Hochberger has some nice ideas for next for Canelo. Readers, please put on your matchmaker caps, and toss in some matches you'd like to see in the near future. (Hogan)
I have a dream… that some no-brainer boxing matches get made. The below fights would either sort out who’s the man to beat at various weight classes or provide fireworks for fight fans around the globe. See below for fights I’d like to see because… wait for it… they make sense.
Victor Ortiz-Amir Khan: This is a classic crossroads fight as both guys would absolutely need a win to continue drawing major network fights/title shots. The winner would remain relevant to his weight class, and the loser would have to reconsider his career. Neither guy wants to be a gatekeeper. On top of the logical sense this fight makes, it would be an instant fight-of-the-year candidate. Both fighters were blessed with explosive offensive tools that other championship-caliber fighters may only dream of. However, they both have an aura of vulnerability that would make this even more interesting. This would absolutely be a firefight, and I’d love to see who the last man standing would be, because one of these guys would get knocked out. As Michael Woods once pointed out to me, the most salient part might well be that they’re both with Golden Boy. Serve it up, Oscar.
Canelo-Carlos Molina: In short, the poor guy deserves it. All Carlos Molina has done over the past few years is beat the top fighters in his weight class. He’s certainly not the most exciting fighter out there, but he poses a real threat to Canelo based on his experience, toughness, and style. Beating Molina gives Canelo’s resume significantly more credibility than any previous opponent. Plus, Miguel Cotto is tied up with Austin Trout (which I just don’t get).
Sidebar: For all of those complaining about Canelo’s choice to fight Josesito Lopez in a clear mismatch need to back off the kid. He originally was set to face Paul Williams (as tough an opponent out there based on skills/style), and then agreed to fight the massively powerful James Kirkland who is a big fella. It’s not Canelo’s fault that those didn’t work out.
Sergio Martinez-Canelo Alvarez: Why the hell not? Sergio can absolutely make 154 lbs, so weight is not an issue. Assuming Sergio’s injuries from the Chavez, Jr fight are not too serious, I would love to see him fight Canelo. Frankly, I would expect a more competitive version of the Chavez fight. Martinez would dominate in spurts with movement, accuracy, combinations, and strategy, but Canelo is a more tactful boxer than Chavez. Canelo would definitely land more than Chavez did, and he’d have the sense to actually cut the ring off from Martinez. Perhaps most importantly, Canelo is faster than Chavez. Let’s get it on and see what Canelo’s really made of!
Sergio- GGG: I’ve already stated my case for this fight. Gennady Golovkin exploded on the HBO scene with his dominant stoppage a few weeks back, and in my opinion, he’s the most dangerous opponent out there for Martinez. His power is for real. But what’s most important about GGG as far as being a threat is his experience and ring acumen. Whereas Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. tried to walk Martinez down, GGG would box with him. GGG has crippling power, sure, but his stellar amateur background and professional career have allowed him to learn how to use that power extremely effectively. I cannot name another fighter that makes a more compelling matchup with the Champ.
Robert Guerrero-Timothy Bradley: You just have to know this fight won’t come off. Not so much because it’s Top Rank and Golden Boy, but moreso because it makes so much sense. I’ve never fully bought into Robert Guerrero as a truly elite fighter (major titleholder in a loaded division), but beating Bradley would definitely convince me that he’s at least right on the cusp. Tim Bradley needs a win against a top contender (which Guerrero undoubtedly is) to remain at the top of the list for big fights in this division, and this would be perfect proving ground for both fighters. Bradley would be favored, and I’d pick him to win, for the record.
Leo Santa Cruz-ANYONE: I’m so in on this guy. How can you not love an immense volume puncher who throws with bad intentions and attacks the body? Well, I guess if you’re not a boxing fan. Hopefully he gets some meaningful fights in a suddenly loaded division. Would love to see him get the Mares-Moreno winner.
Broner-Gamboa: I’ve called for this one in the past, and I want to call for it again. I don’t think weights would be a sticking point (assuming Broner can still make 135), and this would be a defining fight for both fighters. If Broner can make it look easy against a fighter with the offensive prowess of Yuriorkis Gamboa (even though he also has some defensive woes), then we know he’s the real deal.vThis would set Broner up for a run of significant fights from 135-147 lbs over the next few years (Danny Garcia seems like the most logical follow-up fight if Broner gets past DeMarco/Gamboa)
GuillermoRigondeaux-Nonito Donaire: Despite being little guys, these are two of the finest P4P guys we have for exactly opposite reasons (technical brilliance for the former, explosive power for the latter). It’s always great to see explosive offensive athletes (like Donaire) fight calculated ring generals with outstanding technical wits like Rigo. The wildcard in this fight would be Rigo’s power. He’s not just a great technical boxer, but he can really punch, too. This would be a great lesson in the sweet science.
Paulie Malignaggi- Kell Brook. This fight would also answer some serious questions. I absolutely love Paulie Malignaggi’s game. He talks a lot, but he typically backs it up in the ring. He’s got a ton of heart, and when he’s going right, he’s a tough out for any fighter. That said, I think he’s in the upper-echelon of gatekeeper status at this point in his career. While typical gatekeepers don’t hold title belts, I don’t think anyone would pick Malignaggi to beat the elite fighters of his division. Kell Brook is in need of a fight against a real American gatekeeper if he has plans on being relevant in the US. Malignaggi is just what the doctor ordered.
Marcos Maidana-Lucas Matthyse: Duh. If Maidana can’t make 140 anymore (which I doubt), find a catchweight. These are two of the heaviest hitters we have in the entire sport pound-for-pound, and they are never in dull fights. I would pay PPV prices just to watch these two fight. Someone is getting knocked out, and it’s going to be highlight-reel material. And there’s gravy on top: they’re both Argentinian. Let them fight in Argentina (possibly on a card headlined by Sergio Martinez) so the nationalistic fervor plays a role. What are we waiting for? Both fighters are on the verge of major title shots. I will say that Maidana has gotten much better under Robert Garcia. But once he gets into an exchange, his instincts take over. I just start salivating at the idea of their first true exchange. Matthyse’s straight right probably gets their first and ends the fight early.
Danny Garcia-Tim Bradley: What I really would like to see is Danny Garcia vs. Juan Manuel Marquez. But since that ain’t happening, Timothy Bradley is the next best choice. I’d guess Bradley can still make 140, so weight shouldn’t play a major factor. I think their styles would actually make for a very fan-friendly fight, and a win for either would cement their status atop their respective weight classes. Why Danny Garcia is fighting Erik Morales again is mind-boggling to me. It’s a lose-lose situation. He gains nothing by beating him a second time (other than some deserved criticism for taking the fight), and he loses everything by losing to El Terible. Makes even less sense than Cotto-Trout since Cotto has little to prove at this point.
Edwin Rodriguez-Kelly Pavlik: Edwin is ready for a major step up. I’ve seen him fight inside with great power and effectiveness, and I’ve seen him fight on the outside with great accuracy, jabs, and ring generalship. What I haven’t seen him do is fight a top-10 fighter at any weight class. Kelly Pavlik is also ready for a meaningful fight. He’s yet to face someone (since his comeback began) of any significance. A win against Rodriguez would validate a matchup against Andre Ward or Chad Dawson. Similarly, a win over Pavlik would catapult Rodriguez into the top tier of 168-175 lb fighters where there are plenty of marquee matchups and big paydays (Bute, Froch, Ward, Kessler, etc.). You could say it’s a crossroads fight where the winner is thrust into the big time, and the loser is relegated to gatekeeper/contender status for the foreseeable future.
Andre Ward- ???: Is there really anyone who can give this guy a run for his money? I don’t know the name. Could Floyd make his legacy in tact as he has alluded to by stepping up? This would be the final stamp on an illustrious career if Floyd would go up in weight (by a lot) to fight another guy who can reasonably be considered the best fighter on the planet (who happens to be in his prime). A win against Ward would be way bigger (literally) and more impressive than a win against Manny Pacquaio.
The lack of solid opponents is less indicative of crap opposition (like Roy Jones’ remarkable career) and more about his dominance. Carl Froch’s a world class fighter and seeing their rematch is of no interest due to Ward’s utter domination in the first encounter. Sergio Martinez is too small (and frankly would get beaten badly in my opinion), but maybe Pavlik? Even Pavlik has only a puncher’s chance to beat Ward. I simply don’t know how you beat that guy, and I certainly don’t know anyone built to do it. Another option is Golovkin just due to his explosive power… but even that may be a stretch.
I am pleased to see sensible fights being made to sort through contenders recently (such as Lara-Matirosyan, Berto-Bradley, etc.), but I don’t fully understand what’s holding up some of the above. Perhaps HBO or Showtime has the cahones to open up fan voting through twitter as to who the fans want to see fight next, but I’d say that’s a dream.
Readers—What fights do you want to see?
Let me know @Blakehoc