Boxing


Sharkie’s Machine: Some Suggestions for Boxing in 2008

By Frank Gonzalez Jr. - December 28th, 2007 - 2007 will go down in the books as a good year. There were some better match ups and the rise of some up and comers that show lots of promise for the New Year. My greatest hope for 2008 is that boxing adopt a realistic rankings system that pits the best against the best and not the popular against the undeserving. If Boxing can establish a ONE Champion per division philosophy, this sport can soar once again to being one of the most popular sports worldwide, like it used to be (if not THE most popular sport). I realize that it’s a daydream to think it could happen because those who rule boxing think this is the best way to make money. They are very wrong.

Heavyweight

Oleg Maskaev vs. Samuel Peter is a good start but somehow, though it’s unlikely to happen, Peter should have a rematch against Jameel McCline. How do you get knocked down three times and win so big on the scorecards? McCline managed to win more than just the first two rounds and the third round was 10-7 as Peter was downed twice and given extra recovery time by the referee, after being downed once in the second. On paper it’s not an exciting match up but who can say they weren’t on their feet screaming when Peter was almost KO’d so early in the fight?

Peter didn’t exactly put on a boxing clinic from rounds 4-12 either.

Wladimir Klitschko will fight Sultan Ibragimov in February, both bring Titles to the ring so that’s a valid match up but we do want to see someone step up to Klitschko already. Wladimir should definitely fight the winner of Maskaev vs. Peter in his next fight after Ibragimov, if he beats Ibragimov. Ruslan Chagaev should be in line to fight whoever wins the Peter Maskaev, Klitschko Ibragimov fights.

Cruiser Weight

Steve Cunningham is slated to fight unbeaten Marco Huck for the IBF Title and WBC, WBA Champion David Haye should fight the winner of the Cunningham Huck contest.

Light Heavyweight

This is real simple, Chad Dawson is set to fight former Champion Glen Johnson, after which he should be in a tournament between Zsolt Erdei, Clinton Woods and Danny Green so the one man left standing can be named…The Champion of the LHW Division.

Super Middleweight

Joe Calzaghe is the King of this roost and he should defend his title against either Lucien Bute or Anthony Mundine. Calzaghe has talked of wanting to fight Bernard Hopkins and that would be an interesting fight, to see if Joe can prevent Bhop from turning his exciting style into mush. Old as Hopkins is, he is crafty and dangerous when he wants to be. Just ask Antonio Tarver.

Middleweight

You have Kelly Pavlik, Felix Sturm (who’s last fight ended in a Draw against Randy Griffin), Arthur Abraham and Jermain Taylor, who will get a chance at redemption against Kelly Pavlik a couple of days after Valentine’s Day. Meanwhile, Sturm and Abraham need to fight each other and the winner readies up to fight the winner of Pavlik vs. Taylor II. After which, there will be ONE top dog at Middleweight that we can honestly call, The Champion. Nothing complicated about that.

Jr. Middleweight/Super Welter (why can’t we settle on one name for this division, its bad enough we have so many divisions as it is!)

Vernon Forrest came back after a long injury related layoff and was quickly installed as a top contender given a Title shot that he won. He is not so young and needs to make as much moolah as possible before Father Time ends the ride. De La Hoya won’t fight him, too dangerous. I think Oscar wants to fight Ricky Hatton or Manny Pacquiao. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if Oscar would go way down to fight 126-pounder Chris John.
As usual, you have four different champions at 154 that include Joachim Alcine (WBA), Sergeii Dzindziruk (WBO), Cory Spinks (IBF) and Forrest the WBC champion. I like Alcine vs. Forrest, Dzindziruk vs. Spinks and the winners fight each other to render ONE Champion, spelled with a capital C.

Welterweight

This one is very easy. Floyd Mayweather vs. Paul Williams. THAT is the number one fight I would like to see in 2008. Somehow I doubt it will happen. Too dangerous. When the media calls you the best P4P fighter, you get to decide who you fight, not the rankings system. Miguel Cotto should fight Kermit Cintron, and the winner of that one should fight the winner of Mayweather vs. Williams.

Super Lightweight

This very exciting division is rich in talent and has of course, four champions, meaning it has none. So, same formula applies, Junior Witter (WBC), Gavin Rees (WBA), Paulie Malignaggi (IBF) and Ricardo Torres (WBO) are the principles. Malignaggi is slated to face Herman Ngoudjo in January, the winner should be set to fight the winner between Torres and Rees and the winner of that one fights Junior Witter, unless of course, if Ricky Hatton fights Witter first. The ultimate result should be ONE Champion to emerge sometime before September of 2008. The last time there was an almost unified Champion at 140-pounds was when Kostya Tszyu owned the WBA, WBC and IBF Titles back in 2003. So, it’ll be almost five years without an Undisputed Champion at Super Lightweight.

Lightweight

Another deep division with lots of champions and solid contenders.
Looks like the WBC has two champions again in this division, this time its David Diaz AND Joel Casamayor. Casamayor is already scheduled to fight Michael Katsidis in March so that works. After that, he and David Diaz need to fight each other and clear up the crooked mess at the top of the WBC standings. The winner should be mandated to fight Juan Diaz, who owns the most Title Belts at the moment and whoever wins will be the Champion of the Lightweight Division. Maybe Manny Pacquaio moves up to 135 and after working his way past a couple of top contenders, like say, Nate Campbell or Oscar De La Hoya. Yeah, that is funny.

Super Featherweight

This might be one of the toughest divisions in all of boxing. You have five champions and some real good top contenders. The champions are J.M. Marquez (WBC), Edwin Valero (WBA), Mzonke Fana (IBF) and this time the WBO has two champs in Joan Guzman and Alex Arthur. Marquez and Pacquaio are already set for a March 2008 meeting; the winner should take on Joan Guzman. Mzonke Fana and Edwin Valero fight each other and the winner gets to fight the winner of Guzman vs. Arthur en route to deciding who fights the winner of Pacquaio or Marquez. It’s not that complicated.

Featherweight

Chris John (WBA) will be defending his title against 22-7 Roinet Caballero in January, after which he should be in a tournament that includes the other champions, Jorge Linares (WBC), Steve Luevano (WBO) and Robert Guerrero (IBF).

Super Bantamweight

This weight class houses two of the greatest fighters in all of boxing today in Israel Vasquez and Rafael Marquez, who fought twice and each won by KO. The rubber match is set for March 1st, so mark it on your calendar because you don’t want to miss this incredible match up. Vasquez is the current WBC champ, Celestino Caballero(WBA), Steve Molitor (IBF) and Daniel Ponce De Leon is the WBO champion. Same formula should render either Marquez or Vasquez as THE Champion. And if Marquez and Vasquez fight again and again and again…it would be the best repetitious match up in the history of boxing.

As for Bantamweight, Super Flyweight and Fly weight and Junior Fly weight, the same formula should apply. I’m not familiar enough with the champions and top contenders to give any reasonable match up suggestions. My apologies.

With Boxing administered as it is today and in the past, young athletes are more inclined to take their talents to sports that will give them financial security, a pension, health care benefits and all the perks afforded to the players in the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, etc. Why would young promising athletes want to commit themselves to a questionable career, where you can be ripped off by promoters and managers and end up injured and uninsured and penniless after your career comes to an end?

Boxing needs to create Boxing Leagues, like say, “The American Boxing League” with maybe four divisions that would include an A.B.L. North, South, East and West. That would create a lot of bragging rights and stronger national interest in Boxing.

If Boxing Promoters and Managers and Fighters want to enjoy the benefits that sports like Football, Baseball, Basketball and Hockey enjoy, like financial security for the athletes, humongous contracts with major Networks and advertisers, then they have to emulate some of the practices and principles those sports employ. Officials, from Referees to Judges must be held to account for bad calls and demoted accordingly, we can’t have bad officiating smearing the legitimacy of the sport. You MUST have a legitimate rankings system based on MERIT, not influence. That means if you lose and there is no justification for a rematch, the winner moves up and the loser moves down two notches in the Standings/Rankings.

Let the best fighters from those divisions face off against the other division’s best to create National Champions that can face off against European, African and Asian boxing Leagues so as to determine who the World Champions might be. If other sports can do it, why can’t we?

Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy New Year!

* * *

Comments can be emailed to dshark87@hotmail.com

Article posted on 27.12.2007



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