Top 10 Fantasy Bouts (Part 2)

April 1, 2009

5. Marvin Hagler v. Bernard Hopkins (Middleweight)

Why it's interesting: Arguably the top 2 middleweights of all time so let's see who is better. Hagler successfully defended the middlweight title 12 times and knocked out all contenders except Roberto Duran, before losing a close fight to Sugar Ray Leonard. Hopkins reeled off 20 successful defenses before questionable losses to Jermain Taylor. Two great chins that were never knocked out. Hagler has the edge in power, but Hopkins is over 3 inches taller and is good against southpaws.

Prediction: Both fighters were slow starters and this fight is no different, with the first 3 rounds being mostly a tactical battle. In Round 4, Hopkins surprises Hagler with his best punch, a lead right hand, stunning Hagler for a moment and cutting him above his left eye. Marvelous quickly recovers and stalks the Executioner. However, Hagler is consistently frustrated by Hopkins' lateral movement and starts trash talking and encouraging Bernard to brawl. Taking the bait, Hopkins engages in a furious exchange with Hagler in Round 8...and comes out the worse as Hagler rocks B-Hop with a solid combination finishing with a big left hand. Hopkins wisely holds on until that round ends and then, as if he learned his lesson ("I can't hurt this guy!"), stays on the move regaining some of his earlier success. In what qualifies as an upset in the eyes of many, Hopkins gets the decision and Hagler is left fuming at the judges once again.

4. Joe Louis v. Evander Holyfield (Heavyweight)

Why it's interesting: Two great champions with tremendous heart. Neither is a particularly large heavyweight, and yet, both like to fight coming forward and mixing it up on the inside. Holyfield is a 3-time champion, while Louis' 25 straight title defenses will never be matched. Louis has the edge in power, but Holyfield has fought better opposition in his prime.

Prediction: Louis quickly realizes Holyfield is nothing like the "bum of the month" that he used to fight as champion, as Evander comes right after the Brown Bomber. The fight is a straightforward phonebooth slugfest resulting in a heavyweight version of Corrales-Castillo. Neither fighter wishes to take a backward step and both can effectively tie up their man when needed. Holyfield surprises Louis by being the stronger man and pushes him back after many exchanges. In Round 5, both trade their best punches...and Holyfield is dropped by a huge Louis right hand. Evander gets up at the count of 6, and to the surpise of many, begins a furious assault that sends Louis to the ropes. In Round 7, Louis is dropped by a Holyfield left hook, but it is only a flash knockdown, and the fight continues. In Round 10, with Holyfield ahead on 2 Judges' scorecards, Louis corners The Real Deal and lands a barrage of blows that puts Holyfield down. Holyfield gets up and refuses to quit, but Louis pounds away until the referee is forced to stop the fight.

3. Aaron Pryor v. Manny Pacquiao (135 - 140 lbs)

Why it's interesting: Both fighters are explosive all-action fighters with unique styles and knockout power. Pacquiao, a champion in numerous weight classes, is at a bit of a disadvantage due to the weight, but he has the hand and foot speed advantage. Pryor has a ridiculous knockout percentage (87.5%; 39-1, 35 KOs - at one time 26 KOs in a row) and one of the greatest motors of all-time.

Prediction: The fight is action-packed as expected. Pacquiao is quicker than anticipated, and Pryor is forced to repeatedly eat straight left hands in the first round. Hawk is undeterred nonetheless and continues to throw at an almost non-stop rate. In Round 3, he puts an off-balance Pac-Man down with a furious combination. Pacquiao gets up and waves Pryor to come in and an infurated Pryor obliges...only to be met by a straight left hand that wobbles him and slows him down. In the middle rounds Pacquiao is able avoid most of Pryor's big shots and land combinations to the body that make Pryor reconsider his hectic offensive strategy. In a close fight, Pryor comes storming out of his corner in Round 12 and throws an almost inhuman amount of punches, many of which land on target, until Pacquiao is forced to take a knee. Manny gets up but the barrage continues until the fight is stopped. Later, it is revealed that Pryor's corner applied a mystery "ointment" in his nostrils right before the final round. Would he have won anyway without the ointment? No one really knows for sure.

2. Muhammad Ali v. Mike Tyson (Heavyweight)

Why it's interesting: The two youngest heavyweight champions ever and a perfect contrast in styles. Sure, The Greatest has the edge in all tangible and intangible categories except power, but everyone still wants to see this fight. Some fights must be made because the personas of the fighters alone are just that big. A young Tyson was the ideal knockout artist who used impressive head movement to get inside and throw power punches with both hands at all angles. And Ali was simply Ali, the fastest, quickest, and best heavyweight the world has ever seen.

Prediction: Tyson surprises Ali early and makes him taste his power with a big left hook that backs Ali to the ropes. Ali suffers some anxious moments in the early rounds as he wards off the famous Tyson onslaught to the body and head. By Round 3, Ali effectively gets on the bike and uses his 9-inch reach advantage by frequently pumping his jab with stinging accuracy. Tyson aggressively chases Ali around the ring, but eats his share of jabs and straight rights while doing so. At times, Tyson misses wildly and Ali shakes his head in mockery and disgust. When inside, Ali effectively ties up Tyson and blocks most of the devastating body shots. Around Round 7, Tyson begins to show his frustration both at his inability to land effectively against Ali, and at the way in which Ali takes the big shots he does land. As Tyson gets more reckless, Ali begins to pick him apart with combinations delivered with his blinding hand speed. Tyson, never particularly successful in long competetive fights, takes the punches well but makes no adjustments. By Round 9, Ali is taunting Tyson and puts him down twice before the fight is stopped.

1. Sugar Ray Robinson v. Sugar Ray Leonard (Welterweight)

Why it's interesting: The battle of the two best Welterweights in history. If Ali-Tyson is a great show, then this fight is boxing as art. Both possess hand speed, ring savvy, power, flashy styles, and all the necessary intangibles of greatness. Both have roughly the same height and reach as well. Many believe Robinson to be the greatest pound-for-pound fighter of all time. But if anyone can pull off the upset, isn't it Leonard?

Prediction: Both fighters feel their way through the first few rounds, neither able to gain an upper hand. Neither fighter is used to facing someone as talented or fast as themselves. By Round 5, a subtle difference between the fighters emerges as Robinson's punches seem to have greater impact, although it is unclear if that is because he has more power or the better chin. Leonard starts to give away critical rounds in the middle of the fight seeking a tactical advantage that is not there. Robinson is just the better finesse fighter. Finally around Round 10 Leonard begins to feel a sense of urgency and goes on the attack. The change of pace is effective for Leonard...until he is dropped by a Robinson left hook thrown while retreating. Unlike Gene Fulmer, Leonard gets up and absorbs more punishment. In the final round, Leonard goes for broke and lands two huge left hooks followed by a right hand that staggers Robinson. Robinson holds on as Leonard wildly tries to rally when the final bell sounds. Robinson by a close but unanimous decision.

By Manish Pandya
Staff Editor for

No comments:

Post a Comment

We encourage all intelligent, passionate comments. Please refrain from any ignorant, racist, or offensive rants.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...