The Neutral Corner

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Fight wish list for 2014

HBO Sports president Ken Hershman told a group

HBO Sports president Ken Hershman told a group of boxing writers during his introductory news conference at HBO's Manhattan office that the back-and-forth between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather has become an obstacle to making other bouts. (Credit: Getty Images)

Here’s the Neutral Corner’s annual fight wish list for 2014. We understand that many of these fights won’t happen, but we can always dream.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao: We promise this is the last time we will ask for this fight. Is there a snowball’s chance it could happen in 2014? If Pacquiao’s tax problems have been accurately reported, there is a possibility. Mayweather has repeatedly stated he will never again work with Top Rank boss Bob Arum. Since it’s difficult to believe Arum would pass on the opportunity to promote what would still be one of the most lucrative bouts in the history of the sport, the two will likely remain at an impasse.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Marcos Maidana: If this matchup doesn’t light your fire, you haven’t seen Maidana fight. Maidana proved to the world he could hold his own against a quicker fighter when he took care of Adrien Broner in San Antonio on Dec. 14. Could Maidana be the one to take the zero off Mayweather’s record? It’s a question that could be answered in 2014.

Miguel Cotto vs. Canelo Alvarez: Cotto and Alvarez, arguably the two most popular Latino fighters in the world, need to meet sometime in 2014. Cotto, 33, can still bring it. He scored a solid third-round TKO against Delvin Rodriguez in October. It was Cotto’s first win since his ninth-round stoppage of Antonio Margarito on Dec. 3, 2011. Alvarez, thanks to Adrien Broner’s loss to Marcos Maidana, can stake his claim to being the sport’s top young boxer, which would make this bout a big sell on pay-per-view.

Erislandy Lara vs. Canelo Alvarez: Lara was impressive in his unanimous-decision win over Austin Trout on Dec. 7, which made it a virtual impossibility that this fight happens in 2014. But be on the lookout for it in midway through 2015.

Miguel Cotto vs. Sergio Martinez: If there’s any boxer who deserves a big money fight, it’s Martinez. With wins over Kelly Pavlik, Paul Williams, Serhiy Dzinziruk, Darren Barker, Matthew Macklin and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Martinez has done everything that has been asked of him. A $$$ fight against Cotto would be a just reward.

Gennady Golovkin vs. Sergio Martinez: Few boxing fans would want to miss this one. Both fighters possess devastating power. Hard to imagine a bout like this wouldn’t be on the fight of the year list. It might not go the distance, but the idea of seeing several powerful exchanges and knockdowns might be enough.

Adonis Stevenson vs. the Lucian Bute-Jean Pascal winner: Stevenson made himself the darling of Canada and a ton of money after a devastating first-round knockout of Chad Dawson. Pascal and Bute will square off on Jan. 18 on HBO’s Championship Boxing. Stevenson vs. either Pascal or Bute later in 2014 could emerge as the most watched and most profitable fight in Canadian history.

Andre Ward vs. Bernard Hopkins: We know. Neither is a particularly exciting fighter, but both are excellent boxers. Both are thinkers who understand what the “Sweet Science” is really about. Will it happen? Doubtful, because Hopkins wouldn’t drop to super middleweight and Ward won’t move up to light heavyweight.

Danny Garcia vs. Adrien Broner: Broner’s decision to take on a bigger and stronger fighter in Marcos Maidana, a legitimate welterweight, cost him. A fight against the 140-pound Garcia would be more like it for Broner, who needs to rebound from his loss to Maidana. Unfortunately, both fighters are still in development mode, which means it’s unlikely they’d fight each other in 2014. But we can always hold out hope.

Nonito Donaire vs. Joseph Agbeko: Donaire is still popular, still charismatic and took a major step forward after a ninth-round TKO of Vic Darchinyan. But his loss to Guillermo Rigondeaux last April still lingers. Agbeko, fresh off a loss to Rigondeaux, is in the same boat as Donaire. This is a bout that should have taken place a couple of years ago, but we wouldn’t mind seeing it in 2014.

Deontay Wilder vs. ????: Wilder, an Olympic Bronze Medalist at heavyweight in 2008, has won all 30 of his fights by knockout. But his best opponent was Audley Harrison. It’s time for a step-up in competition.

Other possibilities…
Gennady Golovkin vs. James Kirkland
: This might not go the distance, but the display of power would be impressive. After Kirkland’s destruction of Glen Tapia, he needs to step up in competition…Adrien Broner vs. Mikey Garcia: Does Broner want to fight at lightweight again? Would Garcia want to move up from super featherweight to lightweight? These questions need to be answered in the positive for a bout like this to take place…Floyd Mayweather vs. Danny Garcia: This would be an intriguing matchup. Garcia has an impressive string of wins over Lucas Matthysse, Zab Judah, Erik Morales and Amir Khan. He’d be more than a test for Mayweather. This would require Garcia moving up to welterweight, but we don’t think he would mind.
 

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