- I fancy him to beat Kessler and Stevenson. Bute too but he's probably going the WBC fight so the rematch may be off. If he fights Ward again though, he's titleless. That said, I don't think that fight happens this year. Ward is out 'til October injured and I think Carl will likely be fighting Kessler/Stevenson then instead, with Ward not ready and needing a tune-up also. I think he'll still be a champion at the end of the year, be it IBF or WBA regular. VERDICT: Still champion.
- Should beat Mundine in a rematch now, and you'd fancy him to outpoint Sturm probably again. With those two fights, I doubt he ends up taking on GGG - who he ducked to fight Mundine again - or Martinez - who has other fights on the horizon. I think he'll fight Mundine, Sturm again and maybe a no-hoper time to keep busy, so I suspect he'll still be a champion by the end of the year. VERDICT: Still champion.
- Definitely has the proven quality now to be a champion by the end of the year, question is whether he takes on Canelo. If it happens it's May 4th and there's no way he's winning that one as it'll mess up Canelo-Mayweather plans, which is too big financially not to happen. However, he could potentially lose May 4th and get another title fight later in the year straight away. Unlikely though, and I don't see him losing to anybody else so this is entirely dependent on whether I think the Canelo fight happens. At this point, I'm hopeful. It makes too much sense. So therefore, I think Trout loses his belt this year. VERDICT: Loses his belt.
- He'll play it safe, avoid Broner, not take on any of the other champions (Vazquez or Abril) and seeing as 135 is a baron division, take on a few B- level contenders and keep his belt. VERDICT: Still champion.
- Don't think he makes sense for Santa Cruz or Moreno really, who are the only guys who trouble him at this weight, so he isn't involved in a fight against either. Legitimate world-class champion and a beltholder still at the end of the year. VERDICT: Still champion.
- A tough one. I think the biggest challenge he'll face this year is arguably Pascal again, so it all hinges on that fight. Can he beat him a rematch? Potentially yes, he fought the wrong fight first time round and I think Pascal has slipped a little with the B-Hop defeats and now he's injured again. However, Ward did a real job on Dawson who mentally may be wrecked. That's the biggest worry. That said, Pascal won the first fight on physical tools which I think will be a little diminshed. He hasn't impressed for a while and I think Dawson will fight a different fight and come out victorious. Still the man at 175lbs by the end of the year. VERDICT: Still champion.
- Very beatable and probably the worst champion (toss-up with Huck) but the fact he's taking on Mormeck now and the way his title reign has been handled tells me one thing, he'll duck all and every challenge. I don't think Chakhkiev's shot will be enforced this year, so I expect him to just about escape the year as champ before getting KO'd by Chakh in 2014. VERDICT: Still champion.
- Beatable because of his inconsistencies but has a lot of qualities, is a genuine legit champ and is improving. I'd pick him to probably beat anybody at 135 not named Broner (cue dftaylor). HOWEVER, like the author, I really think there's a possibility that fight comes off, he loses, and therefore ends 2013 without a belt. He'll come again in 2014 though, definitely. Too good in a barron division to be without a belt for long. VERDICT: Loses his belt.
- Tough one, because I think the way his career has been handled, he'll always be in tough fights. His recent opp is matched maybe only by Froch. I however don't expect him to get the Donaire fight though due to the continuing GB-TR fued which doesn't look like ending anytime soon. So that also rules out Rigo, and there's nobody else at 122 who can beat him bar maybe Santa Cruz if he moves up. I don't see that fight happening next year, maybe 2014 instead, so Mares is still a titlist come 12 months time. VERDICT: Still champion.
- I think he'll probably be a belt-holder still, primarily because I don't think anyone at 112 can beat him aside from Gonzalez who I think he's kept away from. VERDICT: Still champion.
So interestingly, I have 4 of 5 in each section still being titlists at the end of the year, which means I agree with 4 choices in the first section but then disagree with 4 in the next. Mainly as a result of certain fights (Wlod-Chakhkiev, Mares-Donaire, Viloria-Gonzalez) not being made.
5 guys I think WILL lose
their belts next year:
- Tavoris Cloud - very beatable, and has a tough fight against Hopkins next. I think he loses that, and fails to regain a belt by the end of the year.
- Paulie Malignaggi - EVERYBODY and their mum's finna get a match-up with Paulie for his belt. Too many good contenders at 147 for him to keep it til year's end.
- Lamont Peterson - Very beatable, maybe a low payday unless it's in D.C, depends who the opponent is, but surely somebody in the 140 division fancies taking that belt off him?
- Roman Martinez - I think Burgos beats him, so that's that. If he doesn't, somebody else will.
- Orlando Salido - Another perhaps safe one (although on the other hand, not safe at all) because he has a fight scheduled I think he loses, to Mikey Garcia.