We are already nearly three months into 2010 and the boxing future looks bright. We have some tentative agreements between good fighters to meet inside the ring in the near future, some signed super fights, some overhyped novelty fights, and some overlooked gems all scheduled for this year.
RSR examines the year 2010 to come and we see if the showdowns are worth your time.
Manny Pacquiao – Joshua Clottey
WBO Welterweight Title
The Filipino superstar, Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao continues to fight on a regular basis. When Floyd Mayweather, JR., could not come to an agreement with him to fight on March 13th, Team Pacquiao found a replacement: Joshua Clottey. Clottey is a tough customer, never knocked out, and has only lost once cleanly, but even that is in dispute. The fight with Miguel Cotto, a fight he lost via split decision, could have gone either way, he lost to Carlos Baldomir while ahead on points when he was disqualified, something he contended to be unjust. In 2006, he lost to Antonio Margarito by decision, but knowing the cheating history of Margarito, I tend to throw out all of his victories. The point is that Clottey has never been definitively beaten and presents one hell of a challenge for the #1 P4P best.
Grade: A. It is a wonderful showdown, PPV worthy, where we will see how Manny deals with such a durable and consistent guy in Clottey.
Floyd Mayweather, JR. – Sugar Shane Mosley
WBA Super World Welterweight Title
With the Manny Pacquiao fight not materializing, Floyd too had to find a replacement. Yuri Foreman and Matthew Hatton were rumored, but when Andre Berto pulled out of his fight with Shane Mosley, the match could be made between two long time rivals. Mosley was nearly off the map until he was given an opportunity to fight Antonio Margarito, a man coming off his biggest win over Miguel Cotto. Unfortunately, the story of that fight was how Margarito was exposed as a cheater, using plaster of Paris in his hand wraps, taking away from the explosive knockout win for Mosley. Sugar Shane has a lot left and he is very strong. Floyd is a defensive dynamo with good power and great technique and has never lost.
Grade: B+. Although Mosley brings a lot of name value to the ring, the Margarito fight could be misleading. It may have been more of a case of what Margarito wasn’t when he didn’t load his gloves then what Mosley was. Prior to that fight, Mosley struggled with a shot Ricardo Mayorga, pulling out a final round stoppage in an even fight up to that point, and a shopworn Fernando Vargas. Mosley won’t lie down for Floyd, but does he had enough reflexes left to catch the elusive Floyd? We’ll see.
Bernard Hopkins – Roy Jones, JR. II
In 1993, Roy Jones, JR., defeated Bernard Hopkins via unanimous decision for the IBF Middleweight Title. Since that point, they both went different ways, Hopkins ruling the middleweight division, Jones moving up and dominated the light heavyweight division. They continually argued and came close to having a rematch on several occasions, but the greed of the combatants proved too much for the fight to occur, until now. This fight is at least 9 years too late. Roy brings in a record of 5-5 in his last 10 bouts, and he lost his last fight via first round stoppage. Hopkins recent record is 4-3. What is this fight doing on PPV?
Grade: F. This fight is a joke being played on the public with the sole goal to line the pockets of the two fighters involved. They are trying to charge for something that they shouldn’t be able to give away and hopefully the public doesn’t buy into it. They are spending a pretty penny on the advertising and trying to make this seem important and attempting to give the illusion that there is bad blood. This is a money fight. Neither man cares about victory or defeat. They are merely looking to screw over the public for as much change as they can get.
Kelly Pavlik – Sergio Martinez
WBC/WBO Middleweight Titles
At one time, Kelly Pavlik was one of the most respected boxers in the game, but times have changed. His uninspired loss to Bernard Hopkins, stoppages of soft opposition, and apparent avoidance of Paul Williams have made him a forgotten man, but now he intends to change that. Sergio Martinez just came off a close shave defeat to Paul Williams, where both fighters exchanged knockouts and fought hard for twelve full rounds. Martinez is slick and tricky and is a very good style match up with the aggressive and powerful Pavlik. This is a very important fight for both men and the winner will be looking at a showdown with Paul Williams. A great great fight.
Grade: A. This showdown can be nothing but a great fight. Martinez has a huge heart and a decent punch and Pavlik is heavy-handed with a lot of courage himself. This will be a war.
Wladimir Klitschko – Eddie Chambers
WBO/IBO/IBF Heavyweight Titles
The heavyweight division does not present a great deal of quality opponents for the Brothers Klitschko. The latest challenge is American hopeful, “Fast” Eddie Chambers, coming off wins over former WBC Champ, Sam Peter, and contender Alexander Dimitrenko. He now tries to stop “Dr. Steelhammer” in Germany for all the marbles. What bode well for Chambers is his speed and his newfound conditioning. In his last fight, he weighed in at a fit 208 pounds and looked fantastic. Expect the same level of conditioning and determination on March 20th. Wlad will look to establish the jab and to drop in the right hand, controlling the smaller man as he usually does. Chambers will have more enthusiasm than the others Wlad has faced, but he doesn’t seem to possess the physical attributes necessary to pull off the upset.
Grade: C+. Chambers is a live underdog, but he is still a heavy long shot to win, especially in Germany.
Carl Froch – Mikkel Kessler
WBC Super Middleweight Title
The Showtime Super Six Tournament moves forward with a showdown between former WBA Champ, Kessler, and current WBC Champ, Froch. We have two big punchers, both with something to prove, battle for a title and points in the most exciting boxing tournament to come along in years. Kessler, losing his last bout badly to Andre Ward, he wants desperately to try to regain his footing as one of the favorites to win. Froch struggled with the slick and quick Andre Dirrell and wants an explosive knockout to prove his worth. This is a very exciting collision.
Grade: B+. Expect an all out brawl with the bigger heart winning in the end. A great fight and another great example of why this tournament is so wonderful.
Allan Green – Andre Ward
WBA Super Middleweight Title
Battling on the same night as Froch and Kessler, are defending WBA Champ, Ward, and Jermain Taylor replacement, Allan Green. Green wanted badly into this tournament and was granted his wish and now gets a title shot and a chance to prove that he belongs. He is a powerful puncher with an exciting style that hopes to catch Ward. Ward showed that he is a true champion as he beat, battered, and confused Mikkel Kessler, taking the title and 2 points in the tournament. His strength is amazing and he has a lot of veteran tricks for a fighter with only 21 fights. Green has a puncher’s chance and we’ll see what happens should he land. This fight could be incredibly exciting or tactical and boring. We’ll see.
Grade: B-. The addition of Green is a good thing, and we should be in for some exciting moments come fight night.
Tomasz Adamek – Chris Arreola
Yet another great fight taking place on April 24th is a heavyweight showdown between HBO hyped Arreola and former light heavy and cruiserweight champ, Tomasz Adamek. Arreola has a decent punch and is aggressive, but his biggest battle seems to be with his weight as he consistently comes into bouts heavier and heavier. He was obese in his challenge with Vitali Klitschko, too slow to land a good punch, was heavier in his comeback fight with Brian Minto, a fight he won, but was still disappointing at that weight (263 pounds). Now he squares off against Adamek. Adamek recently knocked out Andrew Golota but was less than spectacular in defeating Jason Estrada. He will be facing a heavyweight puncher on the 24th and it if Arreola comes into the fight in shape, he may prove too strong, but what are the odds of that?
Grade: B-. Two decent contenders fighting for top ranking in the division. A good fight.
The first half of 2010 looks like a winner for the boxing fans with the exception of the ridiculous Hopkins-Jones PPV. We also have the David Haye-John Ruiz title fight on the horizon, a potential showdown with Vitali Klitschko and Nikolay Valuev, and the continued progress of the Showtime Super Six Tournament to keep the boxing fans hooked to the sport. It should be a good year.