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Extended forecast: Charting the best fights remaining in 2014, and analyzing the oncoming months of boxing.
Usually, throughout the year, boxing has a dim point or two.
January-February is a given, but boxing in the early Spring and even late in the fall often slumps a bit in favor of other, more-popular team sports airing which I won't dignify mentioning.
Still, after the initial slow start, in 2014, boxing has been very eventful. We've seen the hungriest hit their peaks, old veterans stay afloat, some upsets, and a couple of good, ol' fashioned thrill rides. That's boxing for you and I.
With that, we've also seen the severance of ties between CEO of Golden Boy Promotions Richard Schaefer and Founder Oscar De La Hoya, Al Haymon's contractually obligated empire swell with new talent, and much more of that repetitious political impedimenta that the sport has long carried on it's back.
Again, that's boxing, and while I'd love to get sucked into a rant about that, I'm not going to waste either my time and energy, or your precious time either.
Onto this article's actual purpose: pinpointing and highlighting some of the best fights coming up in August, and throughout the rest of the year.
Remember, that any of these fights could be cancelled at any time, and new bouts can be announced. This is merely a speculative and adventurous article into the remainder of 2014 boxing.
Checkmate: Akira Yaegashi Vs. Roman Gonzalez (September 5th)
I'll concede that this fight might not be the cracker that previous fights of Nicaraguan Roman Gonzalez have been, but rather a good boxing match, fought at a high pace and even higher level of skill. This is totally worth the early wake and poor-quality Japanese television stream you have bookmarked.
As expected: Brandon Rios Vs. Diego Chaves (August 2nd)
A swarmer in Brandon Rios faces a cagey Southpaw in Diego Chaves.
Chaves has "sneaky", unexpected power, whereas Rios is in your face for twelve rounds, assuming he doesn't tire.
This fight is a recipe for war, and it is being paired with Jessie Vargas defending his WBA title belt for the first time against Anton Novikov.
Russian-American: Denis Shafikov-Rustam Nugaev (August 15th)
For some reason, two Russians are fighting on ESPN 2 in America -- and I can't wait for it.
Shafikov and Nugaev are both ruthless punchers that have only been shut down by movers and sharper boxers. Both can be found in the second half of the Lightweight top ten, and, Nugaev, has been one of the biggest finds of 2013-14. Good on Gary Shaw, and also good on Top Rank Promotions for leading the exciting Denis Shafikov to the US. This should be the payout.
Maybe: Tyson Fury Vs. Dereck Chisora (Unscheduled, early Fall)
Now that Fury-Chisora II is cancelled, Frank Warren is criminally refusing to offer fans refunds for his upcoming event. I'll leave that rant on social media where it seems every other media outlet has contained it.
Still, Fury-Chisora II was one of the most eagerly anticipated bouts of 2014, and Warren is promising to reschedule this intriguing Heavyweight grudge-rematch soon, even if most fans have already paid for it today.
Flyweights, baby: Amnat Ruenroeng Vs. McWilliams Arroyo (September 14th)
Ruenroeng has hit it big. It may have taken him a while in terms of years -- he's an older flyweight at 34 years of age -- but at 13-0, no one is doubting his ability to drill the best in the game, coming up with back-to-back wins over highly-regarded Kazuto Ioka and Rocky Fuentes in 2014 alone.
McWilliams Arroyo, besides being known as the only Puerto Rican with the first name "McWilliams" (don't confuse with his brother, "McJoe", also a world class professional boxer), is known for his blistering hand speed. He's a worthy challenger to Ruenroeng, having won a title eliminator against Froilan Saludar earlier this year.
Get ready for a show from...Thailand? You'll either see one of the best young competitors from PR hit the jackpot, or Ruenroeng fill a certain void left in a strong boxing minority by the fall of superstar Pongsakelek Wongjongkam.
Let's see what he's got: Shawn Porter Vs. Kell Brook (August 16th)
In this fight, Shawn Porter will be looking to chip and slice away the confidence of British superstar Kell Brook.
Brook is a sharp boxer, with a lot of float but plenty of sting. He has what it takes to hurt or stop Porter, but needs the time and space with Porter will not allow him. I don't feel that the winner of this fight will be indecisive, but how it will occur may be why we all tune in. Win or lose, this is Brook's chance to make a lasting impression on an American audience.
A rematch between Sakio Bika and Anthony Dirrell will also be featured on the undercard. The first fight was a war at 168lbs, and I would expect those patterns to remain.
Frampton's shot: Kiko Martinez Vs. Carl Frampton (September 6th)
The four-headed Super Bantamweight cluster remains. Carl Frampton vs Kiko Martinez will settle one piece of the puzzle, and either provide Martinez with some much-needed vengeance to be considered a real champion, or Frampton with a hard-earned title belt.
Good on the champion for making the trip to Belfast to settle his debt, although, even judging by his stampeding efforts in the first contest, it's hard to see this one going Kiko's way, he's been counted out before, though.
Now, it's time for Scott Quigg and Leo Santa Cruz to throw their protection plans out the window, because the winner of this fight is, without question, the second best at Super Bantamweight, besides the Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux. Don't say that name too loudly.
Hidden Gem: Marco Huck Vs. Mirko Larghetti (August 30th)
I have a feeling this fight could surprise a lot of people.
Italian boxers have gained a negative reputation for being a bit fragile, needing room to work and create opportunities.
For many of this domestic crop, that is true. For Mirko Larghetti...not as much.
Larghetti isn't quite up to par with Marco Huck in terms of power, is the smaller man, and is a massive underdog, but also shouldn't be completely overlooked, as he will stand in the pocket with Huck and make it a war for as long as he possibly can. We have a potential slugfest in Germany.
The big one(s): Mayweather, Pacquiao, Cotto, Canelo
There will be four more Pay-Per-View boxing events in the USA through the end of this year.
Floyd Mayweather is locked in for a championship rematch with Argentine powerhouse Marcos Maidana on September 14th, while Manny Pacquiao is deadset on a return to Macau against sharp WBO Junior Welterweight titlist Chris Algieri on November 22nd.
Those fights are happening, but prepare to lash out more money if you want to catch Saul Alvarez and Miguel Cotto in bouts to be determined this November and December.
With the demise of talent-stacked undercards, I wouldn't blame you for saving your money, and buying something more worthwhile and affordable.
After all, on Mayweather-Maidana II fight night, you'll still be exhausted from staying up to watch Ruenroeng-Arroyo, so, it's a win-win for your wallet and beauty sleep.
The best way to stand up to any abomination in boxing is simple. If you are not satisfied by the business done by a promoter, or even just a certain Pay-Per-View event isn't held to the standard which you expect. You can withhold the one thing that these major promoters love most -- your laboriously earned cash.
The customer is always right.
Enjoy the fights, everyone!