Boxing 2006 Fight Preview: Part II—Heavyweight-Middleweight Divisions

04.11.05 - By Gabriel DeCrease: Additionally, here is my matchmaking wish-list. These matchups, if made, could set the fight game ablaze in the coming year: O’Neil Bell v. Dale Brown II: Brown was the victim of perhaps the worst decision in recent memory. He consistently put pressure on a lethargic Bell, and did more than enough to state his case for a win. Bell never had the shockingly fresh-looking and tough Brown in real trouble, yet Brown lost by a margin of 111-117 on one scorecard.. Bell would do well to make a better showing in a return if he wants credibility as a titleholder. And Dale Brown, a longtime workhorse in the Cruiserweight division, deserves another shot at some overdue glory.

Vitali Klitschko v. Nicolay Valuev: If the giant Valuev can get cleanly by John Ruiz’s onslaught of hugging, slapping, and filing bogus lawsuits, he has the chance to give boxing fans an unlikely treat. Nicolay could put Dr. Ironfist in a fight where he gives away every possible size advantage. How often will the world see someone of Klitscko’s stature towered over in a title fight? This one has sideshow appeal that rivals Mike Tyson’s potential career in the adult film industry.

Wladmir Klitschko v. Chris Byrd II: It was a treat to watch the slap-boxing Byrd sputter to a halt and be dominated the first time around, and after Byrd’s detestable post-fight whining after his uninspired win over Williamson, it might be nice to see him banished with a bang. This one would also be a test to see if the now more cautious, and thrice beaten, Wladmir still has the gall to put together a vicious offensive because trying to box around Byrd will be near-impossible.

James Toney v. John Ruiz II: If John “Huggy Bear” Ruiz has any interest in walking along with any of his considerable talk against Toney lately he should take a rematch and try to salvage his infamous name in a bout with a steroid-free Lights Out.

Jean-Marc Mormeck v. Guillermo Jones: Now that the cruiserweight division has something closer to a dominant champion in Mormeck, the Frenchman should test himself against fellow Big Truck crasher Guillermo Jones who hits with more pop at Cruiser than any man who started his career as a welterweight should be able to.

Antonio Tarver v. Clinton Woods: Tarver does not have many options at 175, and the public is not exactly clamoring to watch him go through the motions in a rubbermatch with Glen Johnson, so a fight with Woods seems the right move. Woods has stumbled somehow into an impressive late-peak and after all his determined work in the division, he deserves a chance to shock boxing pundits with some momentary brilliance or power. And no one wants to see a rubbermatch between Woods and Johnson either. This unification scrap would also stop The Magic Man from tempting fate with an ill-advised jump into the heavyweight division.

Jeff Lacy v. Joe Calzaghe: More trash has been talked over this fight than any unlikely-to-happen matchup in recent boxing history. The now infamous Calzaghe is running out of time, if he is to have a prayer against Lacy he had better get him while Left Hook is still green and Joe has not completely faded. This fight should happen just to settle the issue of Calzaghe’s legitimacy as de facto king of the division. That said, don’t count on the bell ever ringing on this one. There is too much weight leaning against it.

Jeff Lacy v. Mikkel Kessler: Since Calzaghe will probably never tangle with either of these young lions, the next best thing is to throw them into the arena against each other. Kessler is grossly underestimated, largely because he has been denied major network television exposure, and would give Lacy a run for his money. This fight would likely prove who the man is at 168, though the public might not see it like that.

Winky Wright v. Winner of Hopkins/Taylor II: Winky has stayed in the game and been determined and prolific for years. His day is now, and he continues to impress in high-profile fights. Wright’s technical and defensive skills could give both Hopkins and Taylor problems.

Felix Sturm v. Winner of Hopkins/Taylor: It was highway robbery when pressure from money-hungry networks and promoters gave Oscar De La Hoya the decision over Sturm. Felix won that fight. Public opinion unanimously supports that fact. He deserved a shot at Hopkins after The Executioner chewed up an unusually fleshy Golden Boy, but was passed over. In the meantime, Sturm has been cutting down top opposition with ease and looks to be near his peak. His improved power-punching, coupled with his always-deadly jab, makes him a dangerous prospect for either Hopkins or Taylor. If Sturm gets over on Macelino Masoe, and he probably will, he’ll have the final piece of the alphabet puzzle entice the victor with.

Article posted on 04.11.2005

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