Pray to the Boxing Gods: Our 2015 Dream Fight Wish List

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!

Matthysse vs Maidana is a must-make match.

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!

With his win over Rosado, Lemieux (left) is in line for some big fights.

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.

Golovkin: Is Froch a “good boy”?

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.

It’s time for “One Time” to face a serious challenge.

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!

Maidana's intensity proved too much for Broner
Can Maidana do to “Showtime” Shawn what he did to “The Problem”?

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!”

Rigondeaux had earned a showdown with Santa Cruz.

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:

Rigo calls out Santa Cruz

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.

Walters overwhelms Donaire: The Axe Man is for real.

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.

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14 thoughts on “Pray to the Boxing Gods: Our 2015 Dream Fight Wish List

  • January 14, 2015 at 12:10 am

    Very cool list! Perhaps a little too much of Maidana but hey that’s just me. If really like to see Golovkin vs Floyd at 154.

    Very happy to see what you had at number 2. But let’s get one thing straight, nobody and really nobody is beating Rigondeaux! Never. If Rigondeaux where to fight past his prime, which he may already be doing, then there is a slight chance he suffers a defeat. Though, in his prime, no one, not any one ever in the history of 122 is beating Guillermo El Chacal Rigondeaux.

    Santa Cruz loses by way of KO. Body shot!

    • January 14, 2015 at 5:54 am

      Well, even if he’s unbeatable, which opponents will give him the toughest fights? What are the most exciting matches to be made for The Jackal?

  • January 14, 2015 at 1:55 am

    I’m already salivating over the could-be’s of 2015.

    If Naoya Inoue can get a couple more fights and experience this year, I’d love to see him finish the year fighting Chocolatito Gonzales. It would be a flyweight bout of heavyweight proportions! Broner vs Garcia would pit two young rising American fighters against each other and the hype behind that fight would be crazy and over the top.
    I would love to see a rematch between Khan vs Maidana at this stage of both their careers. Brook vs Thurman could battle it out to finish out the rest of the welterweights. And what about Porter vs Bradley? That has war and pride written all over it.
    I’ve heard rumors of a possible Crawford vs Provodnikov match sometime this year at 140lbs and that one might have to be my top pick after Floyd vs Manny (if it ever happens.)
    The featherweight divison is very stacked this year and instead of Rigondeaux vs SC why not Rigondeaux Vs Loma? Two of the greatest amateurs in the history of boxing meeting at the professional level already gives me goosebumps. That way you could pair up Santa Cruz vs Walters! And after all these years I think we could finally get a Donaire Vs Mares matchup. A crossroad fight for both fighters.

  • January 14, 2015 at 5:57 am

    Naoya Inoue vs Chocolatito is a great idea. Would be a terrific match for the sport, a superfight for the little guys that would broaden the appeal for everyone campaigning under 126 lb.

  • January 14, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Porter vs Maidana is a good one. Hadn’t thought of that before. Garanteed war. But the one I’m dying for is Adonis vs the Krusher. That will be like Foreman vs Lyle. Both guys are going down. Total slugfest and I see Adonis coming off the canvas to get the stoppage in round six or seven.

  • January 14, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    You got it all wrong: it’s gotta be Rigondeaux vs Lomachenko. To hell with Santa Cruz. Jackal vs Hi-Tech would be an all-time classic!

    • January 14, 2015 at 7:57 pm

      Rigo vs. Loma indeed has potential to be a great fight. Hopefully Rigo gets his legal status sorted out soon so we can know which fights will be feasible. It’s a shame so many top-notch fighters can’t even step into the ring because of legal embroglios.

  • January 14, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    Lucas vs Maidana would be unbelievable. Like Graziano vs Zale, Saad Muhammad vs Lopez and Gatti vs Ward all rolled into one.

    • January 15, 2015 at 5:33 pm

      Definitely! Two fighters willing to go out on their shield and that fight WILL be made in Argentina. Can we give some love to the prospects as well? I would love to see Felix Verdejo vs Dodie Boy Penalosa Jr. They’re two young, well trained, well experienced kids who love to come in and bang! Fireworks written all over. Another match-up to throw into the PR vs Philippines history.

  • January 16, 2015 at 1:09 am

    Verdejo vs Penalosa Jr. Would fucking rock! I was just watching old videos of Gerry. He was incredible.
    Thurman vs Bradley??
    Ward vs Golovkin?
    Donaire vs Rigondeaux 2!
    Inoue vs Roman I would love to see!!
    Rigo vs Loma also would be one for the books. I would not be able to look away not at all. Boxing heaven right there.

    I want to see someone knockout Broner! Cold!!

    • January 16, 2015 at 2:49 pm

      Broner vs. Matthysse could happen if Haymon intends to make appealing matches on NBC. It would be interesting to see if Broner learned anything from his fight with Maidana.

      • January 19, 2015 at 3:25 pm

        A fight that definitely can be made. It’s hard to gauge Broner’s progression because every time he steps up in class, he hardly puts on a great performance. I think Matthysse is a little more technical than Chino (Even though they fight in that bruising, rugged style) yet still brings that KO power to cause Broner to think a little bit more.
        Since we’re on the sibject of appealing matches, one fight crossed my mind the other day that doesn’t have the big names of the other fighters but I feel could possibly be a FOTY candidate. David Lemieux Vs James Kirkland! Two heavy hitters who are still searching for their spot within the middleweight division. I believe they are hungry enough and defensively flawed just enough to make this fight one hell of a barn burner.

        • January 23, 2015 at 5:02 pm

          Lemieux vs. Kirkland is a great call. It would be non-stop action and there’s no way it would go 12. It would also be a great way to find an opponent for GGG.

          • January 26, 2015 at 3:23 pm

            Well Rafael looks like that fight might have to be on hold since Kirkland finally signed to fight Canelo. Still a great fight though! No way it goes 12. Kirkland always has a puncher’s chance and we could see him go in there and rough Canelo up more than he’s used to. If he can weather the storm, I have Canelo by late tko.

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