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'12 Days': Maidana-Matthysse

12/24/2013
Marcos Maidana, right, became an instant fan favorite after dismantling Adrien Broner. Ramon Cairo for ESPN

In the spirit of the holidays, ESPN is celebrating the season with our own "12 Days" wish list of the fights we want to see most, regardless of promotional or other entanglements. Keep checking back in the coming days to see new fights revealed, discuss our choices or even suggest some of your own in the comments section or via Twitter using #ESPN12Days.

Whether the super fights all fans want to see come to fruition often depends on a number of different circumstances, including rankings, titles, rivalries between fighters and nations, or just the curiosity of seeing them face each other. We include a possible fight between countrymen Marcos Maidana and Lucas Matthysse as one of those duels we can only imagine, but it could be a reality in 2014.

Both fighters are members of a true golden generation of Argentine boxing, and each occupies a place of respect in and around the welterweight division, perhaps boxing's most competitive weight class. They're also fearsome punchers with exciting styles.

So, what would happen if they faced each other in such an anticipated bout?

They have already met four times as amateurs (Maidana won twice, Matthysse once, and their last meeting ended in a draw), and both have answered questions about a hypothetical professional battle. A year ago, Maidana wasn't willing to accept a fight with Matthysse, but he acknowledged, "If we got a major purse tomorrow, we would fight without the shadow of a doubt." Around the same time, Matthysse told ESPNdeportes.com that "the fight is going to happen at some point," although manager Mario Arano made clear that the duel would have to be at 140 pounds.

Since then, things have changed. Maidana will end 2013 cresting after his impressive win over Adrien Broner. Matthysse is in a very different place: licking his wounds after a loss to Danny Garcia and preparing for his return, although his opponent has yet to be determined.

Could that opponent be Maidana? He would be the logical choice. A victory over "El Chino" would mean a return to the limelight for Matthysse. The fight, however, would now need to be negotiated under Maidana's terms, at 147 pounds, where he holds a title.

Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer has called it "a fight that many fans have been asking for," and it's clearly in his best interest to give the people what they want.

So if the dream comes true, what kind of battle will we see?

I lean toward a cocktail of changing narratives, a fight that features plenty of aggressiveness yet won't be lacking from a technical standpoint, allowing us to enjoy six or seven rounds of an undefined and exciting war. I also believe it will be a won by knockout.

But who will win? That is hard to predict. They are two boxers of great courage and different rhythms, yet with the same powerful punch. Maidana is overwhelming and obsessed with producing the knockout, while Matthysse, arguably the bigger puncher, can vary his angles by using movement.

It will be a fight that won't go to the ropes, with everything taking place in the center of the ring. The one who makes a mistake will pay for it big time. There will be sudden attacks, with both fighters intent on finishing each other. Maidana will prevail with his aggressiveness in the early rounds, but if he is unable to hurt "The Machine," things will get complicated after the sixth round.

The fight likely would end before the eighth round, leaving the audience in a standing ovation filled with adrenaline and emotion. Even if the fight takes place in Las Vegas, the excitement would reach as far down as South America, to the shores of Argentina.