The 10 Point Must by Devon Currer

“If they say boxing is dead, terrific, I’ll take it: 8 fights on American TV today, including HBO, Showtime and CBS with another network fight on NBC next Saturday, which comes one week after Pacquiao and Marquez did another 1 million-plus PPV. If that’s dead, I don’t wanna live.” Dan Rafael, 16 December 2012.

This statement comes off the back of a particularly good year for the sport of boxing. 2012 gave fight fans meaningful clashes with many living up to the hype made through promotional circuits. One only has to point to the fight that Miguel Cotto gave Floyd Mayweather, undoubtedly the hardest that “Money” has been given in his own back yard.

Youth clashed with experience to produce the round of the year in the fight between Sergio Martinez and Julio Cesar Chavez Junior. While not only producing the possibility of the greatest shock in recent years, round 12 also showed the world how entertaining Sergio Martinez is. A guy who fights with his hands in his pockets is always going to produce action packed fights and the size of his heart can never been questioned – he got up off the floor and traded shots with Chavez Jnr. to the final bell.

Fights Of 2012

My pick for fight of the year came in the form of an epic 7 round slug-fest dished out by Brandon Rios and “Mile High” Mike Alvarado. Brandon Rios, another man that is never hard to find in the ring is turning out to be an Arturo Gatti like fighter and I am of the opinion that he will become a household name very soon.

In a fight that can be best described as all out gang war, Marcos Maidana had to dig deep (and bend some rules) to put Jesus Soto Karass away and has now sent out a message to the world that since he changed trainer to Roberto Garcia, he has been retrofitted with something called a “jab”. Carl Froch proved to the world at age 36 that he is as dangerous as ever when he took that “0” from Lucian Bute in his home town of Nottingham, England.

The “Rocky” award went to the blood and guts fighter Josésito López when he decided to re-write the script in breaking the jaw of Victor Ortiz in a fight that he was simply not meant to win, once again proving that there are no guarantees in boxing. This set up a fight for Lopez against Saul Alvarez – the fight Ortiz was supposed to get. David Haye had to use a beer bottle at a Vitali Klitschko post fight press conference to set up a highly entertaining heavy weight clash at Upton Park in London against former world title contender and madman at large Derek Chisora. Haye sent out a message that he could do what Vitali failed to in the form of a 5th round TKO while wearing a pair of running sneakers.

To top it all off, Juan Manuel Marquez completely devastated an entire country in Asia when he dropped the bomb on Manny Pacquiao, knocking him out cold and setting up the possibility of a 5th fight that could be as anticipated as the one that got away in Floyd Mayweather – and oh boy, how I do want to see that!

On the promotional front, enter Curtis Jackson who after his split with long time friend Floyd Mayweather, set up SMS promotions. One only has to look at the ring entrance he gave to his fighter, Yuriorkis Gamboa on the undercard of the Pacquiao/Marquez IV fight to see that Curtis Jackson A.K.A. Fifty Cent brings that shot in the arm of entertainment and boatloads of money to burn to the world of boxing. I for one, truly hope that he is able to penetrate the monopoly enjoyed by Golden boy and Top Rank to set up more meaningful fights that we deserve.

That being said, I have a feeling that 2013 will deliver fight fans more bang for your buck than ever before and here is why...

Who to watch for in 2013… and where to watch it

HBO…

They kick off their year when their first major card of the 2013 comes from Madison Square Garden on January 19th where Gennady Golovkin puts his WBA Middleweight World Title on the line against Gabriel Rosado. Golovkin is an undefeated boxer/puncher hailing from Kazakhstan.

He currently holds the IBO and WBA regular championship titles and looks to be the real-deal at middleweight. With a professional record of 24-0 (21KO), some may point to the untested career that he has enjoyed in the paid ranks, however he holds amateur victories over the likes of Andy Lee, Yordanis Despaigne and Lucian Bute (by stoppage) on the way to an Olympic silver medal at the 2004 games.

The undercard of which stacks in entertainment value with the clash between Juan Manuel “Juanma” Lopez conqueror, Orlando Salido and the brother of trainer Roberto Garcia, Miguel Angel “Micky” Garcia in a WBO featherweight world title defence. The gung-ho Roman “Rocky” Martinez squares off against Juan Carlos Burgos in defence of his WBO super featherweight World Title, stirring the classic rivalry that is Mexico v Puerto Rico.

All three fights drip with intrigue. The following weekend on January 26th features the fight between Argentinean bruiser, Lucas Matthysse and American prospect, Mike Dallas Jnr. The undercard features the 10 round welterweight battle between Jesus Soto Karass and Selcuk Aydin.

The card on February 16th from The Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City features the brash and exciting WBC lightweight world champion Adrien Broner against experienced Welshman Gavin Rees. The undercard sees a rematch between American heavy weight hope Seth Mitchell and Johnathon Banks, who owns a second round TKO victory over him in November of 2012.

Banks is also the chief sparring partner and current trainer of reigning heavy weight champion Wladimir Klitshko. He achieved that stoppage of Mitchell just a week after guiding Wladimir to a successful title defence over Mariusz Wach.

ESPN …

The network came back with a bang in the form of their highly entertaining Friday Night Fights series which kicked the year on January 4th, headlined by the clash between Rances Barthelemy vs. Arash Usmanee in the super featherweight division. This fight also delivered the first seemingly blatant robbery of the year where Barthelemy was gifted a home town decision.

A week later the next episode comes from Sante Fe, New Mexico where bluecollar lightweight contender John Molina Jnr, who holds a stoppage win over “Hammerin” Hank Lundy, goes up against the durable Danny Williams.

January 25th brings the mouth watering middleweight clash between former WBO junior middleweight world champion, Sergiy Dzinziruk and the unconventional Brian Vera from Verona, New York.

On the 1st of February, Carlos Molina takes on Cory Spinks in a junior middleweight headliner the under-card of which features the likes of Mexican legend Jose Luis Castillo against Antwone Smith (welterweight) and Artur Szpilka vs. Mike Mollo (heavyweight).

February 8th brings local interest into frame on ESPN where Adonis Stevenson is slated to take on Tommy Oosthuizen victim, Rowland Bryant at the Bell Centre in Montreal. With Oosthuizen and Stevenson both on the radar of an IBF super middleweight title shot, either against holder Carl Froch or for the vacated title against each other, common opponents make for compelling viewing.

ESPN has also picked up the mandatory IBF junior welterweight defence between Lamont Peterson and Kendall Holt on February 22nd. This will be broadcast live from Petersons’ hometown of Washington D.C. This is also Petersons’ first fight in 14 months since his all out war with Amir Khan where he won the title which was subsequently tainted by a failed drugs test following that fight. He was stripped of his WBA title but allowed to keep the IBF strap which is on the line in this particular fight. DSTV subscribers can enjoy all these ESPN Friday Night Fight cards live in the early hours of Saturday mornings on channel 230 with repeats shown through the week.

2012 was a great year for WBC and WBA junior welterweight world titlist Danny Garcia. Not only did he dispose of Mexican ring legend Erik Morales twice but he also derailed British super star Amir Khan in devastating fashion by way of a 4th round knockout.

He takes on Zab Judah on February 9th at the Barclays Centre in New York courtesy of Showtime. The undercard of which will feature WBO middleweight world champion Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillain against hot prospect Fernando Guerrero. February 23rd features the bout between slick southpaw Devon Alexander and number 1 contender Kell Brook for the IBF welterweight world title. This fight will take place at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan.

With all these quality fights coming our way in the first 2 months of the year alone, the heartbeat of boxing is clearly very strong. The date that I have particular interest in is May 4th 2013.

2013’s Mega Bouts

This is the date that HBO typically reserve for the first mega-bout of the year. It is a date that Floyd Mayweather has booked and used for his bouts with Oscar de la Hoya (the largest grossing boxing PPV of all time) and his showdown with Miguel Cotto in 2012.

All he needs is a dance partner and the two front runners are Robert Guererro and undefeated Mexican super star Saul Alvarez. While both are worthy opponents for Mayweather, Alvarez strikes one as the most appealing choice for a couple of reasons. As the date of May 4th falls on the Cinco de Mayo weekend (celebration of Mexican heritage, not to be confused with Mexican Independence Day which falls in September), matching an American with a Mexican makes for potentially massive Pay Per View figures. Celebrations from the Mexican population on both sides of the Rio Grande are widespread.

Mayweather and Alvarez are both junior middleweight titlists which would make for a unification showdown with Alvarez putting up his WBC title and Mayweather his WBA Super title. Both Alvarez and Mayweather are aligned with Golden Boy Promotions which makes for a smooth negotiation process and the fight would certainly be approved by HBO boss Ken Hershman.

Another possibility for this date is one of Miguel Cotto taking on Saul Alvarez which brings the Mexican/Puerto Rican rivalry to the table. On the outside looking in are Austin Trout who would probably pose the biggest danger to Saul Alvarez and his undefeated record. Unfortunately he still lacks name that would command big PPV revenues in America but he is certainly a name on the rise after his convincing defeat of Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden in December of 2012.

Mayweather could also set up a rematch with Cotto, who gave him all he could handle in the first fight on the same date of the previous year – all of these propositions have the right ingredients for a mega-bout. Realistically, we will probably know the starting line-up for that weekend by the end of January to sometime into February.

And finally… to the judges’ scorecard

The only thing I could have wished for is in the year ahead flew out the window in the very first main event screened on ESPN Friday Night Fights. As a fighter, you live to train. You live to put your body in harm’s way and every single time you leave the ring, you leave a bit of yourself inside the squared circle.

Even still, there is no guarantee of securing a win when leaving the fight in the hands of judges. 3 people armed with only a pencil have the ability to hamper a fighters’ career, or devastate it completely. My wish for the year ahead is for these judges to be more accountable for their actions.

The computerised system that has been bandied about as an alternative scares me even more than an inept judge – one only has to look at how boxing’s credibility has suffered in the Olympic Games through the use of such technology to realise that the human factor is still required. As humans, we make mistakes but these mistakes can certainly be limited through education and constantly striving to be the best.

Why is it so easy for me to sit in my armchair and successfully judge a fight while at ringside there could be a completely different interpretation? The benefits of watching the fight on television is that I am afforded the luxury of different camera angles and slow motion replays.

So if I am afforded this luxury, why can’t the three judges be taken from ringside and placed in separate rooms with only a muted television set in front of them. Obviously this is an impractical method for a fight that has no television coverage but it’s just a hypothetical suggestion. More can be done to limit these blunders and when you consider that a boxer must have achieved some kind of notoriety to be fighting on a televised event – the stakes are far higher.

They are even higher when you consider a massive Pay Per View event being shown in a few million homes worldwide with massive financial implications. Here is the use of technology that sports of all codes are gravitating towards but boxing has seemed to shun to a certain degree. As a fight fan I live in hope that a person who chooses a career path in this, the most brutal of sports gets his just reward in fairness and an unbiased manner.