by Matt Gerovac
Of course, the most obvious and sought after would-be bout of 2014 is a Mayweather/Pacquiao showdown. But there a few intriguing match-ups that could take place in 2014. Here’s a breakdown of a few dream fights. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that any of these fights will happen in 2014, but after all, the holiday season is all about making dreams come true.
We can’t ignore the elephant in the room. For Mayweather and Pacquiao to finally stand toe to toe, there will be a ton of politicking involved. But, instead of talking about business, let’s just look at the matchup. In the past, the only type of fighters that have given Mayweather trouble are boxer/puncher types like Cotto or speed guys like Zab Judah who, like Pacquiao, is a southpaw. Although Cotto was eventually outboxed and Judah tired in the late rounds, both gave Mayweather problems by staying busy without getting careless. Pacquiao has shown that he is susceptible to counter punches when he abandons defense and looks to exchange. But, if it’s possible for Pacquiao to work in and out, keeping his hands up and head moving, he could give Mayweather trouble. Mayweather is a master boxer that never wastes punches. But there is a reason why iron-chinned warriors like Jose Luis Castillo still were not able to just step inside and drop Mayweather. He can actually punch. Many seasoned fighters like Shane Moseley and Steve Forbes, who have sparred with both fighters, have been quoted that Mayweather has the stronger punch of the two.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez is the biggest thing to come out of Mexico since Julio Caesar Chavez. This remains true despite a loss to Mayweather that was no less than completely one-sided. Gennady “GGG” Golovkin is boxing’s newest “it” guy, with impressive knockout wins and gym stories about how he can’t find sparring partners because of his extraordinary punching power. So far, most of the opponents that both of these fighters have faced have become little more than carcasses in their respective wakes. So, fight someone that matters. Fight one another. Golovkin would have the edge in this match-up because Alvarez has never faced a man his own size with comparable, or possibly even better, power in both hands. Both men have shown that they have some slickness to their boxing game, rather than just brawling. Both men haven’t had significant tests to their chins or heart.
If this fight doesn’t happen (and it probably won’t) just put either of these guys in with Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin. He poses an interesting match-up because he’s a natural middle weight who can box and punch.
Light-Heavyweights, in general, are interesting because they can box like the little guys and bang like the big boys. In 2013 both of these fighters tenderized all comers, culminating last month with both scoring impressive stoppages. This matchup is intriguing, of course, because of the possible fireworks, but also the styles. Adonis “Superman” Stevenson is a boxer/puncher southpaw that has shown recently that he doesn’t just rely on his big left. He can stalk an opponent or land big shots while countering. Sergey Kovalev may be the slower of the two, but has a lot of the slick, patient boxing strategy to his game that would make this fight hard to pick. Kovalev may have the stronger punch of the two as his opponents just don’t seem to react well to his shots.
This fight, unfortunately will probably not happen as Stevenson will likely opt for a big-money fight with aging superstar Bernard Hopkins. Kovalev will undoubtedly stay busy in 2013, but there is little left for him to prove in the light-heavyweight division, other than facing Stevenson.
On a side note, Andre Ward is a tough, if not impossible, matchup for anyone in the super-middleweight/light-heavyweight divisions, which explains his difficulty in finding fights. As proven again versus Edwin Rodriquez, no one looks good losing to Andre Ward. It would be great to see Stevenson or Kovalev lose to Andre Ward, but both men would rather make money mopping the floor with bigger, slower, and less-skilled competition.
Wilder versus a real heavyweight contender (preferably American)
Okay, so since Mike Tyson, real heavyweight contenders in the United States have been as rare as a Sasquatch. But, Deontay Wilder has been chopping down enough trees in the heavyweight division to make even Paul Bunyan take notice. So, put him in there with someone that matters. Granted, as discussed, our heavyweight options are limited in the United States. But, there are options. How about Seth Mitchell? He needs to redeem himself after looking horrible against, who else, but Chris Arreola. How about Chris Arreola? He’s shown he’s still hungry. He can take a punch, which is important against Wilder. Perhaps the most interesting matchup is Bryant Jennings. Jennings has shown he can box, he’s extremely quick for a heavyweight, and can still punch with the big boys.
Now, with most of the big guys playing football or basketball in the United States, let’s go abroad. Wilder could fight Mike Perez, Andy Ruiz, Dereck Chisora, Tyson Fury, and that’s just brainstorming. Maybe he could even land a Klitschko matchup before they hang up the gloves. But, whatever the case, make the next opponent better than a 40-year-old has-been or a young, green never-was, which has been the norm for Wilder so far.
Stocking Stuffers – This is a short list of young fighters that should be on your radar in 2014.
Terrell Gausha – Middleweight/Super-Middleweight
The 5-time Golden-Gloves champion, 2-Time USA Boxing National Champ,
and 2012 Olympian out of Cleveland, Ohio hasn’t disappointed so far as a professional. A student of the sport, Gausha started boxing at the age of ten. Orthodox, with power in both hands, he also does what many young boxers forget, going to the body. Everything he does comes off of a stiff jab, and he knows how to finish guys once he has them in trouble. Look for Gausha to step up the competition after starting his pro career with seven wins in a little over a year.
Gerald “El Gallo Negro” Washington – Heavyweight
Washington, a former football player at USC who was also in several NFL camps, has had a lot of success since beginning his professional boxing career. Managed by Al Hamon, he has been taking the slow route against journeyman heavyweights while working his way to a 10-0 record with 7 KO’s. A gifted athlete at 6’5″ and 250 pounds, the Mexican-American phenom has also managed to tap in to the Mexican fan base with his recent knockout win in Mexico City. His size and athleticism has been overwhelming to the opponents he has seen so far, but look for Washington to appear in more televised matches in 2014.
Julius “The Chef” Jackson – Super Middle-weight
The son of 3-time world champion and boxing hall-of-famer Julian “The Hawk” Jackson, Julius Jackson has some big shoes to fill. But, he’s well on his way, qualifying for the 2008 Olympics out of the tiny island of St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands and working his way to an impressive 17-0 record with 13 KO’s. Like his father, Julius won’t impress anyone with his speed, but he stalks his opponents, preferring to use his big punching power from long range. “The Chef” graduated from the Florida Culinary Institute, and may find the recipe for even more success in 2014.