Friday, March 31, 2023  |



They Never Happened – part III

Fighters Network

The third installment of the popular “They Never Happened” series once again sees an exciting batch of 10 matchups that, for a variety of reasons, never took place. Once again we have Ron Katz of Star Boxing and Robert Diaz of Golden Boy, plus this time we’ve asked Jolene Mizzone, who works as Main Events’ trusted matchmaker, to give their thoughts and comments.

Ring Magazine Cover - Michael MoorerTommy Morrison vs. Michael Moorer

What happened – These two never fought during their heydays of the mid 1990s. Moorer beat Evander Holyfield in 1994 while Morrison enjoyed some solid wins, including against George Foreman in 1993 for the WBO strap. Neither were blessed with whiskers that would make you forget George Chuvalo but both were serious punchers. Moorer was probably the more disciplined boxer, but any way you look at this, it this looks like a wild shootout with both combatants possibly touching down before an inevitable KO. The fight would likely have been best placed in the second half of 1993 after Morrison beat Foreman and before he shockingly got stopped by Michael Bentt, several months before Moorer beat Holyfield in the spring of ’94.

What would have happened?

Jolene Mizzone – Michael Moorer – He was always the more technical fighter. Also, prior to 1993 I think Moorer fought the better competition.

Ron Katz – I’m picking Tommy Morrison to knock out Moorer. I’m putting my money on that left hook getting to Moorer before Moorer can get to the Duke.

Robert Diaz – Exciting while it lasts, similar to Moorer vs. Bert Cooper. I can see a few knockdowns but in the end Moorer is more skilled. Moorer by TKO 7.

Henry Maske vs. Dariusz Michalczewski

What Happened – In the mid ’90s Maske and Michalczewski were both reigning light heavyweight titlists; Maske was the IBF champion from 1993-96, making 10 successful defenses, while Michalczewski held the WBO strap from 1994-2003, defending his crown for a division record 23 times. Both were also top-drawer amateurs prior to their pro careers. Maske, older by four years, was a smart boxer, while Michalczewski was known for his aggressive, marauding style. Stylistically this would have likely been entertaining. In Germany, where both fought as pros, it would have been huge. Here’s the problem: Maske was under the Sauerland Event banner and fought on the RTL network, while Michalczewski was promoted by Universum, whose shows took place on PremiereTV and DSF. While there were talks, the fight was never consummated due to the different TV obligations of the promoters.

What would have happened?

Jolene Mizzone – I would have to pick Michalczewski on this one as long as it’s not in Germany ÔǪ I think Michalczewski takes him the distance and wins a decision. In Germany it would be tough to beat Maske, who I could see winning a close, controversial decision.

Ron Katz – Ahhh, the battle of the Germans. I’ll take Darius by decision in a highly technical chess match.

Robert Diaz – Didn’t really follow their careers that well, but will go with Michalczewski by UD.

Julian Jackson vs. Iran Barkley

What Happened – How could this have been anything other than exciting? A matchup of one of the most devastating punchers of modern times in Jackson against the hot and cold Barkley, who on his day could give anyone fits. Just ask the “hot” Barkley that beat Thomas Hearns or the “cold” one who was demolished by Nigel Benn ÔǪ this would likely depend on which Barkley showed up. The hot Barkley could walk through fire. He’d also enjoy a size advantage that Ring Magazine Cover - Roberto Duranmay have been too much for the smaller Jackson. The two of them missed each other by a matter of months – Barkley was giving Roberto Duran and Michael Nunn hell as a middleweight, losing razor-close decisions in 1989, and then getting starched by Benn in mid 1990; Jackson was wreaking havoc at 154 pounds in 1989 before stepping up to middleweight, where he would reign for the better part of 3 years.

What would have happened?

Jolene Mizzone – Julian Jackson – He would stop Barkley in the fifth round or sooner.

Ron Katz – Jackson-Barkley would be a replay of Barkley-Benn with the same outcome likely. Both fighters might hit the deck in this one but Jackson’s power will be the deciding factor.

Robert Diaz – Power vs. chin of granite, sooner or later power breaks through. Julian KO 10.

Donald Curry vs. Roberto Duran

What Happened – These two also just missed each other, but when you stand their careers next to each other the most likely time for them to have met would have been late 1983 at welterweight. That is if Duran could still make the 147-pound limit. At this point Curry had just won the WBA welterweight crown, while Duran was coming off his upset of Davey Moore. It could be argued that Duran would be too seasoned for the rising “Lone Star Cobra” and beat on him in much the manner he did Moore, viciously breaking him down before forcing the stoppage. However, despite his lack of pro rounds, Curry was an exceptional amateur, holding a win over Moore and only missing out on the 1980 Olympics because America boycotted.

What would have happened?

Jolene Mizzone – Roberto Duran – This is another example of your competition you have fought before a big fight and in ’83 Duran had fought some great competition. Duran may have not won those big fights, but he was in there. I say Duran by UD.

Ron Katz – A motivated Duran would be far too tenacious for the skilled Curry. I don’t think Donald will hold up to the ever constant pressure of Duran and I can see a late-round stoppage.

Robert Diaz – I have to go with the legend. Roberto Duran would win before the opening bell. Curry would be so upset he tries too hard for the KO and abandons the combinations. Duran UD.

Ring Magazine Cover -   Felix Trinidad, Pernell Whitaker, Oscar De La HoyaFelix Trinidad vs. Ike Quartey

What Happened – In the mid ’90s Felix Trinidad and Ike Quartey each reigned with an iron fist as the welterweight IBF and WBA titleholders, respectively. Both were known as having fight-ending power, especially “Tito,” who’s artillery and charisma made him a demigod in his homeland of Puerto Rico. While “Bazooka” also possessed a ramrod jab and herculean strength that many times proved too much for his opposition. For much of their reigns each was in the considerable shadow of Pernell Whitaker and then later Oscar De La Hoya. Frankly, while both were among the best in the game, Quartey never had the name his talent deserved. By the time Trinidad had evolved into a fighter who could headline a pay-per-view card in the later part of the ’90s, Quartey was fighting infrequently. Nonetheless, this is arguably the best fight that never took place during that spell.

What would have happened?

Jolene Mizzone – This is a hard one, believe it or not, but I would have to lean towards Felix Trinidad – I think Quartey would have Trinidad on his ass, but Trinidad would come back stronger and win by UD.

Ron Katz – I like the physical advantages Trinidad would have over Quartey and can see him winning a wide decision victory.

Robert Diaz – Very exciting fight on paper but do not see it unfold as expected. Trinidad boxes more than we would like and Quartey patiently waits for a war to break out and it never does. Quartey UD.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Kostya Tszyu

What Happened – Mayweather only made a brief pit stop at junior welterweight, winning the WBC crown from Arturo Gatti in 2005. At that point Tszyu had just lost to Ricky Hatton and ultimately never fought again. Had they met it would have paired two very different men and fighters. Mayweather’s intoxicating blend of speed and brilliant skills, brash personality and demeanor against a humble but devastating sharpshooter with a right hand that ended many a man throughout Tszyu’s exceptional career.

What would have happened?

Jolene Mizzone – Floyd Mayweather – This is easy. Kostya would not even be able to touch Floyd. Floyd would out-box him every round.

Ron Katz – Mayweather would have to be on constant guard from Tszyu’s power. There may be some rocky moments in this fight for him but I see him winning a fairly competitive decision.

Robert Diaz – Mayweather easy decision. Style-wise Tszyu is aggressive as always but Floyd picks him apart with speed!

Ring Magazine Cover -  Oscar De La HoyaOscar De La Hoya vs. Ricky Hatton

What Happened – De La Hoya only briefly fought at junior welterweight, in June 1996 and January 1997, before moving to welterweight the following spring. “Hitman” Hatton was still several years shy of what was to be his defining fight with Kostya Tszyu. This fight was talked of some years later and would likely have taken place at welterweight. Both guys are among the most popular fighters from their respective countries; this would have been a surefire box-office hit. What would have happened had these two been at 140 at the same time?

What would have happened?

Jolene Mizzone – Oscar De La Hoya – Another easy one. De La Hoya would stop Ricky Hatton in the early rounds. I don’t think that Ricky Hatton had close to the same skills that De La Hoya had.

Ron Katz – Hatton and Oscar is an interesting match. The site of the fight would be a factor in my opinion. Here in the States I can see Oscar sneaking by with a very close decision win but over in England I would pick Hatton.

Robert Diaz – Wow, fantastic ambience in the crowd. DLH KO 8.

Hector Camacho Sr. vs. Jorge Paez Sr.

What Happened – Two of the most eccentric boxers of the 1980s, they never competed at the same weight class but were often only separated by one division. Camacho was briefly the WBC 130-pound champion in 1983 before vacating and heading up to lightweight, where he held the WBC trinket and again vacated. He also won the WBO 140-pound title. Paez for his part held the IBF and WBO featherweight titles in the late ’80s. You can only imagine the craziness of a press conference between these two, for what would be a grudge Puerto Rico-Mexico fight; it would reach new heights. The action inside the ring would also likely have been entertaining.

What would have happened?

Jolene Mizzone – Hector Camacho Sr. – I think that at 130 pounds Camacho would stop Paez. He would be the bigger boxer in that fight and would rough Paez up in that ring and would stop him in the late rounds.

Ron Katz – Camacho had far too many skills for Paez and would have his way with him. An easy fight for Hector, Paez’s style is perfect for him.

Robert Diaz – In a battle of outfits, fun fight but the more skillful fighter wins easy. Camacho UD.

Ring Magazine Cover - Naseem HamedNaseem Hamed vs. Juan Manuel Marquez

What Happened – Love him or hate him, you have to respect what Hamed did for the smaller divisions in the sport – his razzmatazz and power opened the door for other generations to fight for larger purses. “The Prince” collected all four featherweight sanctioning-body belts through the mid-to-late ’90s. Marquez, meanwhile, impressed insiders at the Great Western Forum in Los Angeles, but much like Marvin Hagler a generation before wasn’t able to get the opportunity his skills warranted. In fact when Marquez was installed as the WBO mandatory, such was Hamed’s status that he was able to shamefully avoid Marquez. Did Hamed’s people know what we know today about Marquez, that he’s one of the best fighters of his generation? Had Hamed landed on Marquez’s chin like Manny Pacquiao in their first meeting, would he have been able to keep the Mexican down? Would Marquez, at that phase of his career, have been able to do what Marco Antonio Barrera did several years later and box Hamed’s head off?

What would have happened?

Jolene Mizzone – This is another tough one – I would have to go with Marquez winning a split decision. I think that they would both be on their asses in the fight, but Marquez will dig deeper and come through with the victory.

Ron Katz – Hamed’s unorthodox style would give Marquez some problems and we know Hamed had very good power but in the end I see Marquez figuring him out and catching him with one of his great counterpunches. A late-round stoppage for Marquez.

Robert Diaz – Hamed had bombs in both hands but had trouble with a disciplined counterpuncher and JMM was exactly that. Marquez UD.

Pongsaklek Wonjongkam vs. Jorge Arce

What Happened – It was rumored these two would meet in Las Vegas in 2006. At that time Wonjongkam was the WBC bantamweight champ while Arce held the Interim version of the same title. Ultimately Arce made very good money in America and was reluctant to go to Thailand while Wonjongkam was doing equally well in Asia. To get the two together would have cost a small fortune for a fight that would only appeal to die-hard boxing folk.

What would have happened?

Jolene Mizzone – Jorge Arce – I think Arce would dig deep enough to come through with the win.

Ron Katz – I like Arce over the Thai fighter. His constant pressure and power would be the difference in a stoppage win.

Robert Diaz – Was never an Arce fan so I have to pick against him. Although a fun fighter to watch I always felt his biggest advantage was weight over his opponents. Arce loses on cuts in 7.

They Never Happened I

They Never Happened II

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him at