother, Vitali Klitschko, 42-2, 39 KO’s, faces off against another worthy adversary in Tomasz Adamek, 44-1, 28 KO’s, in his challenger’s homeland of Poland. The money was right for Vitali and he has shown signs of slowing down. The mobility of Tomasz may give him trouble and it has been proven that Dr. Iron Fist can be confused at times. Adamek is the underdog and will have trouble with the size of the champion, but we could very well have two smaller men ruling the division come 2012.
An interesting cruiserweight battle takes place on July 20th, as Danny Green, 31-3, 27 KO’s, takes on Antonio Tarver, 28-6, 19 KO’s, in Australia. Green made his mark with a first round easy destruction of the completely shot Roy Jones, JR., and has followed up with a first round stoppage of Paul Briggs and a wide decision win over contender, BJ Flores. Green now takes on Tarver, and although Tarver is not in his prime, he is not totally shot. He will be trying to land his straight left on the chin of Green and he is naturally elusive, which is why he’s never been stopped. This is a very big test for Green.
SUPER SIX FINALE
The Showtime Super Six tournament comes to an end on October 29th, with Andre Ward, 24-0, 13 KO’s, defends in WBA title against WBC Champ, Carl Froch, 28-1, 20 KO’s. The two favorites in the tournament, Mikkel Kessler and Arthur Abraham have been eliminated and it comes down to these two fighters. Can Froch find the mark with his power? The majority of boxing writers pick Ward to win a UD, but Froch knows how to work in the ring and will have a game plan to try to overcome the mauling and confusing style of Ward to win the trophy and unify the titles.
On December 3rd, Miguel Cotto, 36-2, 29 KO’s, will be trying to avenge a loss to “Hands of Plaster” Antonio Margarito, 38-7, 27 KO’s, despite the consistent rumors that Margarito is not physically fit to fight. He has been medically clear, but the fact that he is allowed to fight again when he loaded his hand wraps with Plaster of Paris does not give me great faith in the boxing commission. Money talks and Top Rank is talking, and regardless if Margarito is right to fight, the money will be and he will be in the ring. It is a pick’em fight. Nobody knows if he loaded his gloves for his win over Cotto, but I would bet my house on it. The way Cotto looked and the slapping punches that Margarito has shown in recent outings without plaster tell the tale. I’ll be rooting for Cotto in this one.
Manny Pacquiao and Marquez meet up in November, but before that fight takes place, Floyd Mayweather JR., 41-0, 25 KO’s, returns to the ring in over a year to take on the WBC Welterweight Champ, Victor Ortiz, 29-2-2, 22 KO’s. Ortiz just came off a war with Andre Berto to win the title and is hoping that he can use his aggressive southpaw style to pull the upset.
The fight takes place on September 17th, and if things go according to plan and expectations, both Manny and Floyd will win and then a 2012 showdown will take place…maybe.
OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW
Amir Khan, 25-1, 17 KO’s, will defend his WBA Light Welterweight Crown against former Welterweight champion, Zab “Super” Judah, 41-6, 28 KO’s, on July 23rd. Judah will be bringing his IBF title to the ring, making this a unification bout.
Judah has been in there with the best. He has faced Floyd Mayweather, JR., Kostya Tszyu and Miguel Cotto. He has come up short in most of his biggest fights, but the move down to light welterweight has put another title around his waist and created this big opportunity. Can he capitalize on it? This is a pick’em fight. Khan’s straight right hand may tell the tale in the end, but he will be walking through a minefield to land it.
This is just a sampling of the great fights that boxing is presented in the next six months. So, enjoy it. The sport may not be what it once was, but we shouldn’t be ready to abandon it just yet. Good times are coming.