Klitschko vs. Klitschko: All you have to do is dream
By Lyle Fitzsimmons,
Contributing Boxing Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
"When life gives you lemons...make lemonade."
Whether it was Dale Carnegie, someone's grandmother or an anonymous prescient soul who originally uttered that phrase, I've taken it upon myself to adjust it a bit this week as it relates to boxing.
"When life gives you De La Hoya-Pacquiao...make another fight instead."
So, armed with the determination to do our friends at Golden Boy Promotions and HBO PPV one better this Dec. 6, I enlisted the help of several colleagues by requesting they give me "one fight that's out there now that you'd most want to see."
And rather than relying solely on the cynical, left-leaning press with which I've been inexorably linked for nearly two decades, I scattered the outbox with representatives from other limbs of the sport's family tree as well - including promoters, publicists and television executives.
The response was rapid and varied, indicating to me that I may not actually be the only one disillusioned with the imminent 147-pound circus act, and at least temporarily renewing my faith in a sport that's never lacking for reasons to lose it.
Among the entries:
From Allan Tremblay, Orion Sports Management - Brampton, Ont.
Steve Molitor vs. Israel Vasquez
Particularly if Molitor comes through the Caballero proposed contest. In my view, it would be Ali vs. Frazier all over again at the 122-pound weight class in a bout to unify the whole division. Additionally, the Canadian vs. USA/Mexico component would add to the excitement of the contest as all of Canada would rally behind Molitor in what would be the biggest fight in this country since Ali fought Chuvalo.
From Terry Trekas, One Punch Productions - Seffner, Fla.
Oscar De La Hoya vs. Antonio Margarito
Nate Campbell vs. Manny Pacquiao
I was kind of hoping for DLH-Margarito. I like to see blue-collar fighters like Margarito get a high-dollar payday. He's earned it. But since he would most likely smash DLH, the fight will never happen.
The other fight I was hoping for also was Pacquiao-Campbell. Complete unification of the lightweight division, a good payday for Nate and one hell of a fight.
From Bob Trieger, Full Court Press - North Reading, Mass.
Cristian Mijares vs. Fernando Montiel
Junior bantamweight unification bout between the baddest little men on the planet!
From Todd Thorpe, The Intelligencer - Doylestown, Pa.
Kelly Pavlik vs. Antonio Margarito
It might seem like a stretch on the surface, but is it really? Nobody really thought Ray Leonard was a middleweight when he went and challenged Marvin Hagler. Margarito is bigger than Leonard, although nowhere near the quality of fighter overall, and Pavlik isn't quite worthy of Hagler-like praise either.
It's a fun fight because you have the classic 'Chavez-like' Mexican brawler, right down to the great chin and relentless style, against a good boxer with excellent power himself. It's not like Kelly would run away either, so fireworks would be plenty. Would Margarito be able to wear down a bigger fighter like he did a smaller one in Cotto? As long as it lasted, it would be a tremendous fight.
From Bob Westerdale, The Star - Sheffield, England
Antonio Tarver vs. Clinton Woods II
I personally would love to see a light heavyweight re-match of Woods vs. Antonio Tarver. Tarver came across as a loud, arrogant, self-obsessed twerp in the two press conferences which preceded their contest in Tampa in April.
Sadly for Woods, the bout featured probably his worst-ever performance. He failed to give anything like a true reflection of himself. Woods is a blue- collar, orthodox, hard-working, honest pro. If he ever got a chance of redeeming himself over such a seemingly unpleasant, over-hyped individual, I would pay big bucks to see it!
From Nick Fortuna, Freelance Writer - Ocala, Fla.
Oscar De La Hoya vs. Antonio Margarito
Antonio Margarito vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Nikolai Valuev
Ricky Hatton vs. Manny Pacquiao
I'd really like to see Oscar fight Margarito because I think Oscar should go out fighting the best, not someone who is very talented, but much smaller. I think Antonio would force Oscar to fight hard like few others have. And that's the same reason I'd like to see Antonio fight Mayweather.
Mayweather recently complained that HBO is racist because its commentators fawn over Kelly Pavlik and Manny Pacquiao but not him. It's not racism. It's the fact that they are action fighters, and though he's the best fighter of his generation, he is anything but an action fighter. Margarito would force him to be great and force him to earn the money that he'll later use to "make it rain."
I'd also like to see Wladimir fight Valuev, just because I want to see what it's like when 14 feet and 600 pounds worth of human beings fight each other. I think Wlad would take him apart, but it'd be exciting to witness. I also wouldn't mind seeing Hatton against Manny because they are both action fighters and probably would give fans their money's worth. Even though Ricky might not be in the conversation from a pound-for-pound perspective, he still always tries hard.
And lastly - Lyle Fitzsimmons, aka FitzHitz - Gainesville, Fla.
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Vitali Klitschko
Wladimir Klitschko's stated goal is unifying the division.
Perhaps it's just me vicariously taking on my older brother, Mitchell, via the Klitschko family, but I can't imagine how anyone wouldn't want to see the drama of a pair of siblings in the ring. And if Vitali rises from the scrap hear to top Sam Peter for the WBC belt in October, don't be surprised if that prurient interest turns into a legitimate big-money offer from an enterprising promoter.
Granted, they've both gone on record saying it would never happen, but that was before circumstances actually pointed to it as THE heavyweight fight, which it'll automatically be if Vitali is seen strolling through Kiev with the WBC title. Just imagine... Wladimir's stated goal is unifying the division... and his brother earns one of the two belts he hasn't garnered... triggering the perfect in-ring storm.
In the spirit of U.S. Open tennis, call it Venus vs. Serena for the non- country club set.
* * * * * * * * *
Mean time, in the weekend's lone world title fight on Saturday, Scottish-born incumbent Alex Arthur defends his full-fledged WBO junior lightweight championship for the first time when he meets fellow U.K. native Nicky Cook at the M.E.N. Arena in Manchester.
Arthur, a 30-year-old Edinburgh native, captured the WBO's interim belt with a 10th-round stoppage of Koba Gogoladze last July and risked it successfully with a decision win over Stephen Foster on. Dec. 15 that improved his record to 26-1 over eight years as a pro.
He garnered the WBO's full recognition upon the defection to 135 pounds by former champion Joan Guzman, who'll meet three-belt claimant Nate Campbell for lightweight supremacy on Sept. 13 at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi, Miss.
Cook, who's ranked No. 8 by the WBO, is fighting at 130 for just the second time since his lone career loss - an 11th-round KO by Steven Luevano for the organization's featherweight crown in July 2007.
He returned with a second-round stoppage of journeyman Kirkor Kirkorov on Feb. 2 in London, where he weighed in at a career-high 133 pounds.
The 28-year-old is 28-1 with 16 knockouts.
FitzHitz says: Arthur by decision.
Last week's record: 3-2.
Overall picks record: 11-6.
Lyle Fitzsimmons is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He provides 'In The Ring' commentary for Speeding Bullet Network (speedingbulletnetwork.com), is a periodic contributor to 'The Drive with Dave Smith' on KLAA radio (am830klaa.com) and can be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.