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8 Dream Sports Match-Ups That Regretfully Never Happened

Anderson Silva vs. Jon Jones. Erik Morales vs. Juan Manuel Marquez. Michael Jordan vs. Hakeem Olajuwon in the NBA Finals. Oh, if only we could turn back time...
by Raul Maningat | Dec 16, 2014
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If the recent spit-fest between Mayweather and Pacquiao turns out to be yet another dud, it'll be incredibly hard to convince ourselves to not pull our hair out. The dream matchup between the world's two boxers hasn't been this loud in years, and we'd be extremely disappointed if it doesn't push through.

So in the case that it falls apart yet again, we'll try to soften the blow right now by reminding ourselves of these eight other big-time, dream sports showdowns that also never saw the light of day. Hopefully, these desensitize us enough before we hear the news that the Pac-Mayweather talks have gone the way of the dodo.

1)   Erik Morales vs. Juan Manuel Marquez                                                                          

WHY WE WANTED IT: At the peak of their powers, an argument can be made for the boxing quartet of Pacquiao, Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, and Juan Manuel Marquez that their faces should be on Boxing’s Mt. Rushmore. These four future Hall of Famers produced 13 scintillating fights against one another.

One permutation didn't make it on stage though: El Terible vs. El Dinamita, a confrontation marked by skill and heart that would've been explosive. They also have another thing in common: at several points in their careers, they fantasized about doing things like these:

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WHY IT DIDN'T HAPPEN: Prior to Marquez's Pacquiao encounters, El Dinamita was nowhere near being a household name, in spite of his skill, and Morales’ handlers thought it wasn’t smart business to face a dangerous guy who lacked mainstream popularity. Juan Manuel was ticked, but wasn't able to do anything about it then. Later on, in his twilight years, it was Morales that sought a date with El Dinamita, who had become the bigger star at that point. Marquez declined, and we could just hear Marquez say, “Karma’s a bitch, aint it?”

2)   Air Jordan vs. The Dream in the NBA Finals

WHY WE WANTED IT: MJ is the G.O.A.T. but his 1984 draft batchmate, Hakeem Olajuwon, wasn't too shabby himself. During MJ’s baseball hiatus, Hakeem swatted shots and dream-shook his way to a DPOY and MVP trophies and two NBA titles. Casual fans at the time believed he would pose a serious threat to the Jordan-led Chicago Bulls. Adding luster to the intruiging match-up is the fact that in all six of the Bulls’ championships, their centers, Bill Cartwright and Luc Longley, never went against a big who moves like Olajuwon.

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WHY IT DIDN'T HAPPEN: MJ struck out in minor league baseball games just as Hakeem's Houston team peaked in '94. When Jordan returned in '95, he wasn't prepared enough to get out of the Eastern Conference, and was bounced by the Orlando Magic in the semis. Hakeem went on to win ring number two. In the succeeding years, his Airness maniacally snatched his second three-peat while Hakeem declined and Houston chipped away its championship roster.

3)   Fedor Emelianenko vs. Brock Lesnar                                           

WHY WE WANTED IT: In 2009, WWE star Brock Lesnar tore up the MMA world by winning the UFC Heavyweight belt, beating up ex-champs Randy Couture and Frank Mir along the way. He was deemed unstoppable. Before Lesnar-conqueror Cain Velasquez busted through the picture, the only man whom the fans wanted to see Brock face was Fedor ”The Last Emperor” Emelianenko—a Russian legend considered a god by some.

WHY IT DIDN'T HAPPEN: UFC's Dana White reportedly reached out to Fedor’s manager, Vadim Finkelstein, numerous times to get a deal done. Finkelstein put up Mayweather-like demands and Emelianenko never set foot in the Octagon. In 2010, Lesnar got crushed into semi-retirement by Velasquez. Fedor retired in 2012 and the closest thing we had to a real-life Godzilla vs. King Kong match-up never happened.

4)   Kobe vs. LeBron in the Finals

WHY WE WANTED IT: In 2009 and 2010, Kobe was the NBA's top dog, winning it all in those years. The guy hot on his heels was LeBron James. Those were the championship years of Kobe’s Los Angeles Lakers while young LeBron captained a formidable Cleveland Cavaliers squad. It could've been Old Magic vs. Young Jordan in the 1991 Finals all over again.

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WHY IT DIDN'T HAPPEN: James wasn’t ready for the big stage then, losing against eventual Eastern Conference champs Orlando and Boston in subsequent years. He was called a choker. Can it still happen? As their teams are built right now, the chances are slim with LeBron's young Cavs and Kobe's repugnant Lakers.

5)   Anderson "The Spider" Silva vs. Jon "Bones" Jones

WHY WE WANTED IT: By 2013, Anderson Silva had already defended his middleweight championship a record 10 times, toying with every challenger who was put in front of him. The only thing left to do was to pit him against another champion who also seemed unbeatable: undefeated light heavyweight king Jon Jones. Jones was terrifying at 205 pounds (as Anderson was at 185 pounds); his victims included five former UFC champions, namely Shogun Rua, Quinton Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, and Vitor Belfort.

Many thought that Silva’s dynamic fighting style was the answer to the immense size and unorthodox techniques of Jones.


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All Anderson needed to do was win his next title-defense against Chris Weidman and the Silva-Jones fight would've been in the works. Weidman though, had other plans. Chris KO'ed Silva in July 2013 and then broke the Spider’s leg in the rematch five months later. Anderson’s gruesome leg injury and his two devastating Weidman losses were more than enough reason for the prospect of a Jon Jones fight to fizzle out faster than Kimbo Slice’s MMA career.

6)   USA vs. Spain in the 2014 FIBA World Cup

WHY WE WANTED IT: Team USA, led by young superstars Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis, Steph Curry and Kenneth Faried, was expected to steamroll through the competition in the 2014 FIBA World Cup. The only country strong enough to put up a fight was Spain, the host country, which featured NBA All-Stars the brothers Gasol, NBA vet Serge Ibaka, and star point guard Ricky Rubio.

WHY IT DIDN'T HAPPEN: In the quarterfinals, Spain ran into an upset-minded French national team, getting Pau Gasol and his compadres to bow out of medal contention. What the fans got instead was a one-sided we-couldn't-care-less finals wherein Team USA pulverized Serbia for a 37-point win.

So yeah, we blame these guys:

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7)   Lennox Lewis vs. Riddick Bowe

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WHY WE WANTED IT: Former heavyweight champions Lennox Lewis and Riddick Bowe first met in the gold medal match of the 1988 Seoul Olympics. It was a drubbing in favor of Lewis as he handed Bowe a humiliating defeat.

Fast forward to 1992, Lewis and Bowe were again at the top of their class, this time in the professional ranks. Riddick had defeated Evander Holyfield to become the undisputed heavyweight champ while Lennox had remained undefeated with a 21-and-0 record.

The World Boxing Council ordered Big Daddy Bowe to defend his WBC crown against the undefeated Lewis, causing every fight fan to prepare for a colossal collision. It would’ve been an electrifying contest as the combatants were both tall, athletic, and skilled big men. Plus, their history in the amateurs makes their title fight as enticing as Roxee B’s sandwich.

WHY IT DIDN'T PUSH THROUGH: One would think that the reigning champ, who showed so much heart against Holyfield and had a score to settle with Lewis, would’ve jumped at the opportunity to exact revenge. But he didn't. Riddick, in an unprecedented cowardice act in the ultimate macho sport, called for a press conference wherein he threw his WBC belt in a trash can as a disgusting display of his refusal to defend against Lewis.

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Bowe trashing his strap turned out to be not just a disgraceful action but a symbol of how different their careers would pan out. In 2003, Lewis ended his professional run as one of the best to ever lace a pair of gloves. Bowe last fought in 2013, at 46, where he got TKO’d in a Muay Thai bout.

8)   Ateneo vs. La Salle in UAAP Basketball's Season 77 Finals

WHY WE WANTED IT: The stage for another chapter in the storied Blue vs. Green rivalry couldn’t have been more perfectly set in the 77th season of the UAAP. The Final Four featured the top-seeded Blue Eagles spearheaded by MVP Kiever Ravena vs. The NU Bulldogs. The other semis bracket had Jeron Teng's high scoring and very popular La Salle squad facing 2nd seed FEU Tamaraws. It would've been a star-loaded matchup.

WHY IT DIDN'T PUSH THROUGH: What the hell happened? The Eagles succumbed to the Bulldog’s stifling D and the Archers’ were just off-target. The top seeded teams not being able to handle their business cost us what could've been the second coming of Pido Jarencio and Allan Caidic's legendary UAAP Finals 1984 duel.

It’s a good thing hilarious Ateneo-LaSalle memes are out there always ready to nurse a disgruntled fan’s feelings. Here’s one example:

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