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From Pillar to Post

By Ryan Songalia

Ten Fights to Hope for in '07
04 Jan 2007

Happy New Year to each and everyone out there. Time to clear the vomit and shame from the corner of your mouth and get back in the swing of all things pugilistic. A new year is upon us, along with new possibilities. The year 2006 will be remembered as the year of the upset, by which I mean that I was upset that the more entertaining fights were overseas and not aired on American television. Abraham-Miranda, Monshipour-Sithchatchawal, and virtually every other fight of moderate to elevated entertainment value took place in another country, far away from the lenses of HBO and Showtime.

To make sure this year doesn't go the route of it's predecessor, I have constructed a ten fight list to give you something to discuss and build optimism around for this calendar year of boxing activities. Here is my list, in no particular order.

1. Jorge Arce, 45-3-1 (35 KO)-Vic Darchinyan, 27-0 (21 KO)

This is the kind of little man fight that fans dream about. Two wide open sluggers, each with their own styles, neither man willing to take a backward step. This matchup has been toyed with on several occasions at flyweight, and it looks like they will have to meet at 115 pounds. It might just come down to whoever lands first, but should turn out to be an incredible fight while it lasts. The brawling, close-quarters action, the closed eyes and coming off the canvas to turn the tide, the appurtenances of pugilism. How about the winner meets Martin Castillo? A man can dream, can't he?

2. Rafael Marquez, 36-3 (32 KO)-Israel Vasquez, 41-3 (30 KO)

When they talk about styles making fights, they speak ideally of these kind of clashes. Rafael Marquez has been going nowhere very quickly atop the depleted and washed out bantamweight division for several years, not having faced a significant foe since gaining the title through his come from behind victory over Tim Austin. Vasquez on the other hand has been sky-rocketing in popularity following his crushing, crowd-pleasing KOs over Jhonny Gonzalez and Oscar Larios. By the way, both men possess big power and vulnerable chins. Need I say more?

3. Edwin Valero, 21-0 (21 KO)-Humberto Soto, 40-5-2 (24 KO)

Both men are honest warriors that seem to lack that thing, that intangible that has made Pacquiao, Barrera, Morales, and others a step above the rest of the pack mentally. It could be there wanton in the ring, it could be something completely mystical that semantics doesn't seem to do it justice. Whatever that entity is, the only way it is achieved is through the high stakes gambling of big time boxing. To be the man, you have to walk the line, and this fight would be a closet test of manhood and character. Both have blazing hearts and the hammer. The winner of this bout would have earned significant respect from me and many in the boxing business. I don't see why it can't happen.

4. Manny Pacquiao, 43-3-2 (34 KO)-Joan Guzman, 27-0 (17 KO)

At 130 pounds, there is no other fight but this. Talk about talent, talk about blinding speed, talk about nonstop action. These guys are A1 fighters who can combine to make the kind of all-out affair that would elevate both men to another plateau. The main issue may be that Guzman, whose only mainstream exposure was his title-winning bout with Jorge Barrios, may not be in the best position financially for this bout. A twin biller on HBO would help significantly, or maybe even a PPV with Joan Guzman facing a significant foe in the co-headliner would help to hype the bout, but this is one that fight fans would be willing to let sit to a rolling boil.

5. Lou Dibella's prospects versus anyone

New York boxing has a lot of prospects, but not a lot of contenders. I think it's about time we start putting these men to the test. Dmitriy Salita, Edgar Santana, Gary Stark, Curtis Stevens, let's see who sinks and who swims. Broadway Boxing has been a nurturing developmental step, but the time has come to subject these guys to the global scrutiny of big time boxing. We all know what they have on the outside, let's see what they have on the inside.

6. Juan Diaz, 31-0 (15 KO)-Jesus Chavez, 43-3 (30 KO)

If you've seen both of these guys, I don't even have to explain this matchup. Punches in bunches, both men throw and they throw, and then they throw some more. It's almost inconsequential that they both are in possession of title belts. Chavez has been inactive of late and is coming off of injuries, so you'd have to favor the younger Diaz. Either way, it'd be exhilarating action from bell to bell. Hey, do you remember when Boxing After Dark had fights like these?

7. Diego Corrales, 40-4 (33 KO)-Vivian Harris, 27-2-1 (18 KO)

A decent, evenly matched affair, this could be the kind of sleeper that brings a lot of credibility and attention to whoever wins this one. Corrales has been rocked by a series of misfortunes on the scales and inconsistencies in the ring. Harris is still rebuilding his name among pundits and would leap back to the top with an impressive victory over a fighter like Corrales. The primary issue would be getting promotional issues cleared to make way for a deal to be struck. How I long for the day in which those dilemmas become a thing of the past.

8. Miguel Cotto, 28-0 (23 KO)-Antonio Margarito, 34-4 (24 KO)

With Mayweather, Mosley, Collazo, De La Hoya and virtually anyone else of note tied up with bouts of note, Cotto and Margarito are left without dates for the big dance. Well then, there is no reason that these two guys can't dance together then. Both men have something to prove. Cotto, fresh off his dominant KO over Carlos Quintana, has yet to face a powerful puncher since his life and death struggle with Ricardo Torres. Margarito on the other hand has been toiling through a series of mismandatories and meaningless bouts waiting to get a big shot at something worthwhile. Kill two birds with one stone, I suppose.

The two questions regarding both men are in dire need of answering; How does Margarito react to Cotto's body shots, and can Cotto take Margarito's thunder upstairs? We'll find out, hopefully.

9. Bernard Hopkins, 47-4-1 (32 KO)-Joe Calzaghe, 42-0 (31 KO)

For technical skill, clashes of style, and just the aura of greatness in the atmosphere, here is a fight that badly needs to happen. Calzaghe won the lottery by beating the bejeezus out of Lacy, now he needs to cash in the ticket. Calzaghe has been seeking to crossover to America to prove his legacy as a great fighter universally. There is no better way than by beating Hopkins to achieve that.

Honestly, I'd pick Hopkins here because, well, I'm sick and tired of him making me look stupid when he wins against my doubts. The Tarver fight was the last straw for me. Whoever he picks to fight; Calzaghe, Maskaev, Naseem Hamed, Beau Jack; I just pick Hopkins from now on. It's getting embarrassing for me, as of late.

10. Edison Miranda, 27-1 (24 KO)-Allan Green, 23-0 (16 KO)

OK, I know I'm getting a little greedy, but Santa doesn't come around for another twelve months and I need something to hold me over until he gets me the PS3 that I so badly coveted for this holiday season. Punchers, they hold a special influence over the boxing fan's heart, and when you throw in the vulnerabilities and imperfections that make up these warriors' existences, then you have a recipe for sinfully delightful entertainment. Both men throw hard, looping shots and have a tendency to create havoc in exchange. Neither is a stranger to overcoming adversity in the squared circle. Two young middleweights, both strong, both hungry, this has to happen.

With all the unknowns and unpredictabilities that factor into the equation, the best way to pick this fight would be to designate each fighter with the claim to a side of a coin, and then the fighter whose side is facing up after tossing it in the air will be declared my choice to be the victor. An infallible method, wouldn't you agree?


When you are as infatuated with the sport as I am, there can only be good years and great years in boxing. May 2007 be a great year for boxing and for you as well.

Any questions or feedback? Send them to my e-mail address at . My Myspace page is . My website URL is .

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