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Eight fights we hope NOT to see

28
Dec

While everyone runs lists this week of fights they hope happen next year, we're going with eight we hope don't come off in 2009. Let's keep our fingers crossed that these never see the light of day.

Floyd Mayweather vs. Ricky Hatton II

Mayweather hasn’t even officially unretired yet, Hatton hasn’t signed to fight Manny Pacquiao yet, and already there’s talk of a sequel to Mayweather’s 10th-round stoppage of Hatton last year. Why? Because Floyd Sr. trains Hatton now? Who cares? This fight answers no questions other than this one: How many drunken Brits can you lure to Las Vegas for a fight that’s as predictable as the plot of an Owen Wilson movie — twice? To all promoters: We don’t want synthetic drama. We want fights that are competitive and compelling. This is neither.

Riddick Bowe vs. Evander Holyfield IV

Don’t laugh. A week before Holyfield’s decision loss to Nikolay Valuev, Bowe, at 41, won an eight-round decision over one Gene Pukall in Germany. Longtime readers know I have no qualms about old guys fighting, especially against one another. And hey, if a grown man chooses to keep getting punched on the head until his brain looks like a raisin, what business is it of mine? So what’s my problem with Bowe-Holyfield IV? Between the two of them, these guys have blown through enough money to make Warren Buffet look like Joe Dirt. Not one more big payday for either of them. Not one.

Chad Dawson vs. Antonio Tarver II

If memory serves, I gave Tarver maybe three rounds in their first fight. By itself, that’s not so bad. Other guys have done well in rematches after getting beaten up, especially Tarver, who’s more or less made a career of it. And I know, Dawson didn’t have much of a choice here: There was a rematch clause in the contract, so it’s a done deal. But I’m calling on Tarver to waive his right to the return and call it off before it’s too late. Quite simply, life is too short to spend another evening watching him get his head handed to him for 12 rounds while he hasn’t the speed anymore, the power, or the chutzpah to do anything about it. It will be, in a word, boring. And who’s got time to be bored? Not me.

Felix Trinidad vs. Anyone

How many times are we supposed to watch the once-great Trinidad haul his ever-pudgier body into rings in Las Vegas or New York to get pummeled by better, slicker fighters? You’d have thought Winky Wright beat the boxing bug out of him back in 2005 when “Tito” didn’t win a moment between the singing of the Puerto Rican national anthem and the car ride back to the hotel. But that didn’t do it. He fell under Don King’s spell three years later and did only marginally better against a Roy Jones. Two words for the next time King comes calling, Tito: restraining order.

Lennox Lewis vs. Vitali Klitschko II

Every few months rumors pop up that Lewis has accepted an enormous sum of money to come back and face Klitschko in a rematch to their bout in 2003 that sent Lewis lurching into retirement. And almost as frequently, Lewis denies the rumors, talks about how great it is to be retired, and then says disparaging things about the Klitschkos (Vitali and Wladimir) from the safety of his ringside seat as part of the HBO broadcast team. But every man has his price. What is Lewis’? $20 million? 30? 40? I’m hoping no amount. A Lewis comeback would be a grotesque distraction from the good fighters doing business in other divisions. Let the heavyweights burn.

Jameel McCline, James Toney, Hasim Rahman, or John Ruiz vs. Any Top-10 Heavyweight

How many chances do these guys get? McCline has had more alphabet title fights than Manuel Medina, hasn’t won a single one, and still won’t go away. Isn’t there a strip club or something somewhere that needs a bouncer? Toney was beaten around the ring by the same Sam Peter that made Vitali Klitschko look like Muhammad Ali, and then received a gift decision over Fres Oquendo, of all people. He has apparently given up on even the pretense of looking like he trains for a fight. Rahman, once the legitimate world heavyweight champion, quit like a dog against Toney, then lucked into a meeting with Wladimir Klitschko, who promptly jabbed Rahman’s nose into the back of his head. And Ruiz? He couldn’t do as well against Valuev as 46-year-old Holyfield did. What does that tell you?

Wladimir Klitschko vs. Chris Arreola

Rumors suggest that Arreola, one of the better American heavyweight prospects, could face alphabet titleholder Klitschko in Los Angeles next spring. No, no, a thousand times no. Not just because Arreola is chubby and apparently happy about it, because we would take a good, exciting chubby heavyweight if we thought he were ready for Klitschko and stood a chance of winning. Arreola doesn’t. Not yet. Make no mistake, the kid can punch and he can fight but remember that in his last bout, against top-20 type Travis Walker, Arreola was dropped and had a hard time until Walker’s many defensive liabilities did him in. Arreola might be ready for Klitschko some day. But not now.

Oscar De La Hoya vs. Ivan Calderon

Look at it this way: De La Hoya, a junior middleweight, took on a welterweight in Floyd Mayweather in his first attempt to unseat the best fighter in the world, and though he gave it a good go, it didn’t work out. When Mayweather bailed on the rematch, De La Hoya figured he’d try for an even smaller guy in Manny Pacquiao. We all saw what happened there. Now, you know De La Hoya’s not ready to retire. And you know he’s not going to move up in weight. The next best thing? Move down again! And not a little down. Way down. All the way down to 108 pounds, where Calderon is the world champ. The problem with this one? If De La Hoya couldn’t catch Pacquiao, how’s he going to catch Iron Boy? And with this irresistible angle – the world’s most popular boxer against its best tiny one – who could afford the pay-per-view?

William Dettloff can be reached at [email protected]

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