14 Fighters Who Need a Big 2014

  1. Nathan Cleverly (26 years old) – his devastating capitulation loss to Sergey Kovalev brought with it contemplation of retirement at age 26 & Clev needs to re-evaluate his options in the cruiser-weight division as his light heavyweight options, incredibly, for the time being appeared limited: I definitely would have done the rematch if I could have got that fight, but there was no rematch clause for the fight so Kovalev didn’t have to take the rematch and I didn’t want to hang around.
  2. Manny Pacquiao (35 years old) – Pacquiao has unfinished business with the still undefeated Tim Bradley after which, the big one… Pacquiao vs. Marquez 5… forget the other now cringe-worthy melodrama – that has become undignified & tired ages ago.
  3. Sergio Martinez (38 years old) – a clash with Miguel Cotto offers an opportunity to the likeable Martinez to regain the lofty heights of all but the final 3 minutes of his bout with Julio Cesar Chavez Junior.
  4. Ricky Burns (30 years old) – It takes a lot for a partisan British crowd to accept their man got the worst of a clash & was essentially bailed out by a decision… Burns needs to recapture the substantial faith of his large domestic following after a performance he’ll want to consign to the “hiccup” column against the very game Beltran.
  5. Abner Mares (28 years old) – once a suspect chin is exposed; it becomes very very problematic to alter the buying public’s perception that they’ll always be paying to see a prizefight that could end on the whim of a well timed shot to the head. Needs to avenge defeat & then some..
  6. Adrien Broner (24 years old) – well, let’s just say he’s got… problems..?
  7. Chad Dawson (31 years old) – “Bad” used to be his ironic name but during the course of two devastating knockout losses to Andre Ward (at 168lbs) & Adonis Stevenson (back at 175lbs) the once Mayweather-backed (emotionally if not financially or promotionally I hasten to add) Dawson has fallen from the heights of the foot of the superstar table. 2014 should be make or break for the former champion.
  8. Martin Murray (31 years old)* – Whilst unable by law to compete in the United States due to past legal problems Martin withdrew from a fight with Australia’s Jarrod Fletcher in Monaco earlier this year – which outside of an All-British domestic showdown with one of a handful of names is about as good as its going to get for Murray operating in an America-less universe.
  9. Thomas Oosthuizen (25 years old) – Ah, South Africa… one of those quaint backwaters where no one appears to have told them that there is a huge difference between a major sanctioning bodies (I’ll spell them out in case any South Africans are reading this – WBA, IBF, WBC & WBO) World Title & the International Boxing Organization (IBO) & their ilk versions thereof. A grave injustice really considering how aggressively Oosthuizen has been matched coming up – that an explicit call out from Olympic champion James DeGale brought with it nothing but the sound of tumble-weeds from Team Oosthuizen probably tells you everything you need to know about the South African national mentality.
  10. Austin Trout (28 years old) – two losses on the trot have derailed this once highly touted defensive talent.
  11. Yuriorkis Gamboa (32 years old) – promotional spats & run ins with the law have led to only 2 outings in 28 months for a fighter whose speed is superhuman yet, presumably, subject to that very human phenomenon of age related decline & who, despite widespread awe within the hardcore fan community is essentially anonymous to the wider entertainment world.
  12. Guillermo Rigondeaux (33 years old) – gifted beyond the norm; majestic to pure boxing fans but tragically loathed by network executives & so-called “boxing journalists” who’ve gone so far as to make belittling tweets during his fights of what they perceive as his lack of entertainment value. Does he need to change or does the sport need to become more appreciative of pure boxing skills? I know which of those is more likely inside the next calender year.
  13. Andre Ward (29 years old) – exceptional talent. Needs to get more & more meaningful fights.
  14. Carl Froch (36 years old) – it seems perverse that a man who holds wins over Brian Magee, Robin Reid, Jean Pascal, Jermain Taylor, Andre Dirrell, Arthur Abraham, Glen Johnson, Lucian Bute, Mikkel Kessler, Yusaf MackGeorge Groves needs to prove anything but such is the ADHD-centric nature of the mainstream boxing fan’s mentality that the ambiguous nature of his stoppage win over Groves has, for the time being at least, placed The Cobra’s legacy on the line as he enters an expected May 31 rematch with the PR-toxic Groves.
Manny Pacquiao
Manny Pacquiao lays out Ricky Hatton. Does The Fighting Pride of the Philippines have one Last Hurrah left in him?