By: Robert "Blaze" Belen
As the dawn of a new year awaits, there are a lot of good and interesting potential fights boxing fans can look forward to in 2013.
Here's the TOP 5 match-ups I want to see inside the ring this coming new year:
5. Danny Garcia vs Brandon Rios
Both boxers made huge statements this 2012. Garcia ended his 2012 with huge knockout victories against Mexican legend Erik Morales and UK sensation Amir Khan to claim the WBA and WBC 140 belts, while on the other hand, Brandon Rios knocked out then-undefeated rising star Mike Alvarado in a fight which many consider as the Fight of the Year of 2012.
They have proven this year that they have the power and chin to dominate the 140-pound weight class, and if both boxers could find their way to fight each other despite being with feuding promoters, it will be a slam-bang, toe-to-toe affair for 12 full rounds, or as long as the action lasts.
4. Nonito Donaire, Jr. vs Abner Mares
Nonito Donaire, Jr. is the hottest boxer in the planet right now, winning all his four fights this year against 4 big names in dominating fashion, with the last one being the annihiliation of Mexican legend Jorge Arce. The "Filipino Flash" is on a roll, and now plans to continue his wipe-out job of the 122 pound class this 2013.
Next in line to cement his legacy and to unify the belts at 122 is facing the current WBC Super Bantamweight Champ Abner Mares. Mares also made strings of victories this year against Eric Morel and Anselmo Moreno, and even though fighting Donaire will be a huge gamble in his young career, facing the "Filipino flash" could be his breakthrough fight to prove his critics that he's the real next big thing in boxing. A Donaire-Mares fight will be huge for the sport and will add to the flame of the Philippines-Mexico boxing rivalry.
3. Nonito Donaire Jr. vs Guillermo Rigondeaux
Both boxers have plans of wipping out the 122 weight class, and for them to do such a feat, they must face each other. This could be the most technical fight in boxing right now, as both boxers act and think like surgeons inside the ring. It's very interesting to see how this fight could end up. Donaire defeated 4 big names in 2012, but none of those boxers possess the technical skills of the Cuban dubbed "The Jackal". While on the other hand, Rigondeaux defended his WBA title twice this year, but against lowew caliber opponents compared to that of Donaire's.
This fight can end in the very 1st round, or could last 12 full rounds depending on how each boxer carries out their strategies, which of course, makes this fight more interesting to watch.
2. Saul Alvarez vs Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is being regarded as the most gifted all-around boxer of this era. Undefeated in his 43 fights, he has defeated some of the biggest names in his generation and stands to finish out as one of the best boxers in history. But at 35-years-old, he only has a few fights left in his phenomenal career. And after dominating Miguel Cotto in May of 2012, there's no big name left at 154 other than the Mexican Prince, Saul Alvarez.
Alvarez is the current WBC Light Middleweight Champ, and scored big victories against Shane Mosley and Joselito Lopez in 2012. Undefeated in 42 fights, many say that this 22-year-old Mexican could be the future face of boxing. "Canelo", though, is also being criticized for not having fought a real big name, or threat in the form of a top level boxer that will truly test his skills.
This fight can be the passing of the torch, or end up a reality check for boxing fans. A fight between "Money" and "Canelo" can be the biggest boxing event of 2013, and will pretty much determine if we are ready to watch a new boxing superstar, or another be left disappointed with simply another over-hyped promotional creation.
1. Manny Pacquiao vs Juan Manuel Marquez - PART 5
They fought each other four times with the last one ending in a vicious 6th round knockout in favor of the Mexican legend.
But since Pacquiao won two of their previous three fights prior, and should've won their first if it weren't for an error in scoring by one of the judges, a fifth fight is only fitting.
Marquez finally solved the Pac-Man puzzle, and defeating Pacquiao for the 2nd straight time will be the icing on the cake of his amazing career, as some fans of the Filipino icon insist that the win was due to a "licky punch".
For Pacquiao, after the devastating knockout loss he suffered against Marquez, comes many questions and challenges. He has a huge load to lift if he's serious in continuing to pursue his boxing career. Though he has nothing more to prove with all the achievements he had, making his fans smile while he's inside the ring for the very last time and avenging his KO loss to Marquez, isn't such a bad way to end a phenomenal career.
Follow Robert on Twitter @RobertBelen.