Boxing is Dying? I think not: A look forward at the remainder of 2013
By Dallas Orysiuk: 2013 has been a good year for boxing, and there is much more to come. Proving boxing is strong and doing fine. First, boxing is an amazing sport. It is a sport where two warriors square off and prepare for war. Despite the ferocity, the blood, the sweat and the tears, boxing is elegant… it is classy. Tremendous craft is involved.
No wonder it is called the “sweet science.” Not to mention, you don’t have to go through the agonizing pain of watching two half naked men rolling around choking each other for 25 minutes, or fighters going at it and gassing out after one round. It is a sport like none other, brilliant craft and skill, tremendous heart, impressive cardio, and brutal action is displayed.
In rival combat sports, it is rare to get two warriors going at it toe-to-toe, mono a mono, for 12 rounds, exhaustion kicking in… but the fighters are still bombing away, knockdowns are exchanged and the gladiators continue to battle. In MMA, there are no fights like the classics: Ward vs. Gatti, Corrales vs. Castillo, Barrera vs. Morales, Ali vs. Frazier, Chavez vs. Taylor, and Foreman vs. Lyle. More recently: Pacquiao vs. Marquez, Berto vs. Ortiz, Mayweather vs. Cotto, Maidana vs. Morales, Maidana vs. Ortiz, Khan vs. Peterson, Matthysse vs. Soto, Cotto vs. Margarito, Cotto vs. Molsey, Rios vs. Alvarado, Williams vs. Martinez and so forth.
If you have missed these matches, I suggest you catch up, do your homework and find them online. Until you have watched a handful of these fights, do not criticize boxing.
So far in 2013 there has been the toe-to-toe battle between Timothy Bradley and Ruslan Provodnikov where both boxers were hurt and both coaches threatening to throw in the towel. There was the rematch between Mike Alvarado and Brandon Rios; both warriors pounding away at each other, this time Alvarado was the victor giving Rios his first defeat. Then there was Matthysse’s impressive destruction of Lamont Peterson. There was the rematch between Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler where skillful boxing, and brutal blows were on display. Then there was the brutality in Moscow between Denis Lebedev vs. Guillermo Jones where Lebedev’s eye looked like something from a horror movie.
Despite a rift between Top Rank and Golden Boy and a split between Golden Boy and HBO, there has been and are some good fights coming up. Sure certain fighters cannot fight each other due to promotional and network disputes, but this has led to extreme competition between the two major promoters and networks. You have Top Rank and everyone else on HBO, and Golden Boy on Showtime. This has led to competition between the two networks trying to put together the best possible fights, resulting in two unofficial tournaments. Showtime and Golden Boy have the intriguing 140 lb tournament between Lamont Peterson, Zab Judah, Lucas Matthysse, Danny Garcia and Amir Khan. While Top Rank and golden boy have the 140-147 lb tournament involving the hard hitters and brawlers Brandon Rios, Mike Alvarado, Ruslan Provodnikov, Timothy Bradley, Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao. The competition has also led to HBO mixing it up and taking a diversified approach, trying to build their stable mate by search for exciting fighters and matchups from Europe and elsewhere. So far in 2013 some of these exciting matchups have already occurred and haven’t failed to meet expectations, but the best is yet to come, let’s look ahead what’s in store for the rest of 2013.
June 8th – Welterweight fight – Marcos Maidana vs. Josesito Lopez (HBO)
A matchup with Fight of the Year (FOTY) written all over it. Marcos Maidana, 33-3-0 (30 KOs) is not the most skilled fighter, but he packs a punch. What Maidana lacks in defense he makes up for in his relentless punching power, pressure and heart. Any fight with Maidana is must watch television, he has been in at least 4 FOTY candidates: Maidana vs. Ortiz, Maidana vs. Khan, Maidana vs. Morales and Maidana vs. Soto Karass.
His opponent Josesitio Lopez, 30-5-0 (18 KOs) is no stranger to exciting fights. Similar to Maidana, Josesito is not the most skilled fighter, but he has heart and comes to fight every time out. In his most recent fight he was overmatched against the much larger Saul Alvarez, but Lopez went out swinging. Maidana also fought on the same fight card. Prior to that fight, in the upset of the year, Lopez broke Victor Ortiz’s jaw and won by TKO. Both fighters have fought Ortiz, both have won by TKO, and both fights were extremely exciting. The winner of this fight is likely to secure some big money fights in a stacked welterweight division, where he may eventually earn a shot at Mayweather. This matchup is posed to be full of fireworks and should not be missed. Whatever you do, don’t get up for a beer because in this fight anything can happen.
More must watch television is on the undercard. In a fight that could be a headliner of its own, a clash of styles will be on display between Alfred Angulo and Erislandy Lara. Both fighters possess punching power, however Angulo packs raw, thudding brawling power while Lara a skilled counter puncher possesses quick and snapping KO power. The matchup between the slugger and fast counter puncher should be exciting for as long as it lasts.
June 22nd – WBA Welterweight title fight – Paulie Malignaggi vs. Adrien Broner (Showtime)
Adrien Broner has a record of 26-0-0 (22 KOs) and is one of boxing’s most promising and rising stars. His opponent is the slick and crafty “Magic Man” Paulie Malignaggi. Aside from his fight with Daniel Ponce De Leon, Adrien Broner has yet to be tested, while Malignaggi, 32-4-0 (7 KOs) has been in with world class opposition including Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Juan Diaz, and Amir Khan to name a few. In most of these fights Malignaggi has come up short, but he has displayed speed, skill and tremendous heart which was on display when he survived a 12 rounds with a broken jaw against Miguel Cotto.
Broner has speed and tremendous power which is illustrated by his 22 KOs, but Paulie has speed and heart. Broner moves up two weight classes, arguably as a way to skip the dangerous 140 lb division to challenge Maligannagi for his WBA Welterweight title. It’s clear these two don’t like each other and the trash talk and build up to this fight has been highly entertaining, hopefully the fight will be too.
June 29th – WBA Middleweight title fight – Gennady Golovkin vs. Matthew Macklin (HBO)
Gennady Golovkin, 26-0-0 (23 KOs) is one of boxing’s rising stars. He is also the most avoided middleweight in the world due to his ferocious power. Golovkin has knocked out pretty much everyone he has faced and has brutally battered and left his opponents a bloody mess. Golovkin has had trouble securing fights due to the danger in facing him but that didn’t stop the tough English Matthew Macklin from challenging him.
Macklin has a record of 29-4-0 (20 KOs) and has looked impressive in his highly disputed and controversial loss to the WBA champion Felix Sturm and was having success and winning rounds against Martinez before he was TKO’d in the 11th. In his previous fight, Macklin rebounded strongly from that loss with a KO of Joachim Alcine in the first round. Meanwile Golvokin is coming off his brutal 3rd KO that knocked Nobuhiro Ishida out of the ring. Ishida is a decent boxer who has never been KO’d even as he has been in with the likes of James Kirkland, Paul Williams and Dmity Pirog. Matthew Macklin has lots of experience and has looked impressive even when he has come up short. Macklin always comes to fight and is a come forward fighter who likes to brawl. But when you get in the ring with Golovkin, prepare to be hurt. You will be hit hard, bloodied, and likely KO’d. This has the recipe for an entertaining yet very brutal fight.
September 7th – WBA (super)/WBC Light welterweight title- Danny Garcia vs. Lucas Matthysse (Showtime)
This matchup is not set in stone, but it has been talked about and is the match that the fans are clamoring for. Golden Boy has said they were holding a 140 lb tournament where the winner of Judah vs. Garcia would face the winner of Peterson vs. Matthysse; the winner of this mouth-watering matchup would face Amir Khan. Both Matthysse and Garcia have won, so this fight should happen. Matthysse has had his eyes on Garcia for a while; it is like a lock on aim missile pursuing its target. Matthysse wants the WBC light welterweight belt and he is the mandatory to face Garcia for it. It is like a dog chasing after a car, Matthysse has been calling out Garcia, he has passed up other title shots for his shot at Garcia, and he is locked and loaded and ready to strike. Matthysse has had the potential to move up to 147 and try and earn his shot at Mayweather, but he wants Garcia first. For the most part, Danny Garcia and his team want no part of Matthysse, can you blame them? But right now they are stuck between a rock and a hard place. With Golden Boy proposing the tournament, Matthysse as his mandatory, both guys ranked number 1 and 2 in the division, the fight the fans want, and his chance at a Mayweather showdown being abolished for now… Garcia is stuck.
Danny Garcia is 26-0-0 (16 KOs) and on an extremely impressive winning streak. To get his name out there, Garcia defeated Kendall Holt. He followed up with an exciting and close fought victory over the Mexican legend Erik Morales. As the underdog, Garcia was supposed to be a relatively easily fight for Amir Khan…. Garcia had other plans when he knocked out Amir Khan in the fourth round. This was followed up with a rematch with Erik Morales where he destroyed and then brutally knocked him out in round 4. His most recent test was a highly exciting, a close but decisive victory over Zab Judah. Garcia possesses punching power, timing, counterpunching, and ring composure ring and is a threat to anyone.
Matthysse, 34-2-0 (32 KOs) is a fighter ranked number 2 at junior welterweight behind Danny Garcia, however many feel he should be in the number one spot. Matthysse has 24 knockdowns in his last 12 fights! He is a beast, and like his nickname states… a “Machine”. Most feel he should be undefeated. His first big fight and trip to the USA was against Zab Judah where he lost a controversial split decision. Two fights later he lost a highly controversial decision to the hometown fighter Devon Alexander in St. Louis. However in both defeats, both his opponents tasted the canvas. These defeats have been a blessing in disguise because during these fights Matthysse had the reputation as a slow starter. Following these defeats Matthysse has worked on starting quicker and focused on knocking his opponents out so he wouldn’t get robbed by the judges. Since then he has some tune ups… all ending in KO, and he has defeated some top fighters. Matthysse has defeated Humberto Soto, Ajose Olusegun, Mike Dallas Jr., and Lamont Peterson… all of these solid fighters were viciously defeated by KO.
This fight will determine which man sits at the top of a stacked junior welterweight division, and The RING championship will be on the line. This is the Mayweather vs. Pacquaio that never happened… its Lucas “the Machine” Matthysse vs. Danny “Swift” Garcia. If Garcia can stop wetting the bed when having nightmares about “the machine” boxing fans will be in for a hell of a show.
September 14th – WBC light middleweight/WBA Light middleweight title fight – Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Saul Alvarez (Showtime PPV)
With a Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao showdown virtually impossible to make, this is the fight boxing fans have been clamoring for. It seemed that Mayweather did not want this fight… he did not sign a binding contract stating if Alvarez fought on his previous undercard in May there would be a guaranteed fight between the two in September. This led to Alvarez pulling out of the undercard and headlining his own very successful card against Austin Trout where 40,000 fans sat in a sold out arena for a hellacious show. When the fans demanded Mayweather vs. Alvarez, Mayweather did not want to face Canelo at his natural weight of 154 lbs despite the fact that Mayweather holds the 154 lb WBA belt. But the numbers from his most recent PPV in May revealed that the PPV purchases were not as high as usual. I believe this is what drove Mayweather to take on Alvarez, in what could be his highest grossing fight since 2007 when he fought Oscar De La Hoya.
Floyd Mayweather Jr., 44-0-0 (26 KOs) takes on Mexico’s undefeated Saul Alvarez, 42-0-1 (31 KOs). A matchup that pits the veteran with skill, craft, defense and speed versus the young hungry lion possessing size, power and excellent combination punching. Alvarez is much bigger than Mayweather and will likely outweigh him by close to 20 lbs on fight night, which should play a role in this fight. Alvarez has a number of names on his resume, but most are old and/or smaller fighters. Alvarez finally stepped up competition in his last fight taking on the undefeated and skilled Austin Trout to edge a tough fought 12 round unanimous decision. There is no doubt this is Alvarez toughest test to date, while it may not be Mayweathers toughest fight, but approaching 37, will Alvarez size, power and hunger be enough to best the skilled defensive fighter, Floyd “Money” Mayweather?
October 12th – WBO Welterweight title fight – Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Timothy Bradley (HBO PPV)
An intriguing, and possibly the best matchup of the bunch, matches Pacquiao’s two most recent conquerors against one another. Juan Manuel Marquez, 55-6-1 (40 KOs) is a veteran and a legend. He has faced dozens of great fighters and legends. In his most recent fight Maruez showed great skill and punching power when he shockingly knocked Manny Pacquiao out cold. Timothy Bradley, 30-0-0 (12 KOs) is coming of what is likely to be the FOTY with Ruslan Provodnikov where he was concussed, yet displayed enormous heart as he went to war for 12 rounds to edge a 12 round unanimous decision. Previous to this fight, Timothy Bradley dethroned Pacaquio in a competitive but highly controversial decision where most felt Pacquio won.
Despite the controversy following Bradley/Pacquiao, this fight is the battle between the two who knocked off Pacquiao. The matchup is the Mexican veteran and counterpuncher, Marquez vs. the young hungry lion Timothy Bradley. Bradley is arguably one of the most skilled boxers in the game, and what he lacks in punching power he makes up for in every other category. Timothy Bradley can box, he can brawl, and he can fight on the outside and inside. Timothy Bradley has speed, but one of his best attributes is his heart. He has gotten off the canvas multiple times to come back and win and totes a very deep resume beating the likes of Pacquaio, Provodnikov, Alexander, Abregu, Peterson, Holt, Witter and Vazquez. His opponent Juan Manuel Marquez is a legend and veteran and has been in his share of huge fights. This is an exciting and intriguing matchup that displays the veteran vs. the future.
November 23rd – Welterweight fight – Manny Pacquiao vs. Brandon Rios
Both fighters are at a cross roads in this fight… yet this fight fits the bill to be a highly entertaining action packed fight with two warriors going at it. Manny Pacquiao is coming off 2 defeats, one was highly controversial, and the other fight he looked like the old Manny, aggressive, fast and powerful… until he was shockingly knocked out. Brandon Rios is coming off a close fought 12 round decision where he lost his rematch against Mike Alvarado. It was an entertaining fight and will likely be a candidate for FOTY. Besides his one and only defeat, a few fights ago Rios was “exposed” as some may say against a crafty boxer in Richard Abril, yet he snuck out a controversial 12 round decision.
What makes this matchup more intriguing is that to avoid paying high taxes, Bob Arum is putting this fight in Macau, China. This is supposed to be Pacquiaos comeback fight. Rios is supposed to be tailor-made for Manny in what should be an entertaining fight where Rios’ come forward brawling style is suited to the faster, powerful and better boxer Manny Pacquiao.
Both boxers lack defense, both boxers game is built on offence, both possess devastating punching power, heart and throw a high volume of punches. Rios is the power punching inside fighter who has a granite chin, heart and loves to take his opponents to war. Manny Pacquiao is the speedy power puncher who punches in volume and from a variety of angles and on the outside.
There is some hostility between both fight camps which started in 2010 when Brandon Rios, who was part of Antonio Margaritos camp mocked Freddy Roch’s Parkinson disease. Roch has stated that Pacquiao will get revenge for him and knock out Rios. Many questions will be answered in this fight. Is Pacaquio shot? Is he washed up? Will he be the same after his devastating knockout? Was the knockout a fluke? We will find out. Questions about Rios will be answered as well. Can Rios hang in with the elite? Can Rios adapt? Is his come forward offensive style effective against boxers with speed and good footwork? Will Rios granite chin hold up against Pacquiaos arsenal of punches? These looming questions make way for an intriguing fight where the pre-fight hype will be spectacular. This should be an action packed affair between two warriors who are not scared to take on dangerous challengers like each other and the fight will likely end by knockout for someone.
Other notable upcoming fights
Sept. 8th – Chad Dawson vs. Adonis Stevenson, Yuriokis Gamboa vs. Darley Perez (HBO)
Sept. 15th – Mikey Garcia vs. Juan Manuel Lopez (HBO)
Dec. 7th – Amir Khan vs. Devon Alexander (Showtime)