There have been a ton of memorable battles atop the squared circle over the years. Countless fighters have stepped between the ropes to put forth epic performances and settle heated debates between fans in boxing gyms all throughout the world. Under the bright lights of the boxing ring, legends were chiseled from stone and have etched their mark in history.
Many great fighters have faced each other, giving fans what they clamored for. The voice of the people is a powerful one, which has oftentimes been the push that fights needed in order to be made. If the fans wanted a particular fight, it happened, usually.
In the sport of boxing, that hasn’t always been the case. Some fights never saw the light of day, even with public demand. They were all supposed to be amazing fights, but for whatever reason, the fights on this list never happened. They now only live our imaginations.
Let’s take a closer look at boxing’s could-have-beens. Today, Evolve Daily shares five boxing matches fans wish would have happened but never did.
1) Mayweather vs Margarito
Before he got busted for having loaded hand wraps, former Mexican boxing champion Antonio Margarito was one of the most feared welterweights in the world. His size and strength, paired with incredible toughness, proved too much for a plethora of highly-regarded opponents. Many fans often referred to him as the most-avoided man in boxing.
At the same time, Floyd Mayweather Jr. was just beginning to establish himself as the best in the sport. Mayweather and Margarito were within the same weight range. Naturally, fans wondered how “Money” would fare against “The Tijuana Tornado.”
Unfortunately, the risk-to-reward ratio offered a price far too steep for which Mayweather was willing to pay, so he instead opted to bypass any talks of facing Margarito in the ring. Mayweather instead went on to face guys like Arturo Gatti, Carlos Baldomir, and Oscar De La Hoya, which were relatively low risk but put more money on the table.
Not long after, Margarito was caught with plaster in his gloves, and was crucified by public opinion and branded as a cheater. Shane Mosley finished off what was left of Margarito in 2009, and he was never the same since.
2) Juan Manuel Marquez vs Erik Morales
A trio of Mexican boxing greats who fought in the same era, also known as the Mexican trifecta, included Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, and Juan Manuel Marquez. But while Barrera and Morales shared three memorable ring wars, Marquez never faced Morales in the ring, despite hardcore fans long clamoring for a showdown between “El Dinamita” and “El Terible.”
Marquez was a counterpunching maestro, meticulous and calculated with every combination. Morales, on the other hand, was a come-forward freight train who was the epitome of a Mexican warrior. Their fiery exchanges at the center of the ring would have been nothing short of epic.
The two have thrown verbal jabs at each other their entire careers, and continue to do so to this day. They are both retired now, and will no doubt be first-ballot Hall-of-Famers when it’s all said and done. Sadly, the stars never aligned for them to settle their differences in the ring.
It would have been an incredible matchup, to say the least. Their styles were distinct, and both crowd-pleasing. The lead up would have been absolutely insane.
3) Manny Pacquiao vs Edwin Valero
The entire world played witness to the fast and famous rise of Filipino superstar, Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao across eight of boxing’s weight divisions.
Pacquiao was knocking guys out left and right, and was a menace at featherweight and super featherweight early in his career. After explosive performances against the Mexican Trifecta, there wasn’t anybody on Earth who had not heard of him. But before Pacquiao made his ascent to lightweight and beyond, there was one man who was also gaining a bit of notoriety.
Venezuelan firecracker Edwin “El Inca” Valero was a madman in the literal and figurative sense. In the ring, he was undefeated and unchallenged. Everyone he stepped onto the battlefield with fell abruptly and decisively. No opponent ever made it to the final bell. Outside of the ring, his personal life was marred in controversy.
Fans were starting to pick up and began demanding for Pacquiao to face Valero. Valero went to great lengths to sell the big money fight, even visiting Pacquiao in the Philippines on his birthday, asking for the match.
Before the fight could come to fruition, however, Valero’s life met a tragic end. Valero committed suicide in his Venezuelan prison cell, a day after he was caught by police and admitted that he stabbed his wife to death in a hotel in Valencia. He finished his career with 27 victories and no losses, with all 27 wins by knockout.
4) Mike Tyson vs David Tua
This fight is here for its potential to deliver fireworks of epic proportions, if only by the sheer magnitude of explosive material each man brought to the ring in their primes. A fistic affair between The Baddest Man on the Planet, “Iron” Mike Tyson, and “The Tuamanator” David Tua would have been a never-ending thrill ride.
Although it never really seemed like it, many hardcore fans know Tyson was a defensive genius in his younger days, often showcasing uncanny head movement, lightning-quick reflexes, and power-laced speed. But after his release from prison in 1995, he was never the same fighter. The new Tyson was reckless and would have gone toe-to-toe with anyone, including the much larger Tua.
If the fight would have happened, Tyson and Tua would have thrown down in a slugfest for the ages. Both men would throw bombs and wait to see who would fall first. It’s the kind of fight boxing fans now only dream of.
Skill-wise, Tyson had the edge. Tua was just an animal in the ring, with no other purpose than to lay waste to his foes. Tyson would have had to rely on his superior ring intelligence to get the victory.
5) Sugar Ray Leonard vs Aaron Pryor
During his peak, the legendary Aaron Pryor was one of the most exciting fighters in the sport. “The Hawk” was a force to be reckoned with, and just about blasted every man who ever stood across from him inside the ring.
At the same time, fellow legend “Sugar” Ray Leonard was beginning to establish himself as one of the all-time greats after defeating Roberto Duran in 1980, and then putting together an epic come-from-behind knockout of Tommy “Hitman” Hearns in 1981.
Though Pryor was a junior welterweight, and Leonard a full welterweight, they both could have easily met at a catchweight to give fans a spectacular show. The two were on a collision course, and the fight seemed inevitable. Alas, it never materialized.
Leonard was far too inactive to come to terms with fighting Pryor, and it just never happened, despite the demand. It would have been one of the most important fights in boxing history.
Leonard was the more skilled fighter, and would have a sizable advantage in reach with the perfect style to make use of it. Pryor was a workhorse who would have made Leonard work every minute of every round. Who would have won? It’s a debate fans love to discuss even today.
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