Sketche by Matteo Angeli

Pacquiao/Ryan Garcia?

There’s a lot of banter out there about a fight between Ryan Garcia and Manny Pacquiao. Bad idea for Garcia, in my opinion. I really think Manny would blow Ryan away. I’m not completely sold on Garcia. He’s good…really good…but Manny is very special. I mean, I know he’s 42-years-old and all, but the way Ryan got clocked by Luke Campbell set of a few alarm bells for me. Luke isn’t Manny, and if Ryan gets hit like that by Manny, there’s no getting up. For me, Manny in 4 rounds or less.

Wilder/Whyte

It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around just how far the stock of Deontay Wilder has fallen since he was stopped by Tyson Fury about a year ago. People are talking about him in the past tense. Look folks, the man is 42-1 (41 KO’s)! He’s still dangerous as hell. I think he chills Dillian – and early too! And that’s assuming the 27-2 (18 KO’s) Whyte gets his revenge in his rematch with Alexander Povetkin, a man who starched him but good in the 5th round of their last tilt. For me, that’s not a foregone conclusion by any means.

Lomachenko/Nakatani

I don’t remember the last time I was so conflicted about a fighter as I am about the uber-talented Ukrainian, Vasily Lomachenko. It seems surreal to refer to a fighter with only 16 fights under his belt – already with two losses – as a “former world champion in three different weight classes,” but such is the nature of modern boxing. “Loma,” as he is known throughout the boxing world, lost his sundry lightweight titles to Teofimo Lopez just this past October. Now, he’s facing Masayoshi Nakatani of Japan, in his first fight back. Now Loma is probably going to win this one, but don’t kid yourself, Nakatani is no palooka. He’s 19-1 (13 KO’s) and that loss was a decision to the aforementioned Lopez. So, I might bet the summer cottage on Lomachenko winning, but not the house.

Andy Ruiz/Anyone…Anyone?

Talk about falling off the map; where in the world is Andy Ruiz? The portly “Destroyer” forever won a place in the hearts of fans like me, who linger too long at the buffet table, when he stopped Anthony Joshua to win a version of the heavyweight championship of the world. Andy clearly celebrated at The Golden Corral restaurant too much after the win and promptly lost his title in the rematch to AJ just seven months later. That was in December of 2019 and we haven’t seen the Mexican fighter since. My concern for Andy is that the longer he’s away, the less relevant he becomes. Andy’s not the best boxer, but he’s a hell of a lot better than he’s been credited for and he’s entertaining as hell. Boxing needs Ruiz back. Andy, if you read this, I hear Joe Joyce and Daniel Dubois are looking for big fights.

Should Daniel Kinahan Be Allowed In Boxing?

My knee-jerk response to this is always, “Well, should Don King have been allowed?” “How about Tex Rickard?” Look, boxing is a sport of violence. It’s a sport that attracts desperate men and women looking for a way out of very difficult lives. It’s a sport that’s subjective, that has judges and referees; a sport people can wager on. In other words, the sport is a sitting duck for crooked promoters et al. Talk about “low hanging fruit;” what could be easier pickings than a pool of hungry, largely uneducated, unsophisticated competitors, trainers, etc? Kinahan, has no official designation but seems to function as some sort of “adviser” to many. In his defence, the man has no criminal record. I say let him continue to advise (don’t see how you stop that, anyway) until there is some concrete evidence to warrant having another look at his involvement.

Fury/Joshua

I’m more than a little tired of reading that AJ is going to get blown out by Tyson Fury. Really? What has Anthony Joshua done that has caused so many to downplay his chances? One loss to Andy Ruiz? Look, most fighters have a bad day or two during their careers. Ali lost to Spinks, LaMotta beat Robinson, Klitschko lost to Sanders. I think Ruiz was Joshua’s “Mulligan.” It happens. AJ can box. He’s big, strong, and very athletic. He can hit too. I’m not saying he’s going to win. But I don’t see Fury just walking through the man either. Besides, have you seen the recent photos of Tyson? He’s not missing any meals in preparation for this bout, that’s for sure.

Carl Frampton/Jamel Herring

I think Carl Frampton has just a little too much experience for the game, but largely untried, Jemel Herring. Frampton is extremely cagey and ring savvy and I haven’t seen enough from Herring to convince me that he has a way out of this one. The elephant in the room, you ask? Herring is a southpaw. We’ll see but I’m calling Frampton by decision.

Mauricio Lara/Josh Warrington

Ahhh, you’ve just gott’a love the vagaries of boxing in 2021. This was supposed to be an “eliminator” fight, then it became a “world title fight;” now it’s back to being “just a fight.” Too bad, because it promises to be a barnburner. In this one, I’m predicting my first upset of 2021. I think Mauricio “Bronco” Lara has that, what I like to call, “Mexican hunger” that is so terrifying to opponents. Not sure Josh has ever encountered the near-rabid nature of Lara. I think Lara roughhouses Warrington into an early night. Lara by KO!

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