This blog appears to have no middle ground when it comes to making predictions: like a punch-drunk veteran letting fly with a desperate 12th-round haymaker, The Pugilist either finds its target in stunning style or ends up flat on its backside wondering where it all went wrong.
For every perfect prediction - such as claiming that Victor Ortiz would pay the price for announcing a fight with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez before he had even stepped into the ring with Josesito Lopez - there’s a terrible gaffe such as the suggestion that a dubious judge’s decision might hasten Vitali Klitschko’s retirement and give Manuel Charr a world title.
But when this writer last year suggested that a 2013 fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Canelo would be the blockbuster to end all blockbusters, it would prove to be the best call of them all so far.
The fantasy matchmaking was popular with the Yahoo! Eurosport boxing community – the piece cracked the top 200 most-viewed articles of 2012, and was the second most popular opinion piece of the year behind Kriss Akabusi’s appraisal of Olympic star Usain Bolt.
More importantly, the events of the months that followed the September piece lent more and more credibility to the possibility of Mayweather-Canelo.
One detail discussed was that the fight would make for a huge Cinco de Mayo headliner. We now know that will not be the case.
It will be ‘Money’ vs Robert Guerrero on May 4, another fight which will do well between the pound-for-pound best’s incomparable drawing power and Guerrero’s formidable and popular Latin challenge.
But when Mayweather ended 2012 by saying he’d like “two huge fights next year”, Canelo immediately expressed an interest. He believes he is ready.
Detractors claim that 22-year-old Alvarez’s impressive 41-0-1 record, with 30 knockouts, is that his victims list lacks a ‘huge’ name.
While Mayweather is pre-occupied with ‘The Ghost’, Canelo looked set to try and silence those crticis by providing cracking chief support: a WBA/WBC light-middleweight unification scrap with the also-undefeated Austin ‘No Doubt’ Trout.
And then, if Floyd and Saul were both victorious on May 4, they could then use post-fight interviews and the press conference to promote an autumn bout against each other, right?
It has been announced that Canelo-Trout will instead headline in San Antonio on April 20.
It’s still a big fight, and a Mayweather follow-up isn’t completely off per se, but Alvarez and Trout will surely earn considerably less as top billing in Texas than just underneath the sport’s biggest name on the sport’s biggest weekend.
Richard Schaefer says the collapse of a May 4 collaboration was because Mayweather would not commit, in writing, to fighting Canelo next until after he had battled Guerrero.
Makes sense from Floyd’s standpoint, really. But why didn’t they just make a conditional gentleman’s agreement?
It sounds like Alvarez merely wanted assurances that he would not be used as an additional boost to the Cinco card’s earnings in the Latin community, only for Mayweather to change his mind afterward.
Alvarez supported Floyd at last year's supershow, outscoring Shane Mosley underneath Mayweather-Cotto, and it appears that the Mexican is ready for star billing and will move onto his own path if he doesn't get it.
Nobody wants to tempt fate by discussing the fight after next – well, apart from the aforementioned Dancing With The Stars contestant Ortiz – but this sounds like a situation where a compromise could have been reached both for maximum profit on May 4 and for Mayweather’s second of his ‘two big fights in 2013’.
Ishe Smith completed a fascinating life journey on Saturday by becoming the IBF junior-middleweight champion. Ironically, he may now be the best choice to replace Alvarez and Trout on the May 4 card.
The Las Vegas native said he wants to defend the belt he took from Cornelius ‘K9’ Bundrage against Carlos Molina, who was last seen being stopped by Amir Khan. And Molina has been receptive to the challenge, suggesting that the Cinco undercard would be a good place to do it. Maybe Floyd will have light-middle support after all.
In England at the weekend, David Price was stunned by Tony Thompson, while the man Price destroyed in less than two minutes, Audley Harrison, won a second Prizefighter. We discussed the latest peculiar developments in the British heavyweight scene here.
COMING UP THIS WEEKEND
Four venues, four world title fights. On Friday Billy Dib defends his IBF featherweight crown against Evgeny Gradovic in Mashantucket, Connecticut. And on Saturday, belts are on the line in three continents.
Richard Abril and Sharif Bogere decide a new WBA lightweight champion in Las Vegas, Pungluang Sor Singyu puts his WBO bantamweight crown on the line against Paulus Ambunda in the challenger’s native Namibia, and Donnie Nietes and Moises Fuentes aim to stage a modern-day ‘Thriller in Manilla’ for the former’s WBO junior-flyweight strap.
On the subject of African boxing cards, Ricky Hatton’s brother Matthew heads to Johannesburg, South Africa on Saturday in a bid to silence local fighter Chris Van Heerden.