17.01.06 - By Jim Amato: Last weekend's upset wins by Carlos Baldomir over Zab Judah and O'Neil Bell over Jean Marc Mormeck just got me warmed up. This could be a VERY good year for boxing fans, at least over the next four or five months. Next up, the rematch between Erik Morales and Manny Pacquiao on January 21st. The first one was a thriller. I see no reason that this bout will be any different. So what if Morales lost to Zahir Raheem recently.. Manny has a totally different style then Raheem. Morales will look much better in this fight. Will he win ? This one is a real " pick em " contest.
On February 4th Jose Luis Castillo and Diego Corrales will meet for a third time. Bombs away...Their first two fights were classics. This should not be too much different. I'll go with Castillo by KO.
February 25th Sugar Shane Mosley meets Fernando Vargas. This pairing should have happened years ago but oh well, I still can't wait to see it. Both fighters have some serious miles on them but I have to go with Mosley. He is just the better all around fighter.
On March 4th the two best super middleweights will meet. Super strong Jeff Lacy takes on the quick and clever Joe Calzaghe. I'm a big fan of Lacy's but a prime Calzaghe would give him trouble. The question here is how much does Calzaghe have left ? Lacy is peaking and Joe is fading. I have to favor Lacy.
March 18...Hasim Hahman-vs-James Toney. Who will win ? That depends on which one is in better shape. If both are well trained I'll go with Toney. He's way too slick for the plodding Rahman.
On March 25th Marcos Antonio Barrera will move up to 135 and take on Jesus Chavez. My opinion, bad move. Chavez is a very strong and sound fighter. Barrera is the better boxer but I see Chavez just breaking Barrera down and winning on a late KO.
May 6th...Oscar DeLaHoya returns to take on the Wild Man, Ricardo Mayorga. I always felt Mayorga was a bit over rated. Trinidad proved that. The "Big O " is setting himself up for a big payday. He saw something in Mayorga that told him he could win this bout. I have to agree.
Roy Jones Jr. and Bernard Hopkins may be delayed until summer. Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Zab Judah may not come off since Zab was bumped off by Baldomir. How about Ricky Hatton-Miguel Cotto ?
Rumor has it that Jermain Taylor and Winky Wright is not going to come off as planned. That is a shame. Although I feel that O'Neil Bell should give Dale Brown a return match, I'd still like to see him fight Mormeck again.
Oh yes...2006 could be a very fine year for us boxing fans. Let's sit back and enjoy the show.