Top 10 Fights Boxing Fans Need to See in 2012: Pacquiao, Mayweather, Khan and More

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Ahead of the first fights of the New Year, BoxingFancast runs through its wish list of fights for 2012 and the chances of each big bout coming to fruition. (Part 2 of 2).

5) David Haye Vs Vitali Klitschko

Say what you will about David Haye in the wake of his disappointing defeat to Wladimir Klitschko last July, but the brash Brit remains the most marketable prospect in the heavyweight division and a cash cow that the other Klitschko brother, Vitali, will want to take full advantage of.

As with Haye’s fight with Wladimir last year, Britain’s Dereck Chisora stands in the way of an immediate deal being struck, however Vitali will see that as no more than a warm up before the final major fight of his career. At 40, Haye will back his chances of toppling the elder Klitschko despite being out of the ring for a year by the time the first bell rings.

Likelihood rating; 8/10

4) Carl Froch Vs Mikkel Kessler

After two and a half years of must win bouts, Mikkel Kessler and Carl Froch may find themselves in another one before the end of 2012. Froch must prove that his defeat to Andre Ward is not symptomatic of a decline at the highest level and Kessler needs to demonstrate that he is fully healed from the career threatening eye injury that scuppered his participation in the latter stages of the Super Six.

A UK based rematch of their 2010 slugfest would appear the most logical step although Froch’s frosty relationship with the Sauerland promotional team that controls the Danish former champion could put a spanner in the works.

Likelihood rating: 7/10

3) Andre Ward Vs Lucian Bute

Arguably the most unlikely fight on this list. Not because either man does not want the fight- two unbeaten world champions facing off is always attractive- but arguments on location could be a sticking point with both men loathe to fight away from home.

Ward has the WBC, WBO and Ring Magazine belts at this weight and may feel that he doesn’t need Bute’s IBF strap to validate his claim as top dog in the super middleweight division. If the fight is to be made, I would wager a Vegas showdown towards the back end of the year after each man has secured one further defence each.

Likelihood rating; 5/10

2) Amir Khan Vs Lamont Peterson

A fight certain to be made in 2012, all that remains to be resolved is whether Lamont Peterson enters the ring as unified light-welterweight champion of the world or if Khan’s controversial defeat in Washington during December will be overturned.

Either way, Khan will come at this rematch with much to prove. A second defeat in just over three years is not in the least bit terminal for his long term prospects, however, should the British fighter want a superfight against Floyd Mayweather in the next 18 months, he will need to beat Peterson handily. The concern for domestic fans will be that this fight may scupper hopes of a Khan meeting with undefeated Kell Brook in 2012. However, should both men avoid defeat before the autumn I would suggest a fight between the pair could be made in November or December.

Likelihood rating: 10/10

1) Manny Pacquiao Vs Floyd Mayweather Jr.

I came pretty close to leaving this fight off the 2012 list because, ultimately, what else is there to say? For the best part of three years, this has been the fight sports fans the world over have wanted to see yet all have been left disappointed. I had hoped to see this in early 2010, however Pacquiao elected to chase titles and money in a nonsense fight against Joshua Clottey and Mayweather made his annual appearance against a shopworn Sugar Shane Mosley.

The concern for both men as we enter 2012 is that, in a similar scenario facing Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson before their match up ten years ago, that time has moved on too long to benefit either man’s resume. In Pacquiao’s case, any win over Mayweather would be monumental, but for the American, with his Filipino rival showing slight signs of decline, boxing historians may bemoan a reluctance to make this match up two years ago.

Mayweather now appears more keen than ever to sign on the dotted line, however with an impending 90 day prison sentence, the chances of the fight happening before the summer are next to nil.

If the fight is to happen and remain relevant, 2012 will have to be the year. Even with the complications provided by Mayweather’s legal problems and drug test demands, there exists enough hope that all relevant sides finally want this fight to happen.

Likelihood rating: 6/10

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