As boxing fans it’s quite simple, we want to see the best fight the best, we want to see the two men who are considered to be the elite of their divisions face off to see who really is the number one.
Every generation has their dream fights, in recent years we have seen Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao battle it out, we’ve even recently seen GGG vs Canelo go to war. But, although it always seems so logical that the two best should battle it out and even though these dream fights are discussed at length, for a number of reasons, some of them headline fights just never materialised.
Roy Jones Jr vs Dariusz Michalczewski
For over five years it just seemed to be a matter of time before the number one and number two light-heavyweights on the planet would finally collide. In 1994, the German fighter held the WBO light-heavyweight and the WBO cruiserweight titles simultaneously. After electing to stay at light-heavyweight it seemed that the mega-fight with Jones Jr was coming. But in boxing, sometimes a fighter’s pride is too strong.
Ater Michalczewski was stripped of his unified light-heavyweight belts, Jones Jr picked them all up and in the early 2000s the fight would have been at its peak.
But, it was a matter of neither parties wanted to leave their homelands. After Jones was robbed in the 1988 Olympic games, he always made it clear he had no intentions of fighting in Germany again. As for Dariusz, he was happy in his German comfort zone. He was rumoured to be making $2million to see off easy mandatories and even HBO’s offer to double his salary wasn’t tempting enough.
To this day, both men will say that the other was ducking them.
Not many people remember Dariusz Michalczewski. He was a very good fighter. The fight against Jones Jr. would had been very interesting.
— Ulysses Espinoza (@marquezfan) January 24, 2014
Mike Tyson vs George Foreman
Granted, we certainly wouldn’t have seen Big George at his devastating best. But, once upon a time, there was a perfect opportunity to put two of boxing’s biggest punchers in the ring together.
In the late 1980s Foreman had made his return to boxing after a 10-year hiatus. This time around, Mike Tyson was the champion, he was the young and supposedly invincible heavyweight king. Although Foreman saw himself as a realistic challenger, nobody else did and people viewed his return as a bit of a joke.
Gradually, however, Foreman’s comeback started to gather some momentum after he picked up a string of victories against some tough opposition. At the same time, Buster Douglas had caused a huge upset over Tyson and some people began to wonder what if?
As Tyson looked for a big name comeback fight before facing the new champion, Evander Holyfield, Foreman seemed like a possible option. Despite some conversations rumoured to have taken place, Tyson was sent to jail for three years and in that time Foreman went on to become a world champion again before retiring.
Joe Calzaghe vs Carl Froch
Even tho both men have had their gloves hung up for some time now, you can still feel the animosity between the two.
If there ever was a chance for this fight to have happened, that time would have been towards the back end of the first 00s decade. But, the main problem was always the fact that both fighters were on different ends of the career spectrum. For Calzaghe, he was already a household name and was currently fighting other elite level fighters such as Roy Jones Jr and Bernard Hopkins.
As for Froch, he didn’t have the same name value as Calzaghe, Froch was seen as Britain’s future world champion, but Froch made sure to take every opportunity to call out Calzaghe. Along with the career gap, there was a battle of the promoters going on behind the scenes and it made the fight annoyingly even less likely.
Although Froch would reach his potential and win the WBC super-middleweight title in 2008, Calzaghe had already fought his final bout and had retired from boxing. Even to this day, though, the pair always claim that they would have destroyed the other given the chance.
PRIME VS PRIME. JOE CALZAGHE VS CARL FROCH. WHO WINS?
— Boxing Kingdom (@BoxingKingdom14) September 4, 2017
Riddick Bowe vs Lennox Lewis
For both Bowe and Lewis, their story began all the way back in their amateur days. The pair first met in the finals of the 1988 Olympic games, that day Lewis came out on top as he stopped Bowe in the second round.
Their careers then continued to mirror each others in the paid ranks, both men turned professional and quickly made their way to the top of the heavyweight division, it seemed that like the Olympics, Lewis and Bowe were on a collision course.
After Bowe won the unified heavyweight title after beating Evander Holyfield, it seemed that the pair were finally going to meet as professionals. But, Bowe had a different idea, despite Lennox Lewis being his WBC mandatory and a contract between the two being signed, ‘Big Daddy’ decided to literally throw his WBC belt in a bin and with that, the fight never materialised.
Manny Pacquiao vs Edwin Valero
It was a matchup that was dubbed as a potential fight of the decade contender, Pacquiao vs Valero was the ultimate battle of power and speed. The dream was so close to becoming a reality before Valero’s dark demise.
In 2010, Valero had just defeated Antonio DeMarco and the current WBC lightweight champion had moved his record onto 27 fights, 27 wins via knockout, Valero’s name was becoming the one that was constantly linked with Pacquiao’s.
As for Pacquiao, the Filipino fighter had just been named ‘Fighter of the Decade’ for the 2000s and although Pac Man was an odds-on favourite with almost every boxing pundit, fans knew that Valero was a dangerous, unorthodox southpaw who had proven he had TNT in his gloves, fireworks were guaranteed.
But, before the fight could take place, Valero was arrested for the murder of his wife and the following day committed suicide in prison, he was 28 and thought to be in the prime of his career.
FANTASY MATCH: The fight we all wanted to see !
— World Boxing Council (@WBCBoxing) March 1, 2016
Sugar Ray Leonard vs Aaron Pryor
They say in boxing, styles make fights, in Sugar Ray Leonard vs Aaron Pryor we certainly would have had that.
In the history of boxing, few fighters have had the speed and movement that ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard displayed during his iconic career. As for Pryor, there were few fighters who were able to throw as many power punches from all angles of the ring.
In 2014, Pryor was voted as the greatest light-welterweight of the 20th century. The only problem was, all the big name fights were in the 147Ibs division. Rumours began circling about Leonard and Pryor’s legendary sparring sessions and the fight was in high demand.
After Pryor eventually accepted an offer of $750,000 to step up to Welterweight and face off with Leonard, both parties agreed to the bout and it would take place after Leonard faced his mandatory challenger.
But, boxing is a fickle sport, Leonard suffered a detached retina and the fight was scrapped before it had even begun. Although nobody is too sure as to why the fight didn’t take place years before, a lot of fingers are pointed at the great Sugar Ray.
RIP to the only fighter Sugar Ray Leonard ever ducked…… "THE HAWK" Aaron Pryor! #Boxing
— Glasses Malone (@gmalone) October 9, 2016