The potential, epic match between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao will hopefully happen in 2013, but much of it likely depends on whether Pac-Man can best rival Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday night.
That said, there are plenty of intriguing prospects to place on the undercard involving the projected winners leading up to the Pacquiao-Marquez bout.
These three fights would generate a substantial amount of interest and do plenty to supplement onlookers until the mind-blowing encounter between Pretty Boy Floyd and the Congressman finally occurs.
Featherweight: Javier Fortuna (20-0, 15 KOs) vs. Orlando Salido (39-11-2, 27 KOs)
Assuming that Fortuna gets by what should be a relatively easy test on the Pacquiao-Marquez undercard on Saturday night, the talented 23-year-old could be in line for another bout for a championship belt.
Salido would be 10 years his opponent's senior, but he has proven in his past five fights that his best days in the ring aren't behind him. That has included two impressive victories over Juan Manuel Lopez, the former WBO super bantamweight champion, as well as a 12-round bout with Marquez.
Considering the relative lack of marquee opponents, Fortuna could learn a lot from a showdown with Salido under the global spotlight once again.
A victory here would notch Fortuna the WBO featherweight title and set him up for a prosperous career more immediately filled with higher quality opposition.
Super Featherweight: Yuriorkis Gamboa (21-0, 16 KOs) vs. Takashi Uchiyama (18-0-1, 15 KOs)
Considered one of the most complete fighters in the sport, Gamboa has a chance to showcase his talents in Pacquiao-Marquez IV against Michael Farenas, who just fought Uchiyama in his last fight.
Due to an accidental headbutt in the third round, Uchiyama's fight with Farenas was called a draw on a technical decision. But otherwise, the 33-year-old Japanese boxer has had an unblemished record.
The WBA junior lightweight championship will be on the line for Gamboa against Farenas, and his highly anticipated return to the ring after nearly a year should be quite a spectacle. Should he win, it would set up a logical showdown with the upstart Uchiyama.
According to Yahoo! contributor Jake Emen, Uchiyama is the best boxer in the world that is totally going under the radar. Promoting him to the big stage sounds justified considering he's successfully defended the WBA super featherweight title five times.
This would be a tactical display pitting Gamboa's world-class skills against the methodical approach of Uchiyama, likely resulting in a 12-round slugfest for everyone to enjoy.
Lightweight: Mercito Gesta (26-0-1, 14 KOs) vs. Adrien Broner (25-0, 21 KOs)
Talk about a step up in competition for "No Mercy" Gesta, who would be facing one of the best lightweight fighters in the world. It would be a natural next step for the young Filipino fighter, and Broner would have a chance to take on a fellow young gun to defend his WBC lightweight title.
After the undefeated Broner captured his championship belt over Anthony DeMarco, opposing promoter Gary Shaw had some very strong words about the 23-year-old (h/t ESPN):
I think he can be the next Floyd. He's fast, he has the moves, he has great defense. Obviously, he has punching power. He hurt DeMarco a few times, cut him up. I think Broner is the total package.
Interesting, because as raw as the southpaw, Gesta, is, he is still being given a chance by ESPN expert Bruce Campbell to take down Miguel Vazquez for the IBF world lightweight title.
If he does, it would set up a mighty intriguing matchup between two of the most exciting young boxers of today.
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