First and foremost, let’s just get this out of the way for the last time: Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao are NEVER going to fight each other. Now, let’s get to business.
2012 was a good year for boxing, after we thought the sport would die when Manny Pacquiao “lost” to Timothy Bradley. There is a bunch of young talent that will keep the sport relevant after future Boxing Hall of Famers Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez retire.
After the biggest fight of his career, in which he defeated Manny Pacquiao in the 6th round to TKO, Marquez (55-6) is one of the most sought after boxers, as almost everyone wants to fight him now. The most logical opponent for Marquez will be the hungry young talented Brandon Rios (31-0). Rios has been trying to fight Yuriorkis Gamboa (22-0) for about 2 and years. However, Gamboa has managed to dodge the brawler, which has worked to Rios’ advantage. Rios had arguably the fight of the year with Mike Alvarado (33-1), winning in the 7th round via TKO, which automatically made him a potential contender for the winner of the Pacquiao-Marquez fight. Gamboa, on the other hand, decided to take his career under the rapper 50 Cent’s boxing promotion. Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson says he wants the biggest fights for his fighters, but has yet to mention he wants Gamboa to fight Rios. An interesting name however, that has been brought up for Gamboa is big-mouthed Adrian Broner (25-0).
Following Pacquiao-Marquez 4, Floyd Mayweather (43-0) mentioned that he wants to fight twice in 2013, preferably Cinco De Mayo weekend and Mexico Independence weekend, sometime in late September. The potential opponent for Money Mayweather in May is Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (31-1). That will be an intriguing matchup for Floyd, primarily because throughout his career, many people have speculated that he has dodged Southpaw fighters, like Manny Pacquiao (54-5) and Paul “The Punisher” Williams (41-2).
If Mayweather advances to 44-0 following his fight with The Ghost, a fight between him and Segio Martinez (50-2-2), another Southpaw, will be pending for the September date that Floyd wants to fight. After his fight with Martin Murray (25-0) scheduled for April 27th, you can guarantee that Larry Merchant will be asking Martinez and Mayweather will they fight each other. That will probably be a bigger fight than the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight that will never happen. If Mayweather dodges Martinez, then we may even see a fight between him and Andre “Son of God” Ward (26-0). Ward will be defending his WBC and WBA Super Middleweight titles against Kelly Pavlik in February. There are many different probabilities with so many good, young fighters out there.
A guy who would have been a candidate to fight Mayweather or Pacquiao was Amir Khan (27-3). Khan beat down Zab Judah (42-7) and was on top of the world for a minute. But after accepting a fight with Lamont Peterson (30-1-1) in his hometown of Washington, DC, Khan’s career seemed to go downhill rapidly. Peterson had the hometown crowd, hometown judges AND a referee in the ring who blatantly robbed Khan of a point for pushing Peterson off of him as Peterson consistently rushed Khan head-first. After that “loss,” Khan outmatched Danny Garcia (25-0) for almost three rounds. Then Garcia landed a hook that knocked Khan out down in the 3rd, and the fight was stopped in the 4th round. Khan was no longer a contender for Mayweather, and he needed a fight to regain confidence. Therefore, Khan challenged Carlos Molina (17-1), who is nowhere in the same league as Khan. While sitting at 27-3, Khan’s next opponent is unclear, but with his ferocious style, it’ll be interesting to see a Khan-Andre Berto fight.
After beating Amir Khan and old man Erik Morales (who should have retired in 2008 after losing to David Diaz), Danny Garcia made a poor decision for his career, but a good decision for his pockets by accepting a February 9th bout against Zab Judah, who also should retire. If Garcia loses to Judah, he will fall down the list of contenders like Khan did. And instead of climbing the Boxing charts for better opponents, he might be fighting guys like Josesito Lopez to regain relevance in the sport. Gamboa, Victor Ortiz or Mike Alvarado would have been a better opponent for Garcia rather than Judah.
Another up and comer fighter is Austin Trout (26-0), who beat Miguel Cotto in November by Unanimous Decision. But despite Trout being the winner of the fight, Cotto’s name has been constantly mentioned as an option for Canelo Alvarez’s (41-0) next opponent. Alvarez is under Golden Boy Promotions, ran by legend Oscar De La Hoya, who has said constantly that, despite his 41-0 record, the 22-year old Alvarez is not ready to fight Floyd Mayweather. He still has an awful lot of learning to do in the sport, and should crawl before he walks and fights the #1 pound-for-pound champion in the sport. Alvarez was scheduled to fight Paul Williams in September, which would have been a great fight. Unfortunately, after the motorcycle incident, Paul Williams is paralyzed and won’t fight again. Alvarez would be better off agreeing to a weight requirement and fighting Austin Trout. We all wanted to see him fight Victor Ortiz, but since Ortiz lost to Josesito Lopez, he has to work his way back up, similar to the route Amir Khan is going.
A couple of really good fights are already set in stone for the new year, and many more will follow. As long as guys don’t blame their promotion company as their reason for evading the best opponent for them, 2013 will be an even better year for the sport than 2012 was. Several fighters are on the rise, and a couple of others are fighting to prove doubters wrong, hoping for a top candidate to fight. The fireworks will start in February and might stay lit until December of 2013, rather than in the summer like 2012. So despite the Pacquiao-Bradley decision being horrible for the sport, there are too many good fighters out there to avoid the sport. Most of these guys will become household names by the end of the year.