As Tim Robbins’ character states in The Shawshank Redemption, “hope is a good thing.” But sometimes, as a fight fan, hope is the worst of things. Proposed megabouts that fall through, forty dollar pay-per-views turn out to be worth forty cents, mandatory challengers often turn out to be bogus, and judging questionable. These are just a few things that test fight fans’ patience. Here are some of the things that the eternal optimists in boxing can hope for during the rest of 2005, even if we know, in our heart of hearts that they’ll never come to fruition.
I hope Floyd Mayweather proves his pound-for-pound Picasso status. I hope he teaches Arturo Gatti that pure boxing beats pure guts, no matter how many of us
want guts to prevail.
I hope Ishe Smith continues his momentum once ‘The Contender’ is finished.
Because, like him or not, the guy has star power, star power that extends far beyond the ring. And in a sport in need of a name, Ishe can become Oscar De La Hoya to a (much) lesser degree, a good fighter with better appeal.
I hope Cory Spinks makes some noise at junior middleweight. I hope he gives Ricardo Mayorga another boxing lesson, another example that the schoolyard
bully doesn’t always get the lunch money.
I hope Jeff Lacy, one of the nicest, humblest men in the sport, starts garnering some mainstream respect.
I hope Bernard Hopkins continues to defy the laws of aging.
I hope Jermain Taylor is the real deal. Because if he’s not, HBO will look awfully stupid. But that’s OK, it’s not like HBO has ever over hyped a prospect before (wink).
I hope Oscar De La Hoya gives Felix Sturm a second chance. Unfortunately, Oscar will retreat to welterweight with an undeserved win. If he didn’t grant Pernell Whitaker or Ike Quartey rematches, why would he give Sturm the privilege?
I hope Winky Wright defeats Felix Trinidad. Because if he doesn’t, he’ll fall right back to the scrap heap, a confusing southpaw without a belt.
I hope Antonio Tarver fights James Toney, if only for the pre-fight fight press conference.
A verbal sparring match between those two would elicit more
excitement than the entire Barrera-Fana pay-per-view.
I hope Roy Jones stays out of the ring, away from the crushing counters of Antonio Tarver and the relentless attack of Glen Johnson. I hope Roy continues to shine behind the microphone.
For over a decade, he ruled the square circle, providing us fight fans with moments of breathtaking skill. But now, he’s another fighter in an increasingly crowded light-heavyweight division. And that just isn’t good enough. We’ve all seen this song and dance before. Evander Holyfield and Julio Cesar Chavez played the same game before our very eyes. And for us diehards, those who live and breathe the sweet science, the decline of once great fighters is all too familiar. But the fall of a fighter of Roy
Jones’ caliber only comes around once a decade. That’s because a fighter like Jones only graces our presence that often.
He was Michael Jordan with boxing gloves, Willie Mays with trunks. And just like Jordan, who floundered in a Wizards uniform for two seasons, or Mays, who stumbled around the Shea Stadium outfield in 1972 and 1973, Roy Jones will most likely end up flat on his back again. We hate to see our legends fall. But isn’t that how it always goes.
I hope Marco Antonio Barrera has the gall to fight Manny Pacquaio again.
I hope Shane Mosley shows he still deserves the “Sugar” nickname. In a sport desperately searching for stars, his million dollar hand speed and mega watt smile would be a welcome return. But first, he’s got to defeat David Estrada, a tough young pug hungry enough to halt those plans.