In the words of the great Frank Sinatra, 2013 was “a very good year” one of, if not, the best in recent memory in the boxing world. Spoiled by two stellar performances from Floyd Mayweather, it was the first time in a long time he fought twice in a calender year. Always the underdog, Danny Garcia proved us all wrong again, derailing feared Argentinian Lucas Matthysse’s juggernaut of a hype train with a measured, boxing masterclass only a few were convinced he had in his locker. The Super Middleweight picture welcomed a new player as “Saint” George Groves gave the performance of his life in his highly controversial 9th round stoppage loss to Carl Froch, and Marcos Maidana humbled brash young pretender to the throne Adrien Broner with a dominant points win.
So, what does 2014 have in store for us? Lets have a look….
May 3rd : Mayweather – Khan/Maidana
For months now speculation has been rife that Amir Khan had signed an agreement to fight Floyd Mayweather at the MGM grand garden arena on May 3rd, Khan has been campaigning for this fight for two or three years now and with no other realistic option available with the ability to pull in the numbers Khan would, it seemed fairly set in stone. Enter Marcos Maidana. The Argentinian “banger” wasn’t even close to being in contention for a shot at the pound for pound king and a career defining payday until he upset the apple cart in defeating Broner. As we know in boxing you are only as good as your last fight and despite having a loss on his record to both Khan and Devon Alexander, Marcos Maidana is a genuine front-runner, so much so over the last few days Mayweather has had a poll up on his website asking fans to decide who got next, early signs suggest Khan’s far superior fan-base should secure him the vote.
12th April : Pacquiao – Bradley II
Despite Manny Pacquiao getting knocked out cold by Juan Manuel Marquez over a year ago he is still the second biggest draw in Boxing, if only there wasn’t a Berlin wall sized divide between Golden Boy/Showtime and Toprank/HBO we would definitely be in for a stand out year. Unfortunately there is one, so any talk of Mayweather – Pacquiao or any TopRank/Goldenboy match-ups are pointless.
Following his thoroughly one sided points win in Macau, China over blown up lightweight Brandon Rios, Pacquiao had three opponents to chose from. A fifth fight with Marquez, a rematch with Bradley or a fight that nobody particularly wants with Siberian wrecking ball Ruslan Providnikov. With Marquez rather content at the ending of their last bout he didn’t particularly want a fifth fight and tried to play hardball with TopRank and Arum. In turn Arum quickly tied up the services of Bradley on a renewed contract with the lure of a rematch with Pacquiao guaranteed, tied in a nice little package with the promise of full VADA testing across the board. This leaves Marquez with the option of a bout with Providnikov or a smaller fight for nowhere near the same money, that’ll teach him.
June : Kell Brook – Shawn Porter
Assuming Kell Brook breezes by his tune up on March 15th he will finally get his shot at the World title he has craved for so long. Two injury postponed dates with Devon Alexander scuppered the Sheffield natives big plans for 2013, and following Shawn Porters energy filled upset of the negative Alexander, “Special K” has his eyes locked on to a different target.
In my eyes Porter will be a far easier fight purely because he comes forward and takes chances. His high energy style of cutting the ring off smothering Devon and never giving him a second to think was the perfect game plan for that fight, if he constantly charges towards Kell Brook he will put himself in danger and if they don’t respect Kell brook as a fighter which a lot of the American boxing media don’t, a big right hand will land sooner rather than later and a lot of doors suddenly open for Kell, including the fall out of the Maywether/Khan/Maidana scenario.
Potentially we could have two of the biggest British bouts in history to come this year if the chips fall in the right way.
Check back for part II when we talk about Froch – Groves, Frampton, Haye-Fury, Cotto – Martinez and much more…