All I want for Christmas are these eight bouts
December 18, 2005
It’s nearly Christmas and since WWE diva Trish Stratus has decided to play Scrooge and turn down my requests for a date, I’ve decided instead to share with you this gift list.
And unlike that new tie and shirt, which you know you’ll never wear, these eight fights – if certain matchmakers and promoters care to help us out – are guaranteed to keep on giving for the rest of the year:
1. Samuel Peter vs. David Tua: What would happen if the “Nigerian Nightmare” collided with the slugging Samoan? How about nothing short of a dream heavyweight slugfest. Neither puncher has a reverse gear and each can knock out a rhinoceros.
Winner: Who cares? But it’s a sure bet to keep you riveted to your seat – or jumping out of it – for as long as it lasts.
2. Ricky Hatton vs. Arturo Gatti: This junior welterweight explosion could happen sometime in 2006. After “The Hitman” defends his 140-pound championship against some sanctioning body’s mandatory contender, he may come to America to take on “Thunder” Gatti – boxing’s version of the Human Highlight Reel.
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Both men start bleeding during their respective ring entrances, so it’s not likely to last the distance. Even better, Hatton knows only to come forward and Gatti won’t be afraid to stand and trade. This could be even better than Gatti-Ward I.
3. Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather : “The Golden Boy” keeps threatening to leave boxing after having a “career-defining fight.” Which is probably why he’s chosen to meet Ricardo Mayorga – a no-hope, amateurish banger – instead of Mayweather, boxing’s pound-for-pound best boxer.
As much reason as there is to respect all that De La Hoya has accomplished, if he’s going to continue fighting, there’s just as much reason to demand he take on Mayweather, who’s so slick that he couldn’t be hit if he were trapped in a broom closet.
“Pretty Boy” Floyd could spot De La Hoya 14 pounds and still emerge victorious. He’s just that good.
4. Jorge Arce vs. Rosendo Alvarez: Maybe the HBO experts don’t know who these guys are, but hardcore boxing fans sure do. The diminutive pair would once again prove that size doesn’t matter and give you as great a fight as you’ve ever seen.
Arce’s first fight with Hussein Hussein was a bloodbath and if not for Diego Corrales-Jose Luis Castillo, it would have been Fight of the Year in 2005. And Alvarez, you will remember, remains the only blotch on the great Ricardo Lopez’s record (Alvarez fought to a seven-round technical draw with Lopez in 1998).
Arce’s younger, faster and probably stronger at 112 pounds.
5. Juan Diaz vs. Jesus Chavez: Never mind who holds which alphabet belt. Aside from Corrales-Castillo III – which is scheduled to take place on Feb. 4 – this is the best fight at 135 pounds.
Neither “The Baby Bull” nor Chavez is a heavy puncher, but what they lack in firepower they make up for in volume. Expect 12 rounds of toe-to-toe action, with neither taking a backward step or a breather.
Once again youth prevails.
6. Jean-Marc Mormeck vs. Kelvin Davis: Mormeck is one of the reasons that the cruiserweight division is no longer mediocre. He mixes in a little boxing with raw aggression and has earned the No. 1 position in the division.
Reno’s Davis may no longer have his belt and has been dealt two losses in a row, but don’t hold that against him. His promoter, Don King, and the IBF are the reason he got stripped of his title. He tore a biceps muscle and twice fought on a week’s notice in losing to Guillermo Jones and Steve Cunningham.
Unless you have gone to watch him train at his Koncrete Gym, you can’t possibly have a feel for what the powerful, free-swinging Davis is capable of if he has a seven-week training camp with the proper sparring.
7. Joey Gilbert vs. Jesse Brinkley: This is the fight local boxing fans have been waiting for: Reno vs. Yerington. Lawyer vs. disgruntled ex-client. Two former contestants on NBC’s reality series The Contender finally duking it out.
For this to happen, Gilbert has to take a major step up in his next fight and possibly go 12 rounds in a rematch with another former Contender – Jimmy Lange – on Feb. 18 in Fairfax, Va.
Winner: At this point, it’s a pick-em fight. Brinkley would’ve been the pick a year ago, but he’s been boxing defensively more than punching lately. Yerington’s bad boy hasn’t been the same fighter as he was when he knocked out Joe Garcia in two rounds in Reno and Cleveland Corder in one round in Idaho in 2003.
If Brinkley is to beat Gilbert, he’s got to let his hands go. If Gilbert is to get past Brinkley, he must first prove himself against former victim Lange.
8. Hatton vs. Miguel Cotto: There’s a reason Hatton is on this wish list twice. After knocking out Kostya Tszyu and Carlos Maussa this year, he’s simply the most exciting fighter in the game right now.
Cotto, for his part, looked like a can’t-miss legend-in-the-making, but after getting rocked by dress-making DeMarcus Corley and dropped by Ricardo Torres, he’s got a lot of questions to answer first.
The stroppy Englisman is too strong, brings too much pressure and has too much experience for Cotto to deal with at this stage of his career.
n Contact Mike Houser at email@example.com