Spring is always the best time for sports. March Madness, the beginning of another baseball season, and both the NBA and NHL playoffs are set to begin. Yet this year there is another sport to add to the list: boxing.
Boxing may be missing the highly anticipated Floyd Mayweather versus Manny Pacquaio match-up but instead three fights are worthy of the big stage and may provide more fireworks than a Mayweather and Pacquiao showdown.
Fans have to get used to the fact that their fantasy matchup will, in all likelihood, never happen. Instead, it will give good boxers a chance to jump up to the next level and take the torch from the 35-year-old Mayweather and 33-year-old Pacquaio.
Floyd Mayweather (42-0, 26 KOs) vs. Miguel Cotto (37-2, 30 KOs): May 5
For the first time in five years, Mayweather is going to fight somebody that is a formidable opponent. Although I was wishing for this fight four years ago, Cotto is going to be a tough matchup for the undefeated champion. In Cotto’s two losses, he was knocked out to Antonio Margarito, who likely cheated by using illegal hand-wraps, and to Pacquiao, where Cotto had to drop extra weight to fight the smaller Pacquiao and he looked like he had less energy than usual. However, Mayweather will let Cotto fight at his natural weight, where Cotto has shined in his last three fights, all knockouts.
I’m not ready to say that Cotto is going to upset Mayweather because I can’t side against a fighter who has been as dominant as he has been in the last decade. Yet, Cotto is hungry and is going to be looking for an upset, but can he handle the quickest fighter in boxing?
Prediction: Mayweather wins by decision by fighting defensively and avoiding Cotto’s powerful punch.
Manny Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) vs. Timothy Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs): June 9
After nearly being upset by Juan Manual Marquez in a fight last November, Pacquiao decided to fight another high-level opponent. Pacquiao is looking to retire in the next year or two, and Bradley is going to try and send him out of boxing with a loss.
However, Bradley has been hiding behind his undefeated record. He refused to fight Amir Khan because he didn’t want to risk it, and was holding out for the past three years to fight Pacquiao. Although he finally gets his wish, he better make the most of it, otherwise he will just be another fighter with an inflated record against poor opponents.
Pacquiao doesn’t have much time left in his career, and I suspect that he will do his best to knock out Bradley in style to add pressure to Mayweather for a fight next November.
Prediction: Pacquiao knocks out Bradley in the eighth round.
Amir Khan (28-2, 18 KOs) vs. LaMont Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KOs): May 19
If you aren’t an average boxing fan, you may not have heard of either of these fighters. Fortunately, this is your chance to meet Khan and Peterson, where the winner will become the new face of boxing in the future. These two are fighting in a rematch from a December fight, where Peterson won in a decision – but Khan quickly pointed out a man who was talking with the judges ointhe fight for a few rounds and was later seen celebrating with Peterson.
Khan is the face of British boxing, and for good reason. He has some deadly punches, and has knocked out some of the toughest boxers in his weight class. However, Peterson’s win against Khan in December was his first statement victory, but it was in his hometown with questionable judges. If he wants to stay in the spotlight, he must beat Khan in May.
Prediction: Khan knocks out Peterson in the second round.