The Boxing world is heating up like a balmy summer in South Beach . Several key matchups are scheduled and regardless of what weight class you follow, (except maybe the heavies), there’s more than enough to go around as the best in the business today get ready to rumble!!!!!!!!! Noting that there are several other fights scheduled, this piece will take an in-depth look at six in particular that will undoubtedly set the world of boxing ablaze. All of the fights are huge but we’re gonna look at them starting from the most anticipated globally and work our way down. May 5th/Las Vegas: Oscar De La Hoya (38W-4L, 30KO’s) vs Floyd Mayweather Jr. (37W-0L, 24KO’s)
- Easily the most anticipated fight of the bunch. This fight matches possibly the biggest name associated with the sport since “Iron” Mike Tyson against a man most would call possibly the most talented (speed, offense and defense) in the sport since Muhammad Ali. Both men have legacies on the line that will be cemented and defined by the end of the fight. Oscar De La Hoya is a fighter who’s done it all from the Olympics to multiple weight class champion, etc. The one knock on ODH is that even if he wins, his record against the true greats of his era would only go to a marginal 1-4. He lost to Shane Mosley twice, he lost to Tito Trinidad, and he was annihilated by Bernard Hopkins. He did manage to defeat Fernando Vargas, Ike Quartey, and Ricardo Mayorga but none of these fighters boast a quarter of the total talent that Floyd Mayweather does, and although Hopkins and Trinidad had strength advantages, only Mosley comes close to his speed and uncanny defense which remains nearly unparalleled in the sport today. Floyd is not as battle tested but he makes no secret about the fact that he’s coming to display the sweet science of boxing, not brawl to appease people who wanna see slugfest. ODH has the skills to win this fight but for a man who’s conditioning in the late rounds has always been questionable, being a year older (34) certainly won’t help the cause. May 5th can’t come quick enough…The World Awaits!!!
July 21/Location TBD: Bernard Hopkins (47W-4L-1Dr, 32KO’s) vs “Winky” Wright (51W-3L-1Dr, 25KO’s)
- In the first fight we covered you have probably the most completely talented fighter of the era…In this fight you have the other two that could arguably round out the top 3 list. This matchup to some will be a bore-fest, but to anyone who knows the sweet science that boxing is, this fight pairs two men that standalone in their respective weightclasses, bar none. Bernard Hopkins is the best ‘throwback’ fighter in the game. Rolling shoulders to slip punches, bangin’ on the inside, the whole nine yards…Winky on the other hand has a STIFF left jab that doesn’t quit with an arsenal to support it. Not many boxers think inside the ring and adjust as well as Hopkins does but Winky’s peek-a-boo defensive style makes him nearly impossible to hit. The great Tito Trinidad learned this all too well as he went a full twelve rounds against the defensive specialist without landing 5 flush punches. Should be a battle for the ages.
May 5th/Location TBD: Ricardo Mayorga (28W-6L-1Dr, 23KO’s) vs Fernando Vargas (26W-4L, 22KO’s)
- Two men who can give a punch and take a better one. This fight has slugfest/brawl written all over it. This is one of those type of matches that most fight fans dream about. Both men will talk the talk and in the ring walk the walk as well. Blood, bumps, and bruises from the beginning to the end. Neither man cares much about the defensive aspect of the fight game…They come to fight and will force the opponent fight because backing down has never part of their agendas. All I can say about this one is get the medical staff ready. Band-aids, gauze pads..hell, for this one, we might even need a respirator. Not really much to talk about here…Memo to ringside photographers: Leave your white shirts at home…They’ll definitely leave red.
June 9/New York City: Zab Judah (34W-4L, 25KO’s) vs Miguel Cotto (28W-0L, 23KO’s)
- This matchup pairs two guys that are listed as with potential to be great, but for unfortunate reasons the jury’s still out on both of them. Zab Judah has squared off against the likes of Floyd Mayweather (Loss-UD12), Cory Spinks, (Loss-SD12), and Kotsya Tszyu (Loss-KO’d Rd2), and although the fights gave him well needed experience, they all ended as bad experiences. Miguel Cotto on the other hand hasn’t faced enough top tier fighters and the B-Class fighters he did fight he was able to get pass but after getting rocked in a couple matches his management team has sort of handpicked his opposition ever since. Here you have a matchup with one guy who is ‘tested and never proven’ against another who’s somewhat ‘never proven and barely tested’. Should be a great fight because both have knockout power and good skills…They also have very questionable chins. This fight could come down to whoever gets rocked first. Could go either way.
June 23/Las Vegas: Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton (42W-0L, 30KO’s) vs Luis Castillo (55W-7L-1Dr, 47KO’s)
- This is another slugfest in the making but of all the matchups in this ‘Pick 6’ segment, this one has perhaps the best upset potential. Alas the Vargas/Mayorga showdown, this match pairs two guys with the ability crack at each other until the break of dawn, never thinking twice about even trying to avoid a shot in return. Trouble is, Columbian bomber Juan Urango exposed Ricky Hatton not so long ago, showing everyone that Hatton has a very low tolerance level for good shots to the body. Castillo will no doubt exploit this weakness because he has the height, reach, strength, and ability to do so. Ricky Hatton will have his way for a bit and land his patented ‘tattoo-to-the-kisser’ shots throughout the fight but Castillo is a naturally bigger guy and won’t back down nearly as quick as others have. Hatton is the supposed legend on the rise, but his trip to greatness will be detoured on this night. I look for Castillo to get the job done, maybe even inside of the 12 rounds scheduled. That’s up for debate, but I don’t think it’s much of a mystery that he’ll expose Hatton like no one else has been able to. Juan Urango had the ability, he was just too slow. Castillo is Urango all over again for Hatton, only he’s much quicker and will engage much more.
April 7/Location TBD: Joshua Clottey (30W-1L, 20KO’s) vs Diego “Chico” Corrales (40W-4L, 33KO’s)
- This fight matches two talented guys with a lot to prove. Diego Corrales is coming off a loss to Joel Casamayor and Joshua Clottey is coming off a lost to Mexican Antonio Margarito. Although Diego Corrales has been in the ring with some of the greats of his era, (Mayweather, Castillo, Casamayor), much like Zab Judah, he didn’t fare too well against them. Clottey on the other hand hasn’t faced too many highly notables but against the one who he did square off against, he was well on his way to winning before injuring his hand. His performance was so inspiring that he was able to land himself in a high profile fight despite the loss. This could be an epic battle because Diego, (despite a somewhat questionable chin), is never afraid to mix it up and Clottey is one of those young fighters who can take a heck of a punch and lands one even greater. These two fighters don’t have the notoriety of Hatton and Castillo so this won’t go down as a huge upset, but there’s no question to anyone who knows the fighters that Clottey will score an upset in this one with a possible early stoppage. Diego, although powerful, doesn’t have the power to penetrate Clottey’s beard while Clottey’s power on the other hand will be more than Diego seems to be giving him credit for.
Honorable Mention Fight: Antonio Margarito vs Paul Williams. Two welterweight bruisers with a reckless abandon. Unfortunately details of this fight are still a little sketchy but once the two fighter camps hash out the details and this fight actually materializes, this fight will no doubt take us from a ‘Pick 6’ frame to a ‘Magnificant 7’. Stay tuned.