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Fights to wish for in 2011

Zab Judah, right, lands a punch on Ernest

Zab Judah, right, lands a punch on Ernest Johnson during a boxing match at Madison Square Garden. (Nov. 8, 2008) Credit: AP

Barring a change in Floyd Mayweather’s difficult legal situation, it’s highly unlikely that we will see Mayweather fight Manny Pacquiao in 2011. It’s a shame because that is the one fight that boxing and non-boxing fans want to see.

Here are some matchups that many boxing fans would like to see:

Tim Bradley vs. Devon Alexander: Oh, wait. This fight is happening. On January 29 –A week before the Super Bowl– these two will hook up to determine who is top dog in the 140-pound division. I know, there are a lot of Amir Kahn fans who will make some noise about that, but he was shaky against Marcos Maidana. The winner of this matchup gets… Unfortunately, no one knows who the winner will get. Top Rank boss Bob Arum has said Bradley doesn’t have enough of a name to put him in the ring against Pacquiao. Could a convincing win against Alexander change Arum’s opinion? Alexander certainly doesn’t have the name, but a win against Bradley could change that.

Jean Pascal vs. Chad Dawson II: This fight is almost a certainty to happen sometime in 2011. The first bout was exciting, especially the last few rounds as Pascal prevailed with an 11th-round TKO. Dawson needs to win the rematch in the worst way to keep his name among the elite. Pascal needs to win a fight outside of Canada to get the worldwide respect he’s seeking. This has fight of the year written all over it.

David Haye vs. Wladimir Klitschko: This fight isn’t likely to happen in 2011. But it could take place in early 2012. Klitschko has been all but untouchable in the ring the last few years. Outside of his brother Vitale, who he will never fight, Haye is the only heavyweight in the world who would stand a chance. The question is will Klitschko, who has a lot of interests outside of boxing, stay around long enough to give Haye the chance.

Zab Judah vs. Amir Kahn: Ok, this is something I want to see. After watching Judah the last few months, it is clear that he's more focused than ever. Could it be too little, too late? Maybe. But After watching Kahn's shaky defense against Marcos Maidana a few weeks ago, there's no doubt Judah could make this an exciting fight. Judah needs to fight to keep his name in lights. Khan is trying to move up the 140-pound ladder.

Miguel Cotto vs. Antonio Margarito II: Before you say you don’t care about these two, consider this: Many people view Cotto as a fighter in a fragile physical state and Margarito as a shot fighter after getting beat up by Pacquiao. That means these two would present the perfect matchup. A fight between these two around Cinco de Mayo would draw a big crowd at the Garden.

Andre Berto vs. Shane Mosley: This is only assuming Mosley doesn’t hook up with Pacquiao in May. This fight would’ve happened already if not for the terrible earthquake that rocked Haiti. This is a bout that should be revisited by both parties. If Mosley can’t get into the ring with Pacquiao, a fight against a young up and coming welterweight would keep him fresh and his name at the forefront. For Berto, it’s a chance to prove he could beat a good fighter. Berto has yet to be tested. Now is the time.

Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez: The reason why this fight is so far down this list is because Marquez has priced himself out of another tilt against Pacquaio. As of right now, there is little chance these two will get into the ring with each other on May 7, Pacquiao’s target date. That could change if Marquez changes his financial demands.

Here are some other bouts that could spark some interest:
Sergio Martinez vs. James Kirkland: Can’t see Martinez, especially after his big knockout against Paul Williams, putting everything he’s accomplished on the line against a young bull like Kirkland. This would be a slugfest.

Paulie Malignaggi vs. Zab Judah: This may not be a national draw, but it would be a backyard Brooklyn brawl between two popular local guys. This could draw 10,000 to 12,000 at the Garden or the Prudential Center.

Miguel Cotto vs. Sergio Martinez: Cotto can fight at 154. This wouldn't bad.

Andre Ward vs. Jean Pascal: Interesting style matchup. Maybe at a catch weight? 

So what fights would you like to see? Email all requests to Marcus.henry@newsday.com. I'll make it happen. Just kidding. I'll post the responses next week.


 

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