Fights for 2013
There are many potentially mouth-watering match-ups in prospect over the coming months, here we assess the chances of some of our Christmas wishes coming true.
By Adam Norman: Twitter @SkySportsNorm. Last Updated: December 23, 2012 3:54pm
Brandon Rios (R) beat Mike Alvarado in Sky Sports' FOTY. Count on a re-match in 2013
Putting boxing politics to one side, we take a look at some big fights that will hopefully take place in 2013.
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Floyd Mayweather v Saul Alvarez
More than any of Mayweather's fights since he stopped Ricky Hatton in 2007, this would get the forums chattering. Mayweather may be the best in the business but he's only had two fights at light-middleweight and has never crossed a naturally bigger man. Enter 'Canelo', who at 22 remains somewhat raw yet is clearly in the ascendency while 'Money' could be on the way down. Both are expected to fight twice in 2013 - on the weekend of 'Cinco de Mayo' and Mexican Independence Day (weekend of September 15). A contest on either date would generate mind-blowing numbers at the Box Office.
Amir Khan v Kell Brook
Some slightly far-fetched scenarios need to be played out before this match-up takes place. First, Kell needs to take the IBF title from Devon Alexander in February, and then make his first defence back in Sheffield (Hillsborough?) in the summer. Khan fights again in April, likely to be against Josesito Lopez, before a mooted re-match with Garcia. It's not clear whether Team Garcia feel Khan should get another bite at this stage, leaving Amir clear for a much-talked about step up to 147 and a big money November clash with champion Brook.
Carl Froch v Mikkel Kessler
A fight that looks certain to happen with both parties keen on a re-match of their 2010 epic. Froch will always maintain Kessler got a hometown decision that night, and is confident of avenging the first loss of his career. Talks have reportedly been going on for some time with Froch and Eddie Hearn looking to host it in the UK. However, with the numbers involved a home fight could mean a return to PPV, which seems unlikely at this stage. Hopefully it can be worked through, otherwise another trip to Denmark is on the cards.
Nonito Donaire v Abner Mares
The Filipino Flash is the fellow all the 'little men' want a piece of in 2013 after he swept through the super-bantamweight division undefeated this year. However, with respective promoters Golden Boy and Top Rank still banging heads, this is one fight that may never happen - they didn't get it on at 118lb and Mares has now followed Donaire up a weight. Victory over Anselmo Moreno announced his arrival in the division and we live in hope a deal can be made, although Donaire has other mouth-watering options including a unification with Guillermo Rigondeaux or another move up to featherweight.
Brandon Rios v Mike Alvarado
Who wouldn't want to see a second installment of this year's FOTY. The American duo went toe-to-toe for more than 18 minutes with neither giving an inch. Yet it seemed as though Rios was carrying the heavier artillary and so it proved as 'Bam Bam' finally backed his opponent onto the ropes with huge right hand. The spiteful follow-up saw the referee spare Alvarado further punishment on that occasion, although the pair seem keen on a repeat. Rios has other options at 140lb while a re-match would give Alvarado a payday he might not otherwise get.
Adrien Broner v Ricky Burns
Ever since Broner announced his arrival on the scene at 135lb it seems WBO champ Burns has been in the crosshairs. 'The Problem' does indeed seem to vex most opponents with his fast hands and elusiveness, although talk of him being 'the new Mayweather' may be a little premature. Nonetheless, it remains to be seen if the under-rated Burns can take the fight to the American and make him compete at a pace outside his comfort zone. Broner could be 'that good' but we'll only find out if the two sides agree terms, with the American inked in for a return on February 16.
Stuart Hall v Kal Yafai
Few young boxers have captured the imagination quite like Birmingham bantam Yafai in 2012, with promoter Eddie Hearn expecting a world title within three years. On that timeline, a domestic dust-up should be on the cards in the next 12 months and the experienced, durable Hall fits the bill. Currently the Commonwealth champion, Hall has been in with the best yet still has plenty to offer. Yafai may require another two or three bouts to get his ranking position higher but it's a fight that could easily happen in the second half of the year.
Martin Murray v Darren Barker
Murray will travel to Argentina in April for his second world title shot, this time against Sergio Martinez, the man who inflicted the only defeat on Barker's resume more than 14 months ago. In the event that Murray brings home the WBC middleweight belt, Barker ought to be high on his list in what would be a barnstorming domestic tussle. Even if Murray fails to beat 'Maravilla', Barker may have picked up some sort of alphabet title by the middle of the year and could meet Murray later on after the St Helens man has enjoyed a confidence-boosting win in the meantime.
Danny Garcia v Lucas Matthysse
One reason why Garcia v Khan II might not take place is because of presence of Matthysse as the 'interim' WBC champion at 140lb. The big-punching Argentine has terrorized the division with 30 of his 32 wins by KO, while his losses to Devon Alexander and Zab Judah were highly contentious. If the WBC's regular champion Garcia successfully defends against Judah (February 9), let's hope the sanctioning body forces a mandatory against Matthysse, who himself has a keep-busy fight against Hank Lundy in January. A slugfest between the two big-punchers is a mouth-watering prospect.
Wladimir Klitschko v Tyson Fury
Forget Fury v Price, this is the fight that is more likely to take place in 2013. Assuming Vitali Klitschko decides not to extend his career Fury will fight for the vacant WBC strap in the summer. Brother Wladimir will be hungry to keep that particular belt in the family - for it is the only one he doesn't own. If Fury can get past the winner of Arreola v Stiverne (February 23) you can bet Klitschko will be hunting him down for a unification fight later in the year. The winner will then be ready to defend all the belts against Price the following year. Simples.