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Wednesday, January 4, 2012
My boxing wishes for 2012

By Dan Rafael

The new year is upon us, so here are a few of my boxing wishes for 2012:

• As usual, the long-awaited showdown between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. We can hope, can't we?

• For Mayweather to think long and hard about why he's spending the first part of this year sitting in a jail cell and how to avoid going back after he's released in the spring.

• The Super Six World Boxing Classic plus-one fight: Andre Ward against Lucian Bute for all the marbles at 168 pounds.

• Lasting and meaningful peace between Top Rank and Golden Boy, so that Bob Arum and Richard Schaefer will make the slew of fights together that should be made. I have a feeling this will be on next year's list, too.

• For every fight freak to log on to YouTube and spend 40 minutes watching Akira Yaegashi-Pornsawan Porpramook, the epic 2011 fight of the year. You won't be sorry.

• That Ken Hershman at HBO and Stephen Espinoza at Showtime thrive in their new positions, and that they buy the best fights for the fans, not push the agenda of a particular promoter or manager.

• For some alphabet outfit to make me a diamond emeritus super-duper interplanetary regular interim champion in recess -- for a small sanctioning fee, of course.

• For Bernard Hopkins to get a fight that will allow him to bow out in style.

• For people outside Germany and Ukraine to appreciate just how good and dominant heavyweight champions Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko are.

• For the Victor Ortiz-Andre Berto rematch to be as good as their first fight.

• For fighters to stop touching gloves all the time. Do it at the start of the fight, maybe after a legitimate accidental foul and before the final round. That's it.

• Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. against Saul "Canelo" Alvarez in the battle for Mexico (youth division).

• Juan Manuel Marquez against Erik Morales in the battle for Mexico (senior division).

• Marcos Maidana against Lucas Matthysse in the battle for Argentina. How could this not be the fight of the year?

• Worthwhile undercard fights on every single pay-per-view card.

• A big-money fight for Jorge Arce, one of my all-time favorite action fighters, who brings it every time, win or lose.

• For Sergio Martinez to defend the middleweight title against Miguel Cotto, even if it has to be at a catchweight to accommodate Cotto.

• No more boxing-versus-MMA nonsense. I repeat: They're different sports, and there's room for both to flourish.

• More action fights from James Kirkland, Brandon Rios, Juan Manuel Lopez and Abner Mares.

• Adrien Broner against Yuriorkis Gamboa at 130 pounds. I can dream, can't I?

• Nonito Donaire against Gamboa at 126 -- because we all know Broner-Gamboa ain't happening.

• For HBO to bring back the iconic "World Championship Boxing" theme music (in place of the mess it uses now) and a fresh batch of "Legendary Nights" episodes. It's time.

• An American heavyweight who matters. Is it Seth Mitchell? Either way it goes, hopefully, we'll at least find out.

• For "Friday Night Fights" to produce another season as terrific as last year's.

• Sobriety for Oscar De La Hoya and Kelly Pavlik.

• An HBO or Showtime fight for Delvin Rodriguez and an enjoyable retirement for Pawel Wolak.

• For promoter Frank Warren to match his fighters with worthy opponents, not stiffs. He can start with light heavyweight titlist Nathan Cleverly.

• A clean bill of health for Glen Johnson's battered elbows.

• Some American TV time for fighters such as Thomas Oosthuizen and Gennady Golovkin.

• Twitter rehab for Paulie Malignaggi. #tk

• For Robert Guerrero to show that his shoulder is healthy against a name opponent, then move on to a really big fight.

• Standardized medical requirements across the nation.

• A spot in the International Hall of Fame for Jim Lampley, who should have been inducted years ago.

• For Vic Darchinyan to return to junior bantamweight. It's clear he doesn't belong at bantamweight. It's only three pounds, but it has made a big difference in Darchinyan's case.

• A four-man tournament at flyweight involving Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, Hernan "Tyson" Marquez, Brian Viloria and Roman Gonzalez.

• For prospects such as Gary Russell Jr. and Thomas Dulorme to live up to the hype.

• The abolition as soon as possible of the disgusting WBC, which breaks its rules regularly, makes up many new ones on a whim and produces rankings that are utterly laughable. Same for the wretched WBA, which insists on regularly recognizing three titleholders in numerous divisions.

• A complete recovery for Daniel Jacobs.

• For Tavoris Cloud to fight more than once and for promoter Don King to match him with a worthy opponent. May I suggest Jean Pascal?

• Better refereeing and judging. Assigning Steve Smoger or Kenny Bayless to referee every big fight wouldn't be a bad thing, either.

• For Lamont Peterson and Amir Khan to meet in a rematch, with a competent referee in charge.

• Retirement for Roy Jones Jr., James Toney, Evander Holyfield and Shane Mosley.

• Title shots for Antonio Tarver (cruiserweight), Ismayl Sillakh (light heavyweight), Erislandy Lara (junior middleweight) and Mikey Garcia (featherweight).

• For David Haye, the laughingstock of boxing, to stay retired. He disgraced himself enough in 2011.

• Success for Main Events' Kathy Duva in her new boxing series on NBC Sports Network.

• More big fights at Madison Square Garden.

• No more fights at the Silverdome.

• For Denis Lebedev to stop picking on old men and fight legitimate cruiserweight contenders in their 30s, or even 20s.

• For Steve Cunningham to get fair officiating in his rematch with Yoan Pablo Hernandez in Germany on Feb. 4.

• For all the ignorant writers and TV and radio personalities to stop writing and saying that boxing is dead or dying. It's very much alive.

• For the fight freaks everywhere, great fights all year long.

• And, as usual, for peace on Earth -- but not inside the ring.

Happy new year.