By Sergio L. Martinez
It is still early in the year, but never too early to build a wish list. After looking around, I found a few contests that would be nice to see sometime this year. I understand opinions are like a certain orifice in our bodies – everyone has one. Still, here we go:
Guillermo “Chacal” Rigondeaux v. Leo “Terremoto” Santa Cruz (122 lbs.): Both of these combatants are highly skilled and appear to be in the prime of their respective careers. Santa Cruz is a classic Mexican pug: a hard-charging buzz saw with great variety, a solid chin, and an iron will. The issue with Santa Cruz is that Rigondeaux is the best natural counter-punching fighter since Juan Manuel Marquez; Santa Cruz’s frenetic attack approach would play right into “Chacal’s” best attributes, making for an exciting fight. In the end, Rigondeaux is just a better overall fighter and would likely stop Santa Cruz late in a great battle.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. v. Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao (147 lbs.): Wasting time on anything regarding this “fight” is definitely dumb but, what the hell? In the unlikely chance that it actually happens, the event itself will be a massive spectacle but the actual fight: not so much. Unless Pac-Man is able to catch Mayweather with a punch that seriously hurts the Michigan product, Floyd will cruise to an easy points victory by staying on the outside and out-boxing the Filipino icon. It won’t be a pleasing affair (as Floyd Jr. will not take any chances of getting caught with a punch), so expect a lot of dull moments. There is one guarantee: The Pay-Per-View price tag would be a total rip-off.
Gennady “GGG” Golovkin v. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (168 lbs.): I understand that Golovkin is a middleweight by nature, but he has mentioned the willingness to move around and the J.C. Jr. fight has been cited before. Gennady is a reasonably skilled pug with scary natural power. He’s not an amazing technician but the guy can definitely fight and crack a skull with either fist. He appears to be fearless and in the prime of his professional career. Chavez Jr. is a different story. The Mexican’s dedication, or lack of, is well-chronicled along with his affinity to enjoy Bob Marley’s favorite lung cleanser.
Still, if J.C. Jr. decides to actually train, he’s got the chin, power, size and testicular fortitude to make it a hell of a struggle. I know that his preparation is more likely to be lacking, but if it’s intact, I predict Chavez Jr. would be victorious in a brutal instant classic of a match.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. v. Amir Khan (147 lbs.): Don’t give me the “Khan’s got no chin” or “if Mayweather doesn’t fight Manny next, he’s scared” nonsense. In actuality, Khan is more of a stylistic nightmare for Floyd Jr. than Pac-Man. Amir is an extremely rangy welterweight with fast, heavy hands and a very educated jab. He’s got good power in both gloves and his pedigree is beyond reproach. His chin has failed him in the past, but Mayweather is not a monstrous puncher and Amir does not have a glass jaw, either.
This fight would be a good one as Khan would commit to an aggressive offensive behind a commanding jab ala Oscar De La Hoya which is sure to keep Mayweather occupied and in constant retreat. Floyd will find that he has to stand and trade midway through the fight (and we all know Khan has no problem doing this), making for great action. When the final bell sounds, Mayweather would squeak out a controversial decision win in an exciting battle.
Wladimir “Dr. Steel Hammer” Klitschko v. Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder (Heavyweight): As much as this is a pointless fight to break down, the heavies are still the “flagship” division, so here goes nothing. Wilder lacks a lot of experience and the totality of boxing attributes to be a serious threat, but the facts are: The Bronze Bomber is big, athletic and can punch with that right hand. He’s come a long way, but unfortunately, still has a long way to go before he can be considered a real menace to the reigning heavyweight kingpin.
As for Klitschko, the coolest thing about him is his “Dr. Steel Hammer” moniker (well, being engaged to Hollywood starlet who just had his baby should give him some cool points in America–ed.). Still, one can’t argue with Wladimir’s natural abilities, great power, amazing pedigree and beautiful boxing abilities. This fight wouldn’t go more than three rounds as Wilder would be the quintessential “deer in headlights” and the last thing he’d see is Klitschko’s massive right fist right before he is put to sleep.