Boxing: 12 Days
December, 19, 2013
By Brian Campbell | ESPN.com
AP Photo/Reed SaxonFacing super middleweight titlist Carl Froch would be a good test for Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.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.
When it comes to the matchups we openly pine for, sometimes the allure of what’s at stake can be trumped by the personalities involved and the expectations of what sort of fireworks the fight could produce.
There might not be a single matchup that best describes this equation than super middleweight titlist Carl Froch of England and Mexico's Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., with the good news that it could become a possibility in 2014.
Sure, Froch's pair of 168-pound titles would be a worthy prize to compete for. But they are almost an afterthought, compared with the idea of two unrelenting fighters, both with huge, passionate fan bases, squaring off on the biggest stage.
The titles in this case would be trivial in large part because Chavez (47-1-1, 32 KOs) is in many ways a fighter without a division or solidified identity. His fluctuating weight remains a question mark, as is his commitment to the sport.
But regardless of whether Chavez, 27, proves to be simply the son of a famous fighter with the same name, or a fighter closer in class to the stubborn war horse who once had middleweight champion Sergio Martinez seconds away from extinction, each visit to the ring is a must-see event.
From Chavez's sought-after name value, knockout power and a rock-solid chin, to his spoiled-rotten antics and multiple brushes with controversy, he knows how to entertain. Pairing him against one of the sport's top trash-talkers in Froch -- who, it just so happens, brings his own mix of power, chin and no-fear style -- would bring out the best in both fighters.
What makes the matchup more intriguing is that Froch (32-2, 23 KOs) is dealing with his own newfound set of questions. Entering his November bout with unbeaten George Groves as one of the sport's pound-for-pound elite, Froch's stock took a hit following his controversial stoppage victory, in which he was floored early and showed his age throughout.
Froch, 36, has been open about wanting to secure one or two more "superfights" before walking away and calling it quits. Setting up two immovable objects filled with excess baggage on a collision course has never sounded so good.
So fire up the prefight documentary shows that are sure to be certified gold with these personalities involved and buckle up on fight night. Both guys have shown a flair for the dramatic late in a fight, and neither knows how to take a step backward.
December, 18, 2013
By Salvador Rodriguez | ESPNDeportes.com
Getty ImagesNonito Donaire and Mikey Garcia are friends, but if they fight each other, we'd all watch.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 over 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.
"No, we are brothers, I don't think we are ever going to face each other," Nonito Donaire told me during a promotional stop in Mexico City before his fight against Vic Darchinyan.
Yes, he was talking about junior lightweight titlist Mikey Garcia.
But, what if?
What if they weren't like brothers? What if they trained in different gyms? What if they didn't like each other the same way Ricardo Mayorga and Fernando Vargas did? What if, instead of friendship, they had genuine hate for each other?
Without a doubt, we would have one heck of a fight.
Garcia-Donaire might be best served at a catchweight of 128 pounds, directly between each fighter's current weight class. And if we take a closer look, their styles are a perfect match.
Both fighters can mix it up if necessary and trade the type of punches that could send either to the canvas at any time. But they also each possess good technique, speed, execution and defense.
Garcia seems to be the hotter fighter right now, but in his most recent fight he raised some eyebrows by showing some unexpected hiccups. Roman Martinez dropped him in the second round before succumbing to an eighth-round knockout, something that was completely out of Garcia's fight plan. Meanwhile, Donaire created questions of his own in a somewhat shaky November knockout of Vic Darchinyan.
If speed is a potential Kryptonite for Donaire, we must point out that Garcia is a fighter with incredible technique, respectable power and a lethal repertoire of combinations, even if he lacks the speed to outright trouble the "Filipino Flash."
On the other hand, Donaire's power seems like enough of a reason to keep Garcia alert every step of the way, if he wants to avoid facing that devastating left hook.
On the surface, it would seem the stars are aligned for this fight to make sense. Both are represented by the same promoter and manager, and both are highly esteemed by the same network. This fight would be an easy sell at any venue, whether in California, Texas, New York or Las Vegas.
Unfortunately, both fighters also share the same trainer -- Mikey's older brother Robert Garcia -- making the fight unlikely, at least as things currently stand.
But if Top Rank should ever run out of big-name opponents for either fighter, it wouldn't need to look any further than Robert Garcia's Oxnard, Calif., gym to find the most attractive option for either one. They are made for each other.