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Summer of blockbusters

Now that we've put Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather to bed bad news: it didn't save boxing; good news: it appears Nathan Petrelli will save the world, it's time to look ahead to the long, hot summer. Judging by these matchups, it could be hot, indeed:

By JOHN COTEY
Published May 16, 2007


Now that we've put Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather to bed bad news: it didn't save boxing; good news: it appears Nathan Petrelli will save the world, it's time to look ahead to the long, hot summer. Judging by these matchups, it could be hot, indeed:

Jermain Taylor (26-0-1, 17 KOs) vs. Cory Spinks (36-3, 11 KOs) When: Saturday

 

Miguel Cotto (29-0, 24 KOs) vs. Zab Judah (34-4, 25 KOs) When: June 9

How we rate it

Why we love it Why we hate it Why we'll watch it What we think will happen
6.5 Considering Taylor's disputed decisions over Bernard Hopkins, his gift draw against Winky Wright and shaky performance against Kassim Ouma in December, we're not ready to rule out a Spinks upset (though we're really close). The fight is in Memphis, though, and we know how that goes, don't we? Come on, Jermain, stop beating up junior middleweights already. Okay, the kid deserved a fight off after taking on Hopkins and Wright in three straight fights. Two fights off? Well ... okay, if you insist. But Taylor's next fight should be the most interesting one of his career. Right? Taylor hasn't had a knockout since 2005. He'll struggle early to find Spinks, but once he does, it's lights out. If Zab Judah can knock out Spinks in nine, Taylor should do it by Round 5.

 

Ricky Hatton (42-0, 30 KOs) vs. Jose Luis Castillo (55-7, 47 KOs) When: June 23

How we rate it

Why we love it Why we hate it Why we'll watch it What we think will happen
8 Cotto, 26, is one of the hottest young stars in the game and some say a threat to Floyd Mayweather if the Pretty One comes out of "retirement." We wouldn't go that far, but the kid can punch. So, how many boxing lives does Judah, below, have? Judah, though, is just the kind of fighter that gives young studs such as Cotto a problem. He's lightning fast and a solid boxer with just enough pop to make him dangerous (see Malignaggi, Paul). Oh, what the heck, let's go with the upset here. Provided Judah, who is maddeningly inconsistent, is on his game and shows some heart (see Malignaggi, again), he ekes out a split decision.

 

Wladimir Klitschko (48-3, 40 KOs) vs. Lamon Brewster (33-3, 29 KOs) When: July 7

How we rate it

Why we love it Why we hate it Why we'll watch it What we think will happen
8.5 After beating Kostya Tszyu in an epic bout back in 2005, England's Hatton, right, came stateside to great acclaim and hasn't impressed. This is his toughest test. Deep down, we think Castillo is shot. Unless, you know, you believe a split decision over some dude named Herman Ngoudjo his last time out proved otherwise. Much potential for a high-action fight, should both fighters revert to peak form. They call Hatton "Hitman." We think it's more like One-Hit Man. We'll forgive the slow start in the States with a win here, which Hatton should pull off via 11th-round TKO.

 

Antonio Margarito (34-4, 24 KOs) vs. Paul Williams (32-0, 24 KOs) When: July 14

How we rate it

Why we love it Why we hate it Why we'll watch it What we think will happen
9 How about Brewster saving the heavyweight division? He's a great action fighter, and the guy doesn't put on a bad show (see KO over Klitschko, KO of Andrew Golota, come-from-behind KO of Luan Krasniqui, KO loss to Sergei Lyakhovich). We don't. We love it! Someone is getting knocked out. Brewster, returning from an eye injury, took out Klitschko in 2004. But before he did, he was getting hammered. That style might not cut it against the improved champion, who has been finishing what he starts ever since. Klitschko needs eight rounds to put away Brewster (though we'll be pulling for the underdog in this one).

 

Bernard Hopkins (47-4-1, 32 KOs) vs. Winky Wright (51-3-1, 25 KOs) When: July 21

How we rate it

Why we love it Why we hate it Why we'll watch it What we think will happen
8 Anything at 140 or 147 is pretty good these days. This one is for the real fight fans as Williams and Margarito are unknowns to the general public. But it has all the makings of a great fight. Williams, 25, is a rising star in the 147-pound class, and his 82-inch reach and the sharp jab on the end of it is a superb weapon that is ready for a step up in class. Sneaking suspicion Margarito is overrated. Is Williams the future? Margarito-Cotto is all but planned for the fall, and that would be a dandy. Too bad it won't be as good after Williams takes a unanimous decision.

John C. Cotey can be reached at (727) 869-6261 or johncotey@gmail.com.

How we rate it

Why we love it Why we hate it Why we'll watch it What we think will happen
7 We find the fear of this one being a snoozer a bit overdone. Sure, both fighters are tactical defensive masters, but Wright, above, will take the fight to Hopkins. And when was the last time that happened? It's pay-per-view, and we don't like when boxers "invent" weight classes. But at least Ring Magazine says Hopkins' light heavyweight title will be on the line. How often do you get to see two future Hall-of-Famers tangle? Well, except for two weeks ago, we mean. We like the winner by close, hotly contested and universally disputed unanimous decision. That vague enough? More important, though, is this: The only way our complete faith can be restored in boxing is if there is already a deal in place for the winner to meet Joe Calzaghe in the fall.