With no fights currently taking place, and we don't need to explain why, we've decided to begin a new series looking at fights that could have been. These are match ups that may, or may not, have been mooted but are fights that could have happened. Not only do we intend to look at who the men involved were, but when the bout could have been made, why we would have liked it, how we feel the bout played out and how history played out instead.
Katsunari Takayama Vs Akira Yaegashi
Whilst there are other more logical fights to begin this series with we're being a touch self indulgent and picking a fight we wanted more than any other at one point, and one that would have delivered incredible action. In fact if we could suggest any fight would have been a memorable fight of the year candidate it would have been a clash between Katsunari Takayama and Akira Yaegashi.
Unlike many fights that we could cover going forward for this series the window for this potential bout is a pretty big one. Yaegashi had his first world title bout way back in June 2007, losing to Den Junlaphan, by that point in time Takayama had already won the WBC Minimumweight title and the WBA interim title. So lets speculate this bout could be staged any time from 2007 to 2012, when Yaegashi moved up to Flyweight.
We know that in reality Takayama handed back his JBC license to chase the IBF title around the globe after losing to Roman Gonzalez, but even considering that in mind it would give us a cut off of 2010, still a pretty big window for the fight.
At the time period we're looking at Katsunari Takayama, the Lightning Kid, was still very much a secret outside of Japan. He had been in some entertaining bouts, was a former world and interim world champion and was someone who had turned pro young and learned on the job. Although not a destructive beast, like Roman Gonzalez, he was a tough, energetic fighter who always threw a lot of leather, and was willing to take one to land one. Later in his career he became well remembered for his incredible unification bout with Francisco Rodriguez Jr, but even before that he had been in a number of incredible bouts and was very much boxing's answer to the energiser bunny. He could box and move, but almost always got dragged into a war.
Akira Yaegashi was very, very similar to Takayama. Like Takayama we knew Yaegashi could box, he liked to move and use his feet, but he could quickly be dragged into a war and it rarely took much to make Yaegashi fight fire with fire. During the window this fight could have taken place Yaegashi hadn't quite proven he was world class, coming up short against Den Junlaphan, but was banging on the door and he had won the OPBF and Japanese titles. He had proven his ability as an amateur, had adapted to the professional ranks and, with Koji Matsumoto and Hideyuki Ohashi in his corner, had two very smart boxing men helping him get ready to become a star.
How would we see it playing out?
We see this starting with both men boxing, keeping their form and moving early on. Although both were often dragged into wars they could both box, something that many fans forget. During the time window we're looking at the two guys still had very sprightly legs, could go 12 rounds with no issues and both were in their 20's.
After the boxing and moving early on, we suspect the pace will begin to rise, the man who feels like they are behind after a few rounds will then pick up the pace. When they do that we'll see a war begin to brew. Both men turning from boxers to fighters, and for the final 4 rounds the intensity will become something scary, with both standing and trading in some thrilling, rock em sock em style action.
Picking a winner would be almost impossible, though it would have been amazing to watch this one and we would have gotten something very, very exciting!
Would history of been changed?
Depending on when this took place, within the window, there are some interesting changes to history. Had it taken place before Yaegashi fought Kazuto Ioka, there's a chance that we wouldn't have gotten that bout, there's also a chance that Yaegashi wouldn't have moved up and beaten Toshiyuki Igarashi and we have missed out on Yaegashi Vs Gonzalez as well.
It is worth noting those 3 bouts took a lot out of Yaegashi, and his career, although different, may have ended up better for him, and for us as fans.
On the other hand Takayama may have ended up giving up in his pursuit of the IBF title, and his desire to become a Grandslam champion had he taken a title from Yaegashi. Had that happened we may still be looking at the JBC only recognising the WBA and WBC. We would almost certainly have not got Takayama's bouts against Mario Rodriguez, Francisco Rodriguez Jr and Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr.
On the balance of probability we missed out on a great bout, but we probably ended up with a history that was better for it. We would have loved to have seen this, but thinking about what we might have missed had these two fought, and how history could have diverged, we'll happily accept we got more than our share of great bouts from these two.
This is just an opinion, maaaan! It's easy to share our opinions, and that's what you'll find here, some random opinion pieces