COMMENTARY | While the boxing world is looking ahead to a promising 2014 and putting together wishlists full of dream fights, some of us believe in addition by subtraction and are crossing our fingers that certain rumored bouts don’t get made.
Here’s a list of five fights that could help ruin the coming year and, therefore, should never see the light of day:
Floyd Mayweather vs. Amir Khan
Mayweather is the best fighter in the world. Amir Khan, on the other hand, may not even be one of the fifteen best welterweights at the moment. The physically gifted Brit was once a top prospect and considered a main stage player at junior welterweight, but has completely fallen apart in recent years and hasn’t looked even marginally impressive in quite some time. Some would even say that the former Olympian has looked psychologically damaged and scared stiff in recent outings. Worst of all, if this mismatch is actually signed, it would prevent Mayweather from receiving a challenge from fighters who deserve the chance and would actually give their all in pursuit of the upset.
Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez
It’s not that Pacquiao and Marquez don’t make for compelling encounters. A fifth meeting between the two would probably be an entertaining bout, but why bother at this point? Marquez seems set on closing the Pacquiao chapter in his career after his face-first knockout of the Filipino legend last December. Pacquiao and his people could also rest comfortably if a fifth bout is not made, claiming the series win with an official 2-1-1 record in four encounters. The 35-year-old Pacquiao and 40-year-old Marquez, both with limited time left in the sport, should move on to new challenges in the coming year.
Bernard Hopkins vs. Beibut Shumenov
Hopkins will be 49 years of age by the time he makes the next defense of his IBF light heavyweight title and even the biggest B-Hop supporters have to understand that, at this point, the ageless wonder is more cleanup crew than road paver. Hopkins continues to win because he preys on the technical and tactical errors of young, inexperienced fighters. It should also be understood that Hopkins’ run is only worth continuing if he continues to face the best in his division. His dominant win over Karo Murat earlier this year did little for Hopkins or the sport and a bout with the shamefully inactive WBA champ, Shumenov, would only be slightly less pointless. For Hopkins, the targets should be Stevenson, Kovalev, or retirement.
Saul Alvarez vs. Carlos Molina
It’s not that IBF junior middleweight champ, Molina, doesn’t deserve a big payday and a chance to knock Alvarez off his huge golden pedestal, it’s just that his pairing with the young Mexican star would mean that bigger, better bouts weren’t able to be made. Alvarez-Molina would mean that entertaining fights like Alvarez-Cotto and Alvarez-Kirkland couldn’t be made and that Alvarez’s path to post-Mayweather redemption will take much longer than anticipated.
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Alex Leapai
Australian slugger, Leapai somehow became the WBO’s no. 1 contender to Wladimir Klitschko by scoring an upset over inactive Denis Boystov in November. Despite the underdog drama and “Rocky” feel to Klitschko-Leapai, expect nothing but a sloppy, one-sided farce of a bout. Believe it or not, there are some potentially compelling match-ups available to the three-belt heavyweight kingpin, but the journeyman-level Leapai is no match for Klitschko and this fight, really, would be nothing more than a waste of everyone’s time.
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