by Jeremy "Fasttalker" Bjornberg - 12/20/2005
As 2005 starts to wind down I can only hope that 2006 offers the fights the boxing community deserves. 2005 was a pretty good year, especially from an underdog perspective. As always many PPV fights turned into boring slapfests topped off by perennial stinker Roy Jones Jr. in his grudge match with Antonio Tarver. The Jose Luis Castillo scale cheating also put a stale taste in my mouth for his PPV against Diego Corrales.
Most of the great fights in 2005 were not PPV, rather just great match-ups.
As we creep closer to 2006 I only see a bunch of posturing and greediness by the top fighters in the sport. Due to management, promotion or network troubles many of the best fights in boxing will never happen.
Whether I blame Don King, Bob Arum, Cedrick Kushner, Murad Muhammad or Frank Warren is irrelevant -- all of the promoters block better fights than they promote. I think a Christmas ensemble starring all the crooked promoters would be an excellent Broadway play. Don King could play the Grinch obviously in my ideal world. Bob Arum would make an excellent Ebenezer Scrooge. Kushner would obviously be Frosty the Snowman. Murad could play Heatmiser, the one who always wants to melt Frosty. Frank Warren could win accolades as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
Despite the powers that be blocking most of these battles I decided to make a list of fights for 2006 that should, but most likely won't, happen. We can only hope the excuses of HBO and Showtime can't get together or the promoters won't work as partners. Santa Claus may be the only one able to straighten out some of these Grinch situations.
1. Ricky Hatton vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
This would be the best possible fight in boxing. Both guys are legitimate undefeated fighters who are in their prime. One problem is obviously Showtime and HBO's inability to work together. A more imposing problem is the location of where the fight would take place.
Hatton has barely even left his home arena and financially I can't blame him. Hatton packs the house with rowdy fans and also seemed to have the referee behind him when he fought Kostya Tszyu. Pretty Boy Floyd would never be willing to fight on unequal terms. Floyd would definitely fight Hatton at Madison Square Garden or Las Vegas, but with his talent it would make no sense to leave the U.S.
2. Jose Luis Castillo vs. Ricky Hatton
Hatton has many great matches available but these are the most anticipated. Castillo has cajones the size of Mexico and would travel to Britain no problem to face the "hit man" Ricky Hatton. Nothing is stopping this fight except Hatton and maybe a rematch clause with Corrales.
3. Jose Luis Castillo vs. Diego Corrales
AT 135!!! I can't hide my feelings that Diego Corrales was ripped off this Oct. 8. Jose Luis Castillo's scumbag maneuver at the weigh-in was truly scandalous. I absolutely believe that Castillo weighed more than 140 the first time. I highly doubt he had any injury; he was in the best shape of his career. Castillo simply knew it was worth a $120,000 dollar fine to be the stronger man.
I was at the weigh-in and I witnessed Diego leaving the ring. Diego was so exhausted and dehydrated that he almost fainted leaving and was basically carried by his people. Castillo knew that Diego would be drained to make weight, and he simply used it to his advantage. I give all the credit in the world to Diego Corrales; he only took the fight because he would NEVER disappoint his fans. I really feel Diego would have won had the fight been on fair terms, but as it is, a third fight is needed.
4. Zab Judah vs. Antonio Margarito
Zab's title reign is starting to look like Calzaghe's reign (read ahead). Zab chooses to do his fighting with his platinum teeth rather than his fists. Zab chickened out of a fight with Floyd and Margarito is obviously the best possible "challenger." Margarito is a 147-pound taller version of Jose Luis Castillo and he seems to be the one fighter Zab won't call out. Bob Arum and Don King being forced to work together doesn't make this match any easier to make.
5. Joe Calzaghe vs. Jeff Lacy
I have been waiting nearly a decade for Joe Calzaghe to show the courage to fight an able challenger. A few years back I was excited for it and felt Calzaghe just needed a shot but at this point in time I have to blame him. He backed out of the fight with Lacy and has also found a way to steer clear of Mikkel Kessler, Robin Reid, Glen Johnson and Antonio Tarver, to name a few. Calzaghe has been content to feed on No. 1 WBO ranked contenders and it has made most of the U.S. sick to their stomach. This fight has been signed but I'll believe it when I see it.
Manny Pacquiao vs. Eric Morales vs. Marco Antonio Barrera
This triumvirate of warriors is guaranteed to give every fan their money's worth every time they step in the ring with each other. PPV's normally are a rip-off, but these three are the exception. I am worried that one of these guys will be muscled out of the mix. I really see no reason for these three to fight anyone else, they should just rotate fighting each other. I would love to include Juan Manuel Marquez in the equation but he priced himself out of the rematch with Manny and has now resorted to fighting in Indonesia for $30,000.
Morales and Pacquiao are set to face off early in 2006, so this will be the first checkoff on my list.
This list could go on and on, but these represent a good start.
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