COMMENTARY | Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao are boxing's two biggest stars and are guaranteed attention-grabbers for writers and websites wanting to reach the greatest amount of possible readers. There's no doubt that Mayweather, Pacquiao, and the never ending drama between them are subjects the general boxing public craves.
However, while the media works to give the vast majority of fans what they want, there's also plenty of room to dig into the intrigue and drama surrounding some of the sport's other top stars.
With that in mind, here's a look at boxing's biggest non-Mayweather/Pacquiao questions for 2014:
Miguel Cotto vs. Sergio Martinez?
If the reports prove to be true, three-division world champ, Cotto, will move up to middleweight for a shot at Martinez's WBC title. This raises many questions for both fighters. Will Cotto's chin and punching power be affected by the move? Will a soon-to-be 39 Martinez, a smallish middleweight already in the last stages of his career, have enough in the tank to put away a slightly faded, but still younger, fresher, and mega-aggressive Cotto?
An American heavyweight champ?
Vitali Klitschko's decision to vacate his WBC title created the need to make a second bout between Haiti's Bermane Stiverne and Southern California's Chris Arreola, the WBC's top ranked challengers. This means that, should Arreola win, there will be an American world heavyweight champ for the first time since 2007. Should Arreola fail to beat Stiverne yet again, Americans Deontay Wilder and Bryant Jennings are right behind Arreola in the WBC rankings and may get a shot at the title by the end of the year.
Adonis Stevenson vs. Sergey Kovalev?
The light heavyweight division's two biggest punchers seem to be on a collision course. However, will WBC champ Stevenson and WBO titlist, Kovalev be able to overcome a boxing business model that would seem to favor soft touches for both in the immediate future? And if they do get in the ring, which chin will be the first to crack?
How much longer, Bernard Hopkins?
The 49-year-old Hopkins holds the IBF light heavyweight title and looks to add to his Hall of Fame legacy. Winning with solid fundamentals, experience, and good matchmaking, Hopkins will eventually be forced from the sport if he hangs around long enough. The question is: How much longer before he reaches "long enough?" A proposed unification bout with WBA 175 lb. titlist Beibut Shumenov could determine whether 2014 will be Hopkins' last year or if the legend will continue indefinitely.
Will this be the year of the Golovkin?
Kazakhstan's Gennady Golovkin has supreme ability, the WBA world middleweight title, and a growing legion of fawning hardcore fans. What he lacks, though, is a victory over a true, world class top five middleweight. Will 2014 be the year Golovkin finally gets that career-defining fight?
Jhonny Gonzalez vs. Abner Mares II
Before getting knocked silly by Gonzalez in the first round last August, Mares was a on the road to stardom and a place among the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport. Will the proposed rematch allow Mares career redemption or will the heavy-handed and well-traveled Gonzalez drop him again?
Carl Froch vs. ????
Froch got more than he bargained for when he nearly dropped his IBF and WBA super middleweight belts against unheralded George Groves last November. A controversial call by referee Howard Foster may or may not have saved him from disaster, but now Froch must decide where to go next. Groves and the IBF are demanding an immediate rematch while Froch has made it known that he'd rather face Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on American pay-per-view.
Can Alvarez, Rios, Broner, and Mares shine again?
2013 wasn't a great year for young, future superstars. Twenty-something stars Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, Brandon Rios, Abner Mares, and Adrien Broner all suffered embarrassingly one-sided losses last year and will look to make big comebacks in 2014. Which of these young talents will be able to get back on track and live up to their full promise?
What's happening to Nonito Donaire?
Somewhere between his ugly schooling at the hands of Guillermo Rigondeaux and present day, The Filipino Flash seems to have lost his spark. A mostly lackluster TKO 9 win over Vic Darchinyan in November convinced no one that Donaire was the same dominant force who ruled his weight range and took Fighter of the Year honors just one year earlier. Will Donaire regain his mojo in 2014 or will his downward spiral continue?
The Silence of the Jackal
Shockingly, Guillermo Rigondeaux's masterful victory over Nonito Donaire in April of last year was met with fan derision and apparent disdain from his own promoter, Bob Arum. A similarly dominant win over Joseph Agbeko later that year resulted in more mind-boggling scorn. Will Rigondeaux get the promotional push he deserves in 2014 or will he still be suffering the consequences of being a skilled fighter in an age of casual, brawl-minded fans?
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and is the author of Notes from the Boxing Underground. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
- Sports & Recreation
- Manny Pacquiao
- Floyd Mayweather
- Miguel Cotto
- Chris Arreola
- Bernard Hopkins
- Abner Mares
- Nonito Donaire
- Gennady Golovkin
- Carl Froch