Top 10 Fantasy Bouts (Part 1)

March 31, 2009

As a boxing fan, sometimes it is impossible to avoid imagining fights among fighters in different generations. This is especially true after watching old fights, which I've just done. Here is a quick list of the top 10 fights I would like to see among fighters of different boxing eras and the weights they could be fought at. (Of course I admit this is something that I probably could change my mind about on a fairly frequent basis.) Needless to say, it is assumed that all fighters would be in their respective primes.

Here are my top 10, beginning with 10 through 6.

10. Thomas Hearns v. Paul Williams (147-160 lbs)

Why it's interesting: Two 6-foot one-inch welterweight giants with freakish reach. Williams actually has the reach advantage by about 4 inches (82 to 78). Both fighters have tremendous boxing skills and power with the ability to fight at different weight classes. With regards to Williams, we still don't know how good he can be right now.

Prediction: Both fighters adjust early to facing a similar-looking athlete. Despite the reach disadvantage, Hearns, the better boxer, is more effective with his jab. Still, the Motor City Cobra eats a lot more shots from the outside than he is used to. Williams also has a nonstop motor and stays very active, keeping the fight at a quick pace. This appears to work to his advantage as Hearns' stamina in long fights has been an issue. Unforunately for Williams, he inevitably gets caught flush with a Hearns right hand that changes the whole fight. Hearns by KO in 8.

9. Larry Holmes v. Lennox Lewis (Heavyweight)

Why it's interesting: Two Hall of Fame heavyweights who effectively use the jab and wait patiently to land the right hand. Holmes has the advantage in hand speed and perhaps the greatest jab in heavyweight history. Lewis is taller by 2 inches and has a 3-inch reach advantage. Holmes has the better chin, but Lewis possesses greater power. Both are also typically underrated and dominated their respective eras. I am just curious as to how this would turn out.

Prediction: Holmes builds an early lead on the scorecards with an effective jab that frustrates Lewis. Lewis rallies in the middle rounds and lands a huge right hand that drops Holmes in Round 7. Nonetheless, Holmes gets off the canvas and gives as good as he gets and Lewis is forced to back off. The last round is action-packed and both fighters have their moments. Despite some dissent, most agree with the final verdict - Holmes by decision.

8. Roberto Duran v. Floyd Mayweather Jr. (135-147 lbs)

Why it's interesting: Two brilliant boxing minds with ring savvy and incredible defensive skills.

Prediction: At 135 or 140 Duran's power and aggression overwhelm Mayweather. Mayweather is still impressive with his slick defense, but is unable or unwilling to throw enough to make an impression on Duran or the judges. It is clear the Mayweather has never fought this caliber of opponent before. Unlike Ricky Hatton, Duran fights effectively inside and hurts Pretty Boy Floyd several times. "Hands of Stone" wins comfortably by decision at 135 or 140. At 147 the fight is closer and Mayweather has a little more pop on his punches, but loses by decision regardless.

7. Alexis Arguello v. Juan Manuel Marquez (122-135 lbs)

Why it's interesting: Two technical geniuses who can appear to mentally dominate their opponents. Arguello has the clear edge in power, but Marquez has a good chin and frustrates aggressive fighters with his accurate counterpunches. Both have hand speed and a ton of heart.

Prediction: Arguello wants to come forward and press the action, but Marquez effectively slows down the fight to his comfort level for the first few rounds. Arguello's power eventually makes an impact in the 6th round when he lands a big right hand that floors the Mexican. Marquez gets off the canvas and fights fire with fire...and nearly goes down again. However Marquez makes his classic mid-fight adjustments and the Nicaraguan is unable to land as cleanly in the second half of the fight. The last few rounds both fighters have their moments. Marquez lands a left uppercut and a clean right hand that stuns Arguello, but he quickly recovers. In the end, Arguello is given a disputed split decision based on the knockdown.

6. Jake Lamotta v. Roy Jones Jr. (Middleweight - 160 lbs)

Why it's interesting: The classic contrast in styles. Jones is the pure boxing technician with incredible hand speed who likes to control the pace and avoid getting hit. The Raging Bull will take three punches just to land one, is constant effective aggressiveness, and has a legendary chin.

Prediction: Jones makes the Raging Bull look amateurish for the first few rounds of the fight. Jones is in total control and in the 5th round even tries to go for a "hands-behind-the-back" right hand when he is caught with a solid left to the liver that nearly doubles him over. Jones retreats for several rounds after that but finds no relief as Lamotta corners him several times and lands effective shots. However, in the 9th round Jones counters Lamotta with a blazing flurry and Jake tastes some of Roy's underrated power. Comfortably ahead, Jones plays it safe in the last few rounds and avoids risking any punishment. Jones by Decision.

Manish Pandya
Staff Editor for

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