Big fights that could happen in 2015

Ed C. Tolentino

Ed C. Tolentino

While everybody is waiting for the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. dream fight to get off the blueprint stage, other big fights for 2015 are being discussed in the boxing circle. The proposed fights may not be as huge as Pacquiao-Mayweather Jr. but they are competitive and figure to keep the fans occupied while they wait for the big one.

First on tap is the proposed May 2 showdown between WBC middleweight (160 lbs.) champion Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez of Mexico. The fight will coincide with Mexico’s annual celebration of Cinco de Mayo although the fight date is not a lock because Mayweather also wants Pacquiao on May 2. The 34-year-old, battle-scarred Cotto (39-4, 32 knockouts) resurrected his career under the tutelage of trainer Freddie Roach and became a champion again in June when he manhandled Sergio Martinez in 10 rounds in a dominating performance.

Alvarez, 24, was a huge disappointment in 2013, dropping a decision to Mayweather in a battle for the combined WBC-WBA junior middleweight crown. While Alvarez has since picked up two straight victories to raise his ledger to 44-1, 31 knockouts, his performances of late have not been that eye-popping. A fight with Cotto is nonetheless guaranteed to crack the box-office because Alvarez enjoys a huge following, ditto Cotto. It’s the best matchup available in the Latino market; the ring savvy and experience of the left-hooking Cotto against the young and aggressive Alvarez. Cotto wants the fight at Madison Square Garden, New York, but Las Vegas, San Antonio (the Alamodome) and Dallas (the Cowboys Stadium) are also being considered.

Over in the super middleweight (168 pounds) class, WBA-IBF super middleweight king Carl Froch (33-2, 24 knockouts) is reportedly mulling on a possible title defense against former middleweight champ Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. of Mexico. Briton Froch is not warm to the idea of defending against countryman James DeGale and is leaving his schedule open for another challenger. Chavez Jr. (48-1, 32 knockouts) has not fought since March and his condition remains suspect. He is also mired in a contractual dispute with Top Rank Promotions, but word is that negotiations have resumed with Bob Arum for a return to the ring. Froch-Chavez Jr. would have been a great match two years ago, but given the trigger-happy styles of both men the fight will still merit attention. Froch has never fought in Las Vegas, Nevada and is insisting that the fight be held in the famous boxing capital.

In the featherweight (126 lbs.) division, there is a proposal to pit WBA king Nicholas “Axe Man” Walters (25-0, 21 knockouts) against WBO counterpart Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko (3-1, 1 knockout). Walters, who rose to stardom after knocking out Filipino Nonito Donaire Jr. in six rounds in November, wants WBC champion Jhonny Gonzalez but Lomachenko recently came out and declared himself ready for the hard-punching Jamaican. Ukrainian Lomachenko, one of the greatest amateur boxers of all time, became a world champion in only his 3rd pro fight when he outpointed Gary Russell in June. Lomachenko is a very agile boxer while Walters offers brute power and in boxing the contrasting styles make for a great matchup. The fact that both boxers are affiliated with Top Rank makes the fight easier to make.

Lastly, in the flyweight (112 lbs.) class, the best fighter nobody knows, WBC champ Roman Gonzalez (41-0, 35 knockouts) of Nicaragua, appears headed for a rematch with WBA-WBO counterpart Juan Francisco Estrada (31-2, 22 knockouts) of Mexico. They first met in 2012, with Estrada putting up a credible performance before losing on points. Estrada, the only adversary to go the distance in Estrada’s last 13 fights, rebounded strongly by winning the WBA-WBO flyweight crowns against Brian Viloria in April 2013. He has since made four successful defenses, including a win over Filipino prospect Milan Melindo. Estrada is an excellent ring tactician while Gonzalez is a pressure fighter who offers one-punch power. It will be definitely be interesting to see the fighters hook it up again.

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