The fight most people want to see in 2013 undoubtedly is Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao. That’s a given.
But what other potential matchups would be most compelling? THE RING Editors asked their magazine correspondents to tell us the one fight they would most like to see in the coming year.
This is what they said.
RON BORGES, U.S.
Lucas Matthysse vs. Brandon Rios
Short of Klitschko borthers squaring off (which is only slightly less likely than Pacquiao-Mayweather), who wouldn’t pay to see Lucas Matthysse vs. Brandon Rios? They may not be the two most gifted fighters in the world but neither were Micky Ward and Arturo Gatti, and look at the excitement they gave us. There is no way Rios-Matthysse wouldn’t be a face-first slugfest. Matthysse is a power puncher always seeking to land a bomb and willing to pay the price to do it. Rios is cut from the same cloth and is a guy for whom defense is a mystery. It might not last long but neither did Marvin Hagler vs. Thomas Hearns, and nobody was complaining.
GARETH A DAVIES, U.K.
Carl Froch vs. Mikkel Kessler
Hopefully a soccer stadium fight, which would create an incredible ambience. I can’t see Froch ever beating Andre Ward; in reality it is hard to envisage Ward coming to the U.K. to fight. Nor is it a contest that whets the appetite. Styles make fights. Froch is made for Ward, and Ward has just got better and better in 2012. However, Froch, who has the rarity of being a raw power puncher with a granite chin, could enhance his legacy by avenging defeat over Kessler. Froch had Kessler’s number in the first half of their meeting in Denmark, until Kessler changed the pattern of the fight and stole the late rounds to gain a unanimous decision. It was closer on my card than the cards of judges Daniel Van Der Viele (112-116) and Roger Tilleman (111-117), but Kessler won the fight. This time around, Froch deserves home advantage. If he sticks to a game plan set by Rob McCracken, he could stop or outpoint the great Dane.
GAVIN EVANS, U.K.
Vitali KlitschkoVs. David Haye
Yes, I know that Haye and his little toe did themselves no credit in losing tamely to Wladimir Klitschko, but the Hayemaker looked mightily impressive in dispatching Dereck Chisora, and Vitali is 41 and never was as good as his little brother. So it could be highly competitive, and it certainly has lots of needle and hype.
DON STRADLEY, U.S.
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Tyson Fury
A good heavyweight fight could do a lot for the sport. I’d go with Wladimir Klitschko-Tyson Fury. Fury is a bit green, but his mouthy persona against Klitschko’s stately presence would make for some interesting pre-fight activity. I see a huge live gate somewhere in Europe, with Fury making the heavyweight champion work hard to retain the title.
RYAN SONGALIA, U.S./Philippines
Nonito Donaire vs. Abner Mares
I would love to see Nonito Donaire vs. Abner Mares in 2013. Both are in their primes and are rated among the Top 10 pound for pound. And they have proven their mettle at 122 pounds with signature wins and make for a stylistic clash that promises action. No disrespect to the talented Guillermo Rigondeaux, but this fight should happen first.
THOMAS HAUSER, U.S.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.vs. Sergio Martinez
Floyd Mayweather Jr.vs. Sergio Martinez at 154 pounds. Both men have slowed down a bit. But each is a master craftsman. It would be Floyd’s greatest challenge. I don’t expect him to accept it, which is a shame. If he won, it would prove his claim of greatness.
BART BARRY, U.S.
Both men are aging, their reflexes slightly dulled. Mayweather is not fond of southpaws. Martinez has never faced anyone of nearly so much craft. They’re close enough in weight. They would force one another to react creatively and solve interesting problems. Either could win.
BERNARD FERNANDEZ, U.S.
My appreciation of middleweight champion Sergio Martinez has been considerably raised in recent years and, recognizing that he will be 38 on Feb. 21, I want to see the Argentine cram in as many quality bouts as he can while he remains at the elite level. How about a unification showdown with 160-pound titlist Daniel Geale or a go at another young stud, junior middleweight champ Saul “Canelo” Alvarez?
ANSON WAINWRIGHT, U.K.
T.K. STEWART, U.S.
This would be an entertaining fight particularly because of the nationality of the two guys. I once believed this fight needed a couple more years to marinate, but at this particular point I think it’s a fight that should be made sooner rather than later. I can see no way this fight would be boring. And it would likely result in a series of fights over the next few years in which both guys would still be young enough and fresh enough to make it a must see event that would bring cross-over attention to the sport.
TIM SMITH, U.S.
I would love to see Klitschko vs. Klitschko. I know they say they will never fight, something about having made a promise to their mother (Bernard Hopkins made a similiar promise to his dying mother about retiring and we see where he is today.) But it is the most intriguing fight out there. The two best heavyweights in boxing, squaring off for supremacy in the sport. It would be bigger than Mayweather-Pacquiao. It’s the match that I would love to see.
NORM FRAUENHEIM, U.S.
They need a fight to finish a pound-for-pound argument in a way that Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. have not. There’s talk about a Martinez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. rematch, but Chavez’s unreliability makes that one uncertain. Instead, let’s skip it and go straight to Ward-Martinez in a fight that really matters.
GARY POOLE, U.S.