By: Sergio L. Martinez
For over three decades, Ron Katz has applied his craft as a matchmaker, dedicated to knowing and understanding the sweet science, in order to put food on his table. His credentials are impressive and for seven consecutive years, he was named the Matchmaker of the Year by The Ring magazine. Katz has also matched and worked with multiple world champions and Hall of Fame caliber fighters. He is well-known and respected in the boxing community as one of the most competent matchmakers of the modern era. Boxing Insider had the opportunity to pick his boxing brain to see which he believes are the best fights that can be made in various weight classes. Katz was gracious with his time and provided the following list and ensuing explanations:
122 pounds – Guillermo Rigondeaux v. Leo Santa Cruz:
Katz described the possibility of Rigondeaux and Santa Cruz as a “fascinating matchup between a highly skilled boxer in Rigondeaux and a relentless, nonstop punching machine in Santa Cruz.” He questioned whether Santa Cruz could “sustain effective pressure to wear down Rigondeaux? Or will Rigondeaux, with his deft footwork and speed, nullify the advances of the Mexican-American Buzz saw?” Katz predicted Rigondeaux to win by decision.
130 pounds – Mikey Garcia v. Takashi Uchiyama:
“Mikey Garcia v. Takashi Uchiyama,” Katz stated, “would be a display of the all-around talent of Mikey Garcia against the brawling style of Uchiyama.” He anticipated the fight to be “an all action affair” and foresaw Garcia “getting off the deck and stopping the Japanese boxer late in what is sure to be a war.”
135 pounds – Yuriorkis Gamboa v. Terrance Crawford:
He reported that this matchup would be “strictly for aficionados of the sweet science, as both of the combatants are well-schooled and possess fast hands.” Katz believed that Crawford’s “activity level and (what could be an advantage) as a southpaw” would lead him to “win a decision of a fast moving and technical boxing match.”
147 pounds – Timothy Bradley v. Keith Thurman:
Katz defined this bout to be “interesting” as Bradley “is a guy who doesn’t know how to lose.” He looked to Bradley’s history when he “showed his toughness against Ruslan Provodnikov and has an amazing desire to win.” Katz then reported that “Thurman is a kid that gets better every time out” as he has good boxing skills and can really whack.” He speculated that if the two fighters were ever to fight, the outcome could go either way: “If Thurman can draw Bradley into a brawl, [he would have] a very good chance of stopping Tim [but if] Bradley fights a well calculated fight, picking his spots, I can see him eking out a close decision.”
154 pounds – Demetrius Andrade v. Erislandy Lara:
“Demetrius Andrade V. Erislandy Lara is another match for the boxing purist,” Katz claimed. He conveyed both fighters are “extremely skilled and possess fast hands.” Katz acknowledged that he has a bias due to his professional relationship with Andrade, but indicated that Andrade may have an edge because Andrade “is a little better defensively and enjoys natural physical advantages over Lara.” Nonetheless, Katz projected Andrade to take the match with a split decision win.
160 pounds – Gennady Golovkin v. Peter Quillin:
He speculated that the Golovkin v. Quillin fight, a “‘bombs away’ type of middleweight clash,” will be a “can’t-miss action fight for as long as it lasts.” Katz stated that the Quillin was a “willing brawler, while Golovkin represents a more technically sound boxer with great punching power.” He judged Golovkin to win by knockout, due to his advantages in skill over Quillin.
168 pounds – Andre Ward v. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr:
Katz determined this matchup to have “a major caveat: If Chavez Jr. shows up in the best shape of his career, I think that because of his physical presence and power, the Mexican can give Ward a run for his money.” However, Katz confirmed that “we all know the type of fight Ward will fight so this entirely depends on Chavez.” He predicted “a brave effort by Chavez” but ultimately won by Ward.
Heavyweight Division – Deontay Wilder v. Tyson Fury:
Wilder v. Fury would be a “wild affair of two very charismatic fighters,” Katz stated. He explained that the “insane” buildup to the fight would lead to the decisive question, “Who is able to impose their will on the other?” Katz was torn but “I’d have to go (sic) with Wilder by KO.”
These are definitely some intriguing matchups provided by Katz, and this list makes obvious his clear understanding of styles that make for great fights. Because of the politics, self-cannibalization and television deals associated with boxing, we may never get to experience a lot of these matches. Still, one can only hope that many of the bouts come to fruition as they would be great for the sport.