There were a lot of things I had wished for in 2015 for the boxing world, like the supposed mega bout between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao having a dramatic outcome, and the Vladimir Klitschko-Tyson Fury fight ending in a stoppage. Also, a showdown between Saul Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin would have been more interesting.
But 2016 looks more promising compared to 2015 because of the major events in the year we are leaving behind. So here are my wishes for 2016:
Pacquiao wins his last bout and retires – no boxing superstar wants to end his career in shambles, or with a terrible beating or defeat. Even if he lost to Mayweather (49-0 with 26 knockouts) in their May 2 super bout, Pacquiao (57-3 with 38 KOs) has the chance to end his career with a win. But taking on tomato cans or fading fighters like Andre Berto would do Pacquiao’s legacy no good—just remember how Mayweather was mocked after he beat Berto.
Vitali Klitschko takes on any of the three big young heavyweights – Vitali (45-2 with 41 KOs) hits harder than his younger brother Wladimir and has a granite chin. So it would be interesting to see how he would fare against top heavyweights Tyson Fury (who just beat younger brother Wladimir), Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua. If Vitali beats Fury (25-0 with 18 KOs), Wilder (35-0 with 34 KOs) or Joshua (15-0 with 15 KOs), he could be regarded as one of the best heavyweight champions of all time. But at 44 years old, father time may be fast catching up on Vitali, who is no longer a world champion (he gave up the title to run for mayor of Kiev) but is still a respected fighter.
Fury, Wilder and Joshua mix it up —these three giant heavyweights, who stand from 6’6” to 6’9” and weigh between 230 to 260 pounds, can give fight fans a treat if they take on each other.
Thurman, Garcia, Brook and Crawford take on each other – Keith Thurman (26-0 with 22 KOs), Danny Garcia (31-0 with 18 KOs), Kell Brook (35-0 with 24 KOs) and Terence Crawford (27-0 with 19 KOs) are the four “young guns” in the welterweight division who all can hit hard. A match up between Thurman and Garcia, Garcia and Brook, and Brook and Crawford, and what have you will surely fire up fight fans.
Alvarez vs Golovkin—Alvarez (46-1 with 32 KOs) holds one version of the middleweight title which he won by beating Miguel Cotto (40-5 with 33 KOs) in November, while Golovkin (34-1 with 31 KOs) has three belts. If the Alvarez-Golovkin bout materializes, the pre-fight hype can bring back memories of Thomas Hearns vs Marvin Hagler.
Roman Gonzalez clashes with Naoya Inoue—Gonzalez (44-0 with 38 KOs) is currently The Ring Pound-for-Pound king while Inoue (8-0 with 7 KOs) is the No. 1 contender in The Ring junior bantamweight list that has no declared champion yet. This would be an interesting match-up between two fighters who stand no taller than 5’4.”
Andre Ward vs Sergey Kovalev – Ward (28-0 with 15 KOs) has literally cleaned up the super middleweight division and Kovalev (28-0-1 with 25 KOs) awaits him at light heavyweight. During the past five few years, the light heavyweight division has not gotten much attention compared to the divisions where Pacquiao and Mayweather fought. And the light heavyweight division has to contend with the attention given to the cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions. So a showdown between Ward and Kovalev could restore some luster in the light heavyweight division.
Nonito Donaire gets another crown—Donaire (36-3 with 23 KOs) annexed last December 11 the vacant World Boxing Organization junior featherweight title by decisioning Cesar Juarez (17-4 with 13 KOs). Donaire could add another crown at junior featherweight by taking on Scott Quigg (31-0-2 with 23 KOs) or Carl Frampton (21-0 with 14 KOs). A rematch with nemesis Guillermo Rigondeaux (16-0 with 10 KOs) can also be considered if Donaire beats either Quigg or Frampton.
Mayweather stays retired— enough said.