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2010: Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather & the Future of Boxing

 By Geno McGahee

The year is 2010 and we have a lot of great fights on the horizon. Despite the fall through of the biggest fight to come down the pike in years, Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather, JR., we have plenty of other bouts to excite us. Another early disappointment in the year was the cancellation of the Andre Berto-Shane Mosley bout, but this dark cloud also has a silver lining.

Super Fights

March 13th – WBO Welterweight Title

Manny Pacquiao vs. Joshua Clottey

Pacquiao, 50-3-2, 38 KO’s, has to be given credit for taking on a man like Joshua Clottey, 35-3, 20 KO’s, when the Mayweather bout didn’t materialize. Clottey brings a tight defense and consistency to the ring and has been waiting for an opportunity like this for some time. He nearly beat Miguel Cotto in his last fight, but the loss is being used by many to dismiss his chances of winning because Pacquiao TKO’d Cotto, beating him with relative ease. Although this is true, styles make fights and this is a tougher match up for Pacquiao than Cotto was. He will have to work hard to earn this.

Clottey’s trouble in this fight will be his openness to straight punches. Zab Judah was able to land them, Miguel Cotto, and even Diego Corrales found some success with straight punches, which happen to be the best punches in the arsenal of Pacquiao. That has to be the thinking when choosing Clottey, but they run a risk. If Pacquiao cannot penetrate the defense of Clottey, then he could be walked down and possibly stopped. He will have to try for the knockout early and if it doesn’t happen or he doesn’t find continued success going right down the middle, expect him to box and use his speed and angles to outpoint Clottey.

Prediction: Manny Pacquiao comes out strong early using his quick punches but none of them do any real damage or land cleanly. Clottey walks forward in a defensive shell, fending off the attacks. Pacquiao takes an early lead on the cards but Clottey’s consistency begin to bother Manny and pick up points on the cards. Manny will rally late to win a close decision in a very tough fight with some shaky moments on both sides.

Just signed for May 1st

Floyd Mayweather, JR vs. Shane Mosley

Mosley, 46-5, 39 KO’s, seemed like he had reached the end of the road in 2004 with back to back losses to Winky Wright. He looked very mediocre against Fernando Vargas and even worse against Ricardo Mayorga, but in January of 2009, he stopped Antonio Margarito and breathed some fresh air into his career, but what was Margarito without the loaded gloves? What he brings to this fight is a great chin, a fighting spirit, incredible strength, and a general dislike for Mayweather. This is a grudge fight.

Mayweather, JR., 40-0, 25 KO’s, is a defensive genius with great timing and underrated power. He most likely would have been favored to beat Pacquiao and most likely would have if they had the fight. Although just by recent activity, Pacman rules the pound for pound list, it’s fair to say that Mayweather is the man to beat. He has never lost and really hasn’t even come close, despite some close decisions. Nobody has ever walked away saying they got the best of him. He took a brief hiatus from the sport and came back to dominate a much smaller Juan Manuel Marquez, but now has his sights on bigger game: Mosley.

Prediction: I would love to say that this will be a competitive fight, but I think that the Mosley win over Margarito proved what a cheater we had on our hands and what a mediocrity he was without the plastered fists. Mosley looked like he turned back the clock, but I don’t think that he did. Mayweather will be smart and outthink Mosley, gaining and keeping the lead, winning a wide decision on the cards.

Heavyweight Title Fights

March 20th – WBO/IBF/IBO Heavyweight Title

Wladimir Klitschko vs. Eddie Chambers

The days of the great American heavyweight appear to have passed, but there is a very good one getting a title shot on March 20th. Eddie Chambers, 35-1, 18 KO’s, has beaten some of the better fighters the division has to offer. He defeated Calvin Brock, former WBC Champ Samuel Peter, Dominick Guinn, and scored the most impressive win of his career over Alexander Dimitrenko. That win over Dimitrenko was the best he had ever looked. He was quick and accurate and weighed in at a fit and trim 208 pounds. Not only was it his best performance, but it was one against a much bigger guy…which he will be facing on the 20th of March.

Wlad, 53-3, 47 KO’s, has also been on the top of his game, winning his last eleven fights, eight of them by stoppage. He controls the range and uses his jab very well. His right hand is one of the best punches in boxing and he has beaten some of the best in the division as well. He knocked out former WBA Champ, Ruslan Chagaev, Tony Thompson, former WBO Champ Sultan Ibragimov, Calvin Brock, avenged a loss by stopping Lamon Brewster, and easily destroyed former Champ Hasim Rahman. He is recognized as the true champ, over his older brother Vitali.

Prediction: This will be fun while it lasts. Chambers is very smart and tricky and has underrated power. He will test the chin of Wlad, but can he get through the long jab? That is the question. Although Chambers is a good fighter and will give Wlad some scares, you have to favor the defending champion by late stoppage or decision. The real intrigue of this fight is that this is Wlad’s toughest opponent in years and he will be trying very hard to take the belt back to the US, but he will most likely fall short inside of the distance.

April 3rd – WBA Heavyweight Title

David Haye vs. John Ruiz

There were a lot of people out there that invested a lot of hope into David Haye, 23-1, 21 KO’s. His charisma and big punch made him a fan favorite. He had images made of himself holding the decapitated head of Wladimir Klitschko. He confronted Wlad prior to his defense against Tony Thompson. He is what boxing needs, but inside the ring, he may not be as good as we had hoped.

He took the title from the gigantic Nikolay Valuev with a disappointing decision win…and a disputable one. Although Valuev is far better than most give him credit for, Haye would have sent a big message to the world had he sent the big man to the floor. He didn’t. Now he takes on former 2-Time Champ, John Ruiz, 44-8-1, 30 KO’s, another underrated fighter.

Ruiz has never ducked anyone. He has taken on Hasim Rahman, Roy Jones, James Toney, Andrew Golota, Evander Holyfield, Ruslan Chagaev, David Tua, and Nikolay Valuev. Outside of Tua, nobody has knocked him out, and he presents a puzzling style and grit that will give Haye some issues. He also has a very sneaky right hand that Haye will have to avoid.

Prediction: Reluctantly, I would go with David Haye to defend his title by a decision win. Roy Jones, JR., wrote the blue print, capitalizing on the slow feet of Ruiz to avoid trouble and keep him at bay, piling up points and cruising to a win. I expect Haye to fight in this manner because he has the speed and boxing ability to do it. Haye by UD in 12, but watch out for that Ruiz right hand!

Super Six Showdowns

March 6th – Round 2 Showdown

Arthur Abraham vs. Andre Dirrell

Abraham, 31-0, 25 KO’s, is a monster in the ring with a tight defense, an iron chin, the biggest heart in boxing, and power in both hands. He is easily the favorite to win the Super Six. He made a statement when he knocked out former Middleweight Champion Jermain Taylor in the final round in dramatic style. Andre Dirrell, 18-1, 13 KO’s, lost his first outing, a close and debatable split decision loss to WBC Super Middleweight Champ, Carl Froch, and presents a tough challenge style-wise for Abraham.

Prediction: Dirrell will give Abraham trouble with his movement and speed, but Abraham will walk him down en route to another late stoppage. Dirrell can run but he cannot hide from Abraham.

April 17th – Round 2 Showdown – WBC Super Middleweight Title

Carl Froch vs. Mikkel Kessler

Carl Froch, 26-0, 20 KO’s, may have gotten over his biggest hurdle of the tournament when he got the nod over Dirrell. The other participants: Allan Green, Andre Ward, Abraham, and Kessler all present a target and will be there to be hit. Froch is a big puncher and is the dark horse of this competition. Kessler, 42-2, 32 KO’s, was a favorite to win the tournament based on his title status (WBA Champ at the time), record, and performance against Joe Calzaghe. Kessler may have been exposed when he was dominated by Andre Ward. He lost his title that night and now wants to win Froch’s. It will be a shoot out.

Prediction: Expect Kessler and Froch both look for the knockout. Froch has the one punch knockout power while Kessler is a good hitter but takes a better shot. It will be a brawl with Froch catching Kessler midway through the fight and stopping him shortly thereafter. Kessler is a great match for Froch and it will show how good he can be when matched correctly.

April 17th – Round 2 Showdown – WBA Super Middleweight Title

Andre Ward vs. Allan Green

Allan Green, 29-1, 20 KO’s, was eager to get involved and now he is, as he plans to take the WBA crown away from defending champion, Andre Ward, 21-0, 13 KO’s. Ward initially was slated to fight Jermain Taylor, but “Bad Intentions” had no intentions of staying in the tournament after his defeat to Abraham. Green steps in and brings a big punch and a lot of heart. Ward has looked very good in his last few fights, dominating both Kessler and Edison Miranda. Green is a different sort of fighter and he will have to bring something more to the dance to get the win here.

Prediction: Allan Green stops Andre Ward within five rounds. Green is a great puncher and has been in top form, and the way that Ward leans, he seems wide open for the attack from Green. The enthusiasm and power of Green will find a way through the ugly style of Ward to get the stoppage win and put three points on the board and a title around the waist of Green.


April 17th – Unwanted Rematch

Bernard Hopkins vs. Roy Jones JR

Fleecing the boxing fans is nothing new to boxing, but this PPV rematch may be an all time low. Roy Jones, JR., 54-6, 40 KO’s, was starched inside of a round in his last fight with Danny Williams, and has not beaten a top fighter since he eked by Antonio Tarver in 2003, a fight that most thought he lost. Since that, he has been stopped by Glen Johnson and Tarver in the rematch, and then dominated by Joe Calzaghe, leading up to his defeat to Green. He has zero left outside of his name, but this is boxing…and don’t underestimate greed and ego.

Hopkins, 50-5, 32 KO’s, lost in his first encounter with Jones, JR., in 1993, when they both were at the top of their games and that was not an exciting fight. Now, Hopkins has had a better track record of late because of his dirty tactics and clutching ways. He is cagy and tough, but most of his bouts could cure insomnia.

Prediction: This fight means ZERO. It’s only for the money and here to screw you, the fan, as hard as they can out of your hard earned money. Hopkins by UD over Jones, JR., and expect another PPV to settle the score.

Not Yet Signed (But expected to be for early to mid 2010)

Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Ricky Hatton

Both men have lost to Floyd Mayweather, JR., and to Manny Pacquiao. The difference is that Hatton, 45-2, 32 KO’s, was starched by both while Marquez, 50-5-1, 37 KO’s, made it to the final bell and nearly beat Manny on two occasions. Both men are looking to rebound after defeats and have found each other, reportedly. Hatton was the victim of one of the scariest knockouts in recent history when Pacquiao clobbered him in two rounds, while Marquez seemed three steps too slow to find Mayweather. They will have more success against each other.

I don’t think that either man is shot. They both have a lot more to give to the sport. It is obvious that Hatton is not an elite fighter. He is a good fighter with a lot of heart but he cannot compete with the top tier of the game. Marquez is the top tier, but he is up there in age and in ring wars, leveling the playing field somewhat.

Prediction: It will be a rough and ugly fight, but expect Marquez’s better boxing skills to make the difference and lead to a close but unanimous decision.

Exciting Showdowns

Not Yet Signed (But expected for mid 2010)

Chris Arreola vs. Tomasz Adamek

Tomasz Adamek, 39-1, 27 KO’s, has held the light heavyweight and cruiserweight titles and made a statement in his heavyweight showcase, knocking former title challenger, Andrew Golota into tomorrow in five rounds. On February 6, he takes on Jason Estrada, and should he get the win, which is expected, he gets a shot at HBO’s heavyweight fan favorite, Chris Arreola, 28-1, 25 KO’s. Adamek takes the sport seriously, and has grown into a good heavyweight.

Chris Arreola could be a good heavyweight, maybe even a champion, if he spent more time in the gym. In his title fight against Vitali Klitschko, he embarrassed himself and the sport, coming in at 251 pounds. In his comeback fight against Brian Minto, he weighed 263 pounds. Both were very important fights and both he did not train for properly. You have to believe that a fat Arreola will be in the ring with Adamek when and if they meet.

Prediction: Adamek knocks out Arreola. The open defense and lack of conditioning will be all Adamek needs to beat Arreola to the floor in the 8th round, winning every round in the process. Arreola is another heavyweight that has thrown his career chances into the trash by coming in out of shape for nearly every fight.

Not Yet Signed (But expected for mid 2010)

Yuriorkis Gamboa vs. Juan Manuel Lopez

Gamboa, 17-0, 15 KO’s, holds the WBA Featherweight title. He has fast hands, great power, throws combinations reminiscent of a young Roy Jones, JR., and is on the fast track to superstardom. Juan Manuel Lopez, 28-0, 25 KO’s, holds the WBO Featherweight Title, and has had a path of destruction since the beginning of his career, bringing power in both hands and a seek and destroy style to the ring.

HBO recently featured the two in a double header and both looked spectacular. Gamboa was dazzling in a second round stoppage of Rogers Mtagwa, and Lopez showed patience in the beat down of Steve Luevano, leading to this showdown.

Prediction: A great fight. A heated war…everything that is good about boxing will be present here in this fight. It could go either way, but the speed of Gamboa seems to be the difference here and he may be the first one to land and the first one to land will probably win. Gamboa by TKO in four.

The year 2010 already is presenting a great amount of quality matchups. Boxing has been considered dead or in desperate need of help, but this year will mark a comeback for the sport. We don’t need Mayeather-Pacquiao, as much as we would want it to make it a great year for the boxing fans.

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