Good riddance to the cesspool of mismatches, robberies, and lack of appealing fights that was 2014! The new year is here and well underway so it’s time to forget the past, look forward, and have a little hope, goddamn it! Not to worry, we’re here to stoke the excitement of fight freaks everywhere by offering up our personal wishlist for 2015. Just feast your eyes on these mouth-watering match-ups and just try not to get giddy for the year to come.
Now we know many of you eagerly await the announcement for Mayweather and Pacquiao finally facing off this year (we suggest you use a comfortable chair while you wait), or for Miguel “Primadonna” Cotto to finally make up his mind (“No one will dictate terms to me!”), and for Adonis Stevenson to at get permission from Al Haymon to fight Sergey Kovalev. But while all of those would be great contests, there are actually others just as good or better if only the powers-that-be could start looking beyond the obvious. To help them out, we’ve come up with seven dream fights that not only feature big names, but are also politically feasible. So without further ado, let the praying (and drooling) begin!
Marcos Maidana vs. Lucas Matthysse
We begin with an Argentine showdown for the ages: two come-forward warriors with an unquenchable need for violence trading punches like the indomitable gauchos they are. It’s true Matthysse currently campaigns at 140-pounds, but a move up to welterweight is overdue given his tendency to balloon after weigh-ins, and since both fighters are managed by Al Haymon, this match should be easy to arrange. Anyway, if you follow boxing at all you know this fight sells itself, but since numbers always make us look like we know what we’re talking about, here you go: “Chino” and “The Machine” combine for a mind-blowing 65 KOs in 71 victories; Maidana landed 221 punches against Mayweather in their first fight—the most anyone’s ever landed on Floyd; in his last five fights Lucas has scored a total of eight knockdowns; Maidana’s and Matthysse’s fights last on average 13 minutes; but the most significant statistic by far is this: a grand total of zero combined opponents have ever said to themselves “this will be an easy night” when staring across the ring at either South American before the opening bell. If that doesn’t pump you up, rush to the nearest hospital and have someone find your pulse, STAT!
Andy Lee vs. David Lemieux
Another guaranteed barn-burner, this one in the middleweight division, would pit two guys with proven power and just enough vulnerability to make things truly thrilling. Also important is the fact both guys just scored the biggest wins of their careers. David Lemieux showed against Gabe Rosado that pacing himself to not gas-out does not decrease the amount of pain he can dole out. On the other hand, Andy Lee not only became a titleholder last year, but also proved he is the kind of guy who can get his ass kicked for several rounds and then suddenly put you out for good with his sledgehammer right hook. So Lee vs. Lemieux would not only help decide which of these hungry contenders deserves a shot at the big names at 160, but would also certainly give us a Knockout of the Year candidate. Barclays Center in Brooklyn would be the natural venue, as thousands showed up for Lemieux’s headliner in December there, and without a doubt a large Irish contingent would be there to support Lee. Just imagine the atmosphere! It’s enough to give you goosebumps.
Carl Froch vs. Gennady Golovkin
Out of all the fights in our wishlist, this one may be the most unlikely to happen thanks to Froch’s desire to secure only the biggest fights in the twilight of his career. But should a match with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. fail to come through, Golovkin is definitely one of the most interesting names out there for him to fight. Furthermore, Froch would have plenty of leverage in getting this fight done; we can easily envision him ensuring home-field advantage, the lion’s share of the purse, and anything else he could possibly want. But once that opening-bell rang, you better believe Golovkin would show no respect for the super middleweight champion. While Froch’s high-activity rate, mobility, and size advantage could prove the key to overcome GGG’s frightful power-punching, think of the rage Golovkin would unleash on the Brit as he vents several years’ worth of frustration; let’s just say Froch’s liver would be in for a long night. Regardless of outcome, it’s hard to think a fight between these two brave, action-friendly athletes would yield anything other than a Fight of the Year candidate.
Keith Thurman vs. Shawn Porter
Not that long ago, this match-up would have been dismissed as being too much, too soon. Both Porter and Thurman should have miles to go before they need to square off against a truly dangerous contemporary. As Angelo Dundee might have said, “Wait, and let it get juicy!” In other words, let these guys win a bunch more fights against no-hopers, allow their popularity to grow, and then have them square off for a massive payday. But guess what? Thurman’s career is stalled and Porter lost to Kell Brook, so why couldn’t they clash now? Truthfully, this match makes good sense as both boxers need something big to turn their fortunes around. And while most would no doubt see Thurman with “One Time’s” more well-rounded skills and bigger tool kit as having a decided edge, the fact is he hasn’t been in the ring with anyone as talented, determined and aggressive as Showtime Shawn. Who doesn’t want to see Thurman get truly tested? And who isn’t curious to see if Porter can bounce back against a formidable foe? Come on, Haymon! Let’s get this done!
Marcos Maidana vs. Shawn Porter
Sometimes the best matches are the ones no one talks about. Shawn Porter vs Marcos Maidana doesn’t seem to be on anyone’s wish list, but as far as sure-fire, guaranteed, high-intensity action fights go, it has to be near the top of the list. Both Porter and Maidana know only one way to box, and that’s moving forward behind plenty of bad intentions and heavy leather. Porter’s edge in quickness and mobility would definitely give “El Chino” problems, while Maidana’s power could be huge trouble for “Showtime” if he doesn’t keep his chin down and his hands up. The bottom line is, this war would be waged at a wicked pace with probably both fighters hitting the canvas before all was said and done. And we’re pretty sure it ain’t going the distance. And if it does, it just might be a classic, hard-to-score firefight that demands a sequel. Maidana vs Porter? We say, “Yes, please! And don’t be surprised if we’re back for seconds!”
Guillermo Rigondeaux vs. Leo Santa Cruz
We want Guillermo Rigondeaux to fight Leo Santa Cruz. Guillermo Rigondeaux also wants to fight Leo Santa Cruz. Here’s the evidence:
Unfortunately, Santa Crux wants no piece of Rigondeaux. As he stated in an interview last month: “Rigondeaux, the people don’t like his style, and I don’t think that’d be an interesting fight. I wanna give a great show and a great fight for the fans.” In other words, no thanks. But this line about Rigondeaux being boring is really just a lame excuse, particularly after Rigondeaux’s aggressive beatdown of Hisashi Amagasa on New Year’s Eve. Santa Cruz last fought in September, when he stopped the overmatched Manuel Roman in two rounds on the Mayweather-Maidana II undercard. He fights again this Saturday on the Stiverne-Wilder undercard, against Jesus Ruiz, a man with five losses and few notable wins.
Santa Cruz is talented, can bang, and throws a lot of punches. In other words, he’s an entertaining fighter to watch. It would be interesting to see whether Rigondeaux can manoeuvre away from his volume punching, and conversely, whether the two-inches-taller California native can avoid the Cuban’s weaponized left hand. Santa Cruz hasn’t fought anyone even close to Rigondeaux’s level, and we want to see how well a dynamic young fighter deals with an experienced master.
Will it happen? We hope so. Unless he signs with Roc Nation sometime soon, Rigondeaux isn’t tethered to any promoter, so it just takes someone with the right set of stones to face him. Distressingly, even if young Leo opts for the fight, institutional control might prevent it from happening: Santa Cruz, like so many talented young men who never get let off their leash, is an Al Haymon fighter.
Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Nicholas Walters
Nicholas Walters devastated Nonito Donaire on the Golovkin-Rubio undercard, knocking him out in the sixth round and probably ending Donaire’s run as an elite fighter. It was the sort of performance that turns an entire division on its head: a definitive announcement that a new claimant to the throne has arrived. That it happened on a Golovkin show, where knockouts are necessary, only amplified the message. Walters is a brash and confident young fighter who wants to become the world’s best featherweight and he just might have the skills and power to do it.
So, too, might Vasily Lomachenko, who dominated Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo on the Pacquiao-Algierie undercard, and also neutralized hyped featherweight Gary Russell Jr. back in the summer. Lomachenko entered the professional ranks amidst much fanfare, given his incredible amateur career, in which he won almost four hundred fights and an Olympic gold medal. He is a brilliant boxer who showed masterful ring generalship against Piriyapinyo. He fights with the acumen of someone with vast stores of professional experience, despite the fact he’s had only four professional fights.
These are two young, highly talented featherweights, each of whom brings a distinctive fighting style to the ring. And who knows, why couldn’t the Rigondeaux-Santa Cruz Jr. featherweight winner face whoever comes out alive from Lomachenko-Walters? The Ukrainian and Jamaican better not circle one another for too long.
So there you have it — seven matches which would make all of us here at The Fight City very grateful and happy indeed. Which ones are on your wish list? Leave a comment and let us know.