Next week HBO will kick off the boxing year with a very intriguing matchup as Jean Pascal will take on Lucian Bute in a light heavyweight championship fight. 2013 proved to be the best year boxing has had in a long time. For that reason the fans have set the bar high for the new year. In order for 2014 to compete with last year’s stellar fights great matchups will need to be made. Fightnights has decided to compile a list of fights that the fans will want and need to see in the coming year. In no particular order, here are some lists of fights that 2014 should have in order for the sport of boxing to continue the momentum it’s gained from last year’s amazing fights. (Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao will not be mentioned in the article. Everyone knows that story.)
Adonis Stevenson (23-1, 20 KO’s) vs Sergey Kovalev (23-0-1, 21 KO’s)
Both guys used 2013 to put their names onto the boxing scene. They are the hardest hitting light heavyweights in the division. Together they went 8-0 with 8 KO’s last year. None of their fights went past six rounds. They are arguably the two best light heavyweights in the world. No conflicts here either as they are both HBO fighters and neither one are contracted to Golden Boy or Top Rank. There is no reason this fight shouldn’t happen in the Spring of 2014. If for some reason they do take separate bouts early in the year then it needs to happen sometime in 2014. This may be the best fight in boxing right now.
Ruslan Provodnikov (23-2, 16 KO’s) vs Brandon Rios (31-2-1, 23 KO’s)
Just the sound of these names together will give most fans goose bumps. Without a doubt this fight would likely win the fight of the year if they ever got into the ring. Both guys don’t know how to do anything else but come forward and fight. It’s almost a guarantee that a fight like this would be talked about for the years to come. Even if for some reason it didn’t live up to the hype, the fight would provide fireworks and a add spark to the boxing community. Again, no issues here in making the fight as Rios is promoted by Top Rank and Provodnikov is with Banner.
Carl Froch (32-2, 23) vs George Groves II (19-1, 15 KO’s)
These fighters have unfinished business from 2013. The incredibly bad stoppage from the referee in their first bout that saw Froch winning by TKO caused an uproar in the boxing world. Groves may have been done anyway but we will never truly know. He gave Froch all he could handle for the first six rounds including a stunning knockdown that sent shockwaves through the viewers. The fight needs to happen again. Groves needs the chance to prove he can beat Froch while Froch needs to show that the first fight was no fluke.
Marcos Maidana (35-3, 31 KO’s) vs Danny Garcia (27-0 16 KO’s)
Both guys are coming off upset wins over two of the most hyped boxers in boxing. There isn’t a fan out there who wouldn’t like to see this fight. It’s an intriguing matchup between two guys who know what it’s like to be the underdogs yet keep defying the odds by winning. Their styles could also make for a very exciting fight. The only problem is that Garcia seems content staying at 140 while Maidana is at 147. It’s not a huge issue to overcome and this fight could easily be made in 2014.
Miguel Cotto (38-4, 31 KO’s) vs Sergio Martinez (51-2-2, 28 KO’s)
It hasn’t been made yet but it will likely get done for June 7th. They are two of the biggest names in boxing. Cotto’s new trainer Freddie Roach seems to have brought the old Miguel Cotto back to new life while Martinez’s injuries has left fans questioning how much he has left. It’s the perfect fight to show the world if the illusions that were created in 2013 were true or false. Does Martinez still have it? Is Cotto really back? We should find out on June 7th.
Saul Alvarez (42-1-1, 30 KO’s) vs Miguel Cotto/Sergio Martinez winner
Alvarez wanted Cotto bad for his March 8th comeback fight. Cotto decided to go for Martinez instead. No matter. Alvarez can sit back and try to fight the winner of the fight in November. The fans would love to see Canelo against either guy. Martinez is with HBO but his promoter is Dibella so should he win against Cotto, a Canelo fight isn’t impossible to make. Any way these three guys get mixed up is a win for the boxing fans. Alvarez vs either guy should happen in 2014.
Mikey Garcia (33-0, 28 KO’s) vs Yuriorkis Gamboa (23-0, 16 KO’s)
They let loose at each on Twitter and all the fans took notice. Both fighters are looking for that one big fight to get their names even bigger. A fight against each other makes perfect sense. Gamboa is considered the best at 135 while Garcia is considered the best at 130. The fight is one the fans would be itching to see.
Andre Ward (27-0, 14 KO’s) vs Adonis Stevenson (23-1, 20 KO’s)
Ward needs to face the facts. He’s cleaned out the super middleweight division. The big fights are in the light heavyweight division. He should move up and start to clean up that division as well. A fight against Stevenson would get some serious buzz allowing Ward to make the money and get the fame that he deserves. It’s an intriguing matchup that may even be PPV caliber towards the end of 2014.
Lucas Matthysse (34-3, 32 KO’s) vs Ruslan Provodnikov (23-2, 16 KO’s)
There are readers right now that saw these two names together and turned in their seats with excitement. The fight could happen. Provodnikov isn’t with Top Rank nor is he contracted to HBO from what is known. He has one more fight left with Top Rank and after that he can move his way to Golden Boy and Showtime should he desire. We’ll see if he does. Against Matthysse this is another fight that would have fight of the year written all over it and maybe even a knockout of the year to go with it. It could happen.
Floyd Mayweather (45-0, 26 KO’s) vs Timothy Bradley (31-0, 12 KO’s)
Why not? Mayweather just defeats everyone that is put in front of him in embarrassing fashion. Bradley somehow finds a way to win every fight even if he technically doesn’t win them. Other than Pacquiao, Bradley is the most intriguing fight out there for Mayweather in the welterweight division. Bradley built a name for himself in 2013 with his fight of the year victory over Provodnikov and his performance against Marquez. Bradley’s contract with Top Rank is coming to an end so if he doesn’t stick with them a fight with Mayweather isn’t totally out of the equation. It would be a good September fight for Mayweather.
Amir Khan (28-3, 19 KO’s) vs Adrien Broner (27-1, 22 KO’s)
They may be the most hated boxers in boxing. Nobody takes more backlash from the fans than Khan and Broner. Yet, they are both exciting to watch in the ring. A fight against each other actually makes perfect sense. Tons of people would love to see this fight. The war of words would be abundant while the fight itself is very intriguing.
Leo Santa Cruz (26-0-1, 15 KO’s) vs Guillermo Rigondeaux (13-0, 8 KO’s)
This is a little more difficult to make since one is with Top Rank and the other is with Golden Boy. Though it likely won’t happen that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t. They are widely considered the best super bantamweights in the world. One needs to be crowned the true champion in the division.
Gennady Golovkin (28-0, 25 KO’s) vs Sergio Martinez (51-2-2, 28 KO’s)
Martinez’s promoter made it perfectly clear that they want nothing to do with Golovkin until Martinez has had some other big fights. However, if Martinez beats Cotto and for some reason they can’t get Canelo, GGG will be the next best thing. The fans have been dying to see this fight. More so, they’ve been dying to see Golovkin take on a big named opponent. If GGG plans on staying at 160 there is only one big named opponent that is worth it, and it’s Sergio Martinez.
Manny Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KO’s) vs Timothy Bradley (31-0, 12 KO’s) II
The first fight wasn’t competitive and shouldn’t have even been close. Pacquiao dominated the fight in every aspect. However, that doesn’t mean the second fight will be the same. Bradley has grown since their first fight and Pacquiao looked as good as he possibly could against Rios. A second fight would raise some eyebrows and tune in a ton of viewers. This will likely happen as Pacquiao is leaning towards Bradley for his April 12th return date.
That’s the list of big fights that should happen in 2014. Of course there are so many more big fights that have been left off of this list. I tried my best to refrain from matching up Golden Boy fighters against Top Rank fighters. In a perfect world, if they could be mixed then the possibilities would be endless. I could probably name fifty more that would be just as intriguing as the ones I’ve named here. For now, the Cold War will prevent tons of big fights and this list is a compilation of fights that can get around the drama.