See Golovkin, Crawford, Pacquiao, Bradley, Kovalev and more in the best fights HBO aired this year.
SAN DIEGO – December 26, 2014 – Most other TV networks have Rudolph or Charlie Brown. HBO? It’s got PacMan, Dr. Steelhammer, and Triple G. Because what says ho ho ho more than a good KO?
In what has become its holiday programming tradition, HBO will replay the best boxing aired on its network in 2014 for fight fans to enjoy again, or perhaps for the first time. From Saturday, December 27 through Tuesday, December 30, HBO will air its top bouts.
While there wasn’t a deep well of fights this year, HBO’s producers have done a good job selecting its featured contests. Holiday songs are lovely and all that, but fight freaks want Santa to bring the action.
December 27: Golovkin vs. Geale and Rubio; Pacquiao vs. Bradley 2
Fans were happy to see Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin back in the ring in July after being absent due to the death of his father. Australian Daniel Geale looked like a real challenger for the middleweight knockout machine. Sadly, it wasn’t so. After eating a decent punch to the face, Golovkin stopped Geale in the third round with a knockout counterpunch. Following the fight, Geale said Golovkin was the hardest puncher he had ever faced.
After the bout, Golovkin told HBO’s Max Kellerman he wants to unify the middleweight division. “Hey you guys, you need an amazing show. I’m here, just call me,” said Golovkin, adding he fights “like Mexican style. This is not a game, this is a fight. I love to fight.”
His comment was designed to draw out Miguel Cotto and his Boricua army of fans, and get the Mexican fans on Golovkin’s side. Instead, Golovkin got back in the ring with the only guy willing to give it a shot, Mexican veteran Marco Antonio Rubio. The fight was billed as “Mexican Style,” and it gets our Promotion of the Year award. The Stub Hub Center in Carson, California was packed beyond capacity in October, with the majority of Mexican and Mexican-American fans in attendance supporting Triple G. They have completely embraced the Kazakh native, and he didn’t disappoint them.
Until and unless Triple G gets an opponent worthy of him in 2015, enjoy watching the man considered by many to be the best pound for pound boxer today.
The third fight on the bill is the rematch between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley Jr. Bradley won a disputed split decision in their first meeting in 2012, and took heat from fans for it. Pacquiao left no doubt after the second fight, taking Bradley apart and scoring a unanimous decision. This fight put him on the path back toward the dream fight fans hope to see in 2015, Pacquiao versus Floyd Mayweather.
December 28: Kovalev vs. Hopkins
The light heavyweight division in boxing has enjoyed a revitalization with Adonis Stevenson, Jean Pascal, and Sergey Kovalev. Fans hoped to see 2013 Fighter of the Year Stevenson take on rising Russian star Kovalev. It wasn’t to be; instead, the ageless “Alien” Bernard Hopkins told promoter Golden Boy to make it happen. Could the 49-year-old Hopkins stand up to the man nicknamed “Krusher”? It’s riveting watching him try. Kovalev revealed himself to be a far more multi-dimensional boxer than most people thought. Now it’s time for Stevenson vs. Kovalev to get on the calendar.
December 29: Cotto vs. Martinez; Crawford vs. Gamboa
Puerto Rican star Miguel Cotto hoped his bout against Argentinean middleweight champion and popular favorite Sergio Martinez would help him rebuild his career. It succeeded beyond his wildest dreams as he demolished Martinez, setting up a possible super fight on Cinco de Mayo weekend against Mexican star Canelo Alvarez. The second fight in this doubleheader is HBO’s “Fight of the Year” as lightweight Terence Crawford of Omaha took on Cuban Yuriorkis Gamboa in front of a hometown crowd. It was a thrilling fight and won both boxers tremendous respect for their courageous effort.
December 30: Marquez vs. Alvarado; Klitschko vs. Pulev
There aren’t many tougher guys in the ring than Mexican champion Juan Manuel Marquez, one of the best boxers his nation has ever produced; and Denver’s Mike Alvarado, willing to fight until he has nothing left. Prepare to watch a war. By contrast, heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko mows down another opponent in his November bout against Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev. For once the fight lived up to the theatrical European style ringwalk. Although Klitschko won decisively, scoring four knockdowns enroute to a fifth round knockout victory, Pulev proved he has plenty of skills, power, a tough chin and the determination to go with it.
The most surprising thing about the fight was that all four knockdowns including the final knockout came from left hooks. Klitschko’s devoted fans at the O2 Arena in Hamburg, Germany roared their approval. Klitschko is a superstar in Europe. But they also showed respect to Pulev for his efforts.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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