A Christmas wish list for boxing

By Alex Stone


A Christmas wish list for boxing

Merry Christmas to all of our readers!!

There was once a time when boxing was the Mecca of all sports. Tens of thousands of fans used to pack an arena, screaming for Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Joe Louis, George Foreman, and so on, and in the 1970s, there were millions more watching at home on network television. Now, it’s sad to say that a crowd of 8,000 – 10,000 is considered a great success. Certain things happened over the last decade and a half which severely plagued this great sport. Bogus sanctioning bodies recognizing multiple world champions beyond recognition, a deteriorating, out of shape heavyweight division, and plain old corruption are just a few of the unfortunate events which have driven away many once loyal fans. However, in recent years, boxing has slowly been making a come back, and it may very well be saved over the next year or so, but certain things must take place first.

So with the holidays being around the corner, Santa, all I want for Christmas is…

A cruiserweight fight… cruiserweight fight: These guys are afraid of their own shadows! O’Neil Bell, Jean Marc Mormeck, where are you??

More fighters like Shannon Briggs and Paulie Malignaggi: Many people do not like the way that Briggs and Malignaggi talk about themselves and other fighters. But the truth of the matter Muhammad Ali did the same thing. For the most part, these guys talk, and then they back it up. Even though people may hate it, it makes them more interested in the sport.

Jermain Taylor – Winky Wright II: Their first fight was close, exciting, back-and-forth action. I had Wright winning 115-113, and I (along with much of the boxing world) would love to see them do it again. With the way the Wright and Taylor won their last fight’s, there is no reason this fight can’t happen with a 50-50 split in money.

Antonio Tarver – Glen Johnson III: Roy Jones beats Tarver. Tarver beats Jones. Johnson beats Jones. Johnson beats Tarver. Tarver beats Johnson. Tarver beats Jones. Hopkins beats Tarver. Hopkins “retires” and Tarver stars in “Rocky Balboa”. Confusing, huh? I believe a bit of clarity is needed, and if that fight can't be made, then how about someone, anyone at 175 pounds with enough guts to fight Glen Johnson. This man has been around forever, winning most, losing some, and getting robbed in others. The man is so sick of being ducked that he’s talking about moving to cruiserweight… yeah because that might help… nope.

Manny Pacquiao – Marco Antonio Barrera II: In their first meeting, Manny Pacquiao was up on all score cards before stopping Marco Antonio Barrera in the eleventh. Barrera hasn’t lost since and is scheduled to have a fight in early March. The Pac-Man recently made short work of Erik Morales, and March should give him time to prepare… guess where I’m going with this? Another fight between two warriors; Barrera has a chance to redeem himself; Pacquiao has a chance to add to his pound-for-pound resume, not to mention capture the real super featherweight world championship. The fight would be action-packed and would sell out in days, making a killing on PPV in America, Mexico, and the Philippines. It could do no harm to boxing.

Mike Tyson – Evander Holyfield III. Call me crazy, because most people will, but with the current state of the pathetic heavyweight division, why not? I guarantee that it will do at least 350,000 PPV buys. Holyfield is once again in comeback mode and on a quest to become champion for the fifth time. Tyson is pretty much promoted by the IRS and needs some serious cash to pay them off. If all those people stood in a casino lobby to watch Tyson train recently, and at least a few thousand more spent a good amount of money to see him fight a human punching bag with head gear and 16-ounce gloves on. Imagine what sales could be made if people thought Tyson was actually going to get back into good shape (around 225-230 lbs), and possibly knock out his longtime rival Holyfield. At least 5,000 people will buy tickets and 100,000 more will purchase the PPV just to see if Tyson will attempt to bite any other parts of Holyfield’s anatomy. However, someone will have to re-light that fire under Tyson’s ass, the same fire which once made him the baddest man on the planet.

Bernard Hopkins – Roy Jones II. Roy Jones Jr. is one of the all time greats. However, over the past couple of years his legacy has become a bit tarnished; he’s lost some of his luster to say the least and I’m sure his ego wants to recapture that shine. Hopkins will no doubt go down as one of the best to ever lace them up. However, deep down inside, Hopkins most likely feels the need to erase that one decisive loss to Jones, one in which Jones literally sprinted around the ring, paused, and hit Hopkins with a barrage of punches. Hopkins is the epitome of an old school Philly fighter. Jones is one of the most charismatic figures in the game since Ali and Leonard. Both men talk a good game, and when focused fight a great one as well. Jones has had plenty of time to rest since embarrassing Prince Badi Ajamu, and Hopkins is now officially un-retired. They are two of the most recognized names in the sport in the last decade and a rematch would still do wonders as far as recognition for boxing.

Ricky Hatton vs.Jose Luis Castillo vs. Miguel Cotto vs. Antonio Margarito vs. Shane Mosley (in any order): Obviously we all know that the heavyweight division isn’t attracting that many fans these days, all the excitement lies in the lower divisions now. If Floyd Mayweather holds true to his promise to retire (which I highly doubt), then these will be the five left as the best and most entertaining welterweights in the world. They need to fight each other!!! Ricky Hatton and Jose Luis Castillo are fighting two different opponents on the same card; supposedly if they both win they will face each other. Miguel Cotto has a mandatory defense of his WBA title against Oktay Urkal. How about in the meantime a mega-fight between Margarito and Shane Mosley? The winner gets Cotto. Boxing needs some excitement… these are the guys who can bring it.

Arturo Gatti – Diego Corrales: Diego Corrales can no longer make 135 lbs. Arturo Gatti has one more fight left on his HBO contract. Both men can box, but never choose to do so. Gatti has recently stated that he will not just fight anyone anymore… he needs to pick his opponents better, ones who would want to brawl with him. Who better than Corrales? This would be another all out fistic spectacular which probably wouldn’t go the distance.

Shannon Briggs vs. Sam Peter or Lamon Brewster: We know that Briggs will mix it up with anyone. A title defense against Sam Peter or Lamon Brewster would only mean one thing… someone is going to get rocked. This is what the heavyweight division needs.

Michael Moorer goes back into retirement: This is not what the heavyweight division needs.

Nikolay Valuev vs. any decent heavyweight: I’m really getting sick of a seven foot behemoth beating up on people like Monte Barrett and Owen Beck, what the heck? Oh wait, silly me, Valuev is defending his title against the oh so dangerous Jameel McCline, my apologies. (For those who cannot tell through the written word, that was sarcasm).

A Heavyweight Tournament,NCAA Style: One of the biggest problems in the sport today is the condition of the heavyweight division, which is basically that of a comatose person on life support. I like what the Superfighter tournament has come up with, but it has been postponed twice already and who knows if it will ever happen. Some things I don’t like about those plans, however, is that these are non-sanctioned fights, take place with larger gloves, and consist of four round fights, all in one night. It’s a nice thought, but this isn’t the Olympics. I have come up with a similar concoction, one in which would take place over a year’s time, and make all of the four major sanctioning bodies (WBC, WBA, IBF, WBO) a decent amount of money. The tournament would consist of four different brackets, containing the top four rated fighters in each sanctioning body, much similar to that of a college basketball bracket. If a fighter is ranked in the top four of more than one sanctioning body, he will be skipped over in one bracket and replaced by the next best ranked fighter.
In the first round, the champion in each bracket would put his title on the line, and the other fighters would be fighting as an elimination bout, thus enabling each sanctioning body to extract a fee. The second round would be the champion against the winner of the elimination fight. The third round would consist of four champions fighting each other, thus creating two unified champions; the losers of the previous round would fight for an inter-continental title. The fourth and final round would consist of the two unified champions going at it to determine one undisputed champion; the losers of the semi final would fight in an elimination bout for all the titles, again allowing for the four bodies to make some nice money.

My current bracket looks like this:
The first would be the IBF. Wladimir Klitschko would face off against Ray Austin, and Calvin Brock would be matched against Sultan Imbragimov. Klitschko and Brock would move on and have a carbon copy of their previous fight. Klitschko would win that Bracket.
The bracket underneath that one would be the WBA. Nikolay Valuev would fight Ruslan Chagev, and unfortunately we’d have to see John Ruiz against Sergei Liakhovich. Valuev would slip past Chagev and Liakhovich would beat Ruiz. Valuev would ultimately prevail and go on to face Klitschko in the semifinal.
On the top of the right side would be the WBC. Oleg Maskaev and Samuel Peter would duke it out and to my dismay James Toney would get in on one more time with Hasim Rahman. This would result in another fight between Peter and Toney, one in which I believe Peter will win much more decisively.
On the bottom would be the WBO. Shannon Briggs would put his title on the line against Sultan Imragimov and most likely end it within five. Luan Krasniqi and Lamon Brewster would once again go at it in a repeat of their very exciting bout over a year ago. Briggs and Brewster would go at it in a slugfest, but Briggs seems to have too much power to handle.
Klitschko would hand Valuev his first loss and Briggs would win a brutal war with Peter. Briggs and Klitschko would then go at it to determine the undisputed champion. In my opinion Klitschko is the most skilled heavyweight in the game right now, and Briggs is the hardest puncher in the pact. I believe that Klitschko would be pitching a shut-out, and get caught by a vicious left hook or straight right, ending his reign as champion before it even begins.

But Santa, what I really want most of all is…

Floyd Mayweather not to retire: Despite what people say about him, he is indeed the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport. Nobody has ever given him the true respect he deserves because of the way he fights. Critics say he doesn’t take chances, and he doesn’t want to get hit. Let me tell you, as a fellow pugilist, if you were blessed with the speed and talent that Mayweather possesses, you wouldn’t get hit either. If you can win a fight decisively without getting nailed or taking a risk, why would you want to? Many thought Diego Corrales was too much of a puncher for Mayweather, and he sent Corrales to the canvas five times before the fight was stopped, everyone then said Corrales was tailor made for Mayweather. After he beat Jose Luis Castillo, twice, everyone said he got lucky. I got news for you… the fights weren’t that close, Mayweather won convincingly. Half the boxing world said Zab Judah was too big, too fast, and too strong for Mayweather. However, if it weren’t for the riot in the 10th round, Mayweather would have ended it before the final bell. Everyone then said Judah was a bum, and Mayweather should have been fighting Carlos Baldomir, who was too big and too powerful (since when is a guy with 13 KOs in 43 wins too powerful?). So what did Mayweather do? He beat the hell out of Baldomir for 12 rounds. Following the beating, everyone said Baldomir was too slow and should never have been in a ring with Mayweather. He just can’t win, at least not with the public and the media. It’s no surprise that Mayweather says he is going to retire. Everyone says he should fight this person, and he does. Everyone says he is going to lose to this person and that person, and when he whoops them, those same people downplay his performances. Mayweather probably feels that all the people who are currently saying that Oscar De La Hoya is too big, and that he has the speed and power to stop Mayweather, are going to have a change of hear if he win. They’re probably going to say that De La Hoya is too old, washed up, and should have retired after he lost to Bernard Hopkins. We need a fighter like Mayweather around, not only because he is one of the best to put a pair of gloves on, but simply because fans either love him, or they love to hate him.

The milk and cookies are by the fireplace Santa. Enjoy!


Alex Stone