Well 2012 has come and gone, most notably with a helluva year for Nonito Donaire, a nice batch of notable and exciting fights, and of course the knockout heard ’round the world, with Juan Manuel Marquez shocking everybody with a one-punch KO of the great Manny Pacquiao.
So while there’s still plenty to discuss as it pertains last year, and by the way, our End of Year awards (aka The Scrappies) are in progress, I want to start looking ahead at what I’d most like to see in 2013. Now there’s no shortage of things to look forward to but I’m not limiting this list to just fights, but rather things I want to do and see; so here goes nothing…
- Donaire vs. Mares (and Rigondeaux): Obviously Nonito Donaire had himself a huge 2012. Not only did he completely dominate his competition, but he did it against formidable opposition, all while being involved with VADA and allowing himself to be drug tested 24/7. As one of the best fighters in the world, there are two opponents on the horizon that many would have liked to see him face last year but will undoubtedly be in the discussion for 2013. Namely, Abner Mares and Guillermo Rigondeaux. Mares succeeded in Showtime’s bantamweight tournament to establish himself as one of the best in the world and has since made the move to junior featherweight; outpointing Anselmo Moreno in impressive fashion. A showdown between the two is one of boxing’s most wanted matchups that is a tough-to-make bout due to the apparent never-ending tension between Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank. Rigondeaux on the other hand, is promoted by Top Rank and seems to be an easier proposition. As another unbeaten titlist, Rigondeaux is as skilled as they come, even though he’s not always very entertaining and has been involved in some back and forth verbal wars with Donaire. If it were up to me, I’d have Donaire face Rigondeaux first and have the winner meet Mares in the fall.
- More Boxing on Network TV: Fight fans and media have been clamoring for the return of boxing to network television for years and fortunately for us, we finally got some in 2012. Both CBS and NBC got in on the action in recent weeks and we know that Main Events, which promoted Adamek vs. Cunningham II has the ties to NBC (due to the Fight Night series) to bring more shows on the network. CBS was also quite pleased with the ratings that Leo Santa Cruz’ bout did as part of the whole Khan-Molina Showtime card, which had some early action on the network before switching over to Showtime for the evening. It may be small, but there’s a bit of momentum going for the sport as it pertains to network TV and I hope we get to see more of it this year.
- Marquez vs. Pacquiao V: I feel like a sadist and hypocrite for saying it but I want to see them tangle one last time. I wasn’t a big fan of a fourth confrontation but as well all know, it ended up being the best of the series. I’d argue that Marquez pretty much ended the rivalry with his right hand in the sixth round but it’s one of those things where fans will want to see if Pacquiao can come back from that knockout and I happen to be one of them. Pacquaio-Mayweather is DOA as far as I’m concerned and unless Marquez gets Bradley or someone of that nature, there’s not much left for him to do but ride into the sunset, so why not.
- The End of the GBP-TR Cold War: I already mentioned it earlier, but the bottom line is that this beef between Golden Boy and Top Rank is bad for business, bad for its fighters and bad for the fans. Depriving the sport of meaningful fights between fighters from each stable is absurd and has no positive outcome. Damn the existing problems and get right to the bottom line – fans want to see good fights and that’s what matters.
- Mayweather in the Ring: Floyd is good; damn good. In fact, he’s the best in the sport. Getting to see him fight once in a while is not enough and is pretty disappointing. At the end of the day, I want to see him fight more often and I’m hoping he selects his May opponent sooner rather than later. It’s a shame he can’t fight more often but I understand that a fighter of his caliber needs plenty of time to promote given the nature of how big those events are. At the very least, make them worth it.
- More of Andre Ward: The super middleweight champ is fun to watch. Perhaps he’s not as explosive as other top fighters out there, but he is as smart as they come and has the ability to not only dominate opponents, but to pour it on when he needs to; just ask Chad Dawson. Injuries however have plagued him in recent years and we haven’t gotten the opportunity to see him in the ring as often as he probably should be, though the Super Six at least allowed him to shine against meaningful opponents. He’s injured again and won’t be fighting Kelly Pavlik in March, which was a fight I was looking forward to and there’s no definitive comeback date, due to his upcoming surgery. Let’s hope he recovers quickly and doesn’t fight just once like he did last year.
Surely there are other things that come to mind, but these are the few that would be at the top of my list. Got any must-haves for 2013? Share your thoughts!
A few others that I’d like for 2013:
- A big enough boxing event to use Cowboys Stadium.
- A meaningful heavyweight bout.
- The retirement of Roy Jones.
- Canelo vs. Chavez Jr.
- The return of HBO’s Legendary Nights!
- Higher production value at PPV events (ie. Top Rank’s recent style).