I write without prior knowledge of what this year has in store for us, who could have forecast 2020? It was a year which nullified the pugilistic arts with fighters left frustrated at the lack of payday opportunities available.
January / February followed suit by mostly being void of action but it is with optimism that we find ourselves in the midst of a vaccine roll out bringing cause for elation for the remainder of year.
I’ve compiled a wish list below of fights that would find themselves on my own personal wish list but doing away with the promotional politics or A/B sides etc, In other words this is a list of fights that could take place should the stars align, so without further ado lets get to it.
Terence Crawford Vs. Errol Spence Jr.
I must sound like a broken record at this point being that this fight is one that has been on my wish list for a few years now. In all honesty I had given up any hope of the fight materialising especially given the severity of the injuries sustained in Errol Spence’s car accident. So with that in mind It was an anxious wait to see if he could return to past glories. I waited with bated breath but after producing a remarkable performance against Danny Garcia it allowed us once more to believe that the aforementioned contest can be made, we now just have the small obstacle of the egos to get over.
Josh Taylor Vs. Jose Ramirez
It was a three way split to crown the king of the division just a few years past, but since that time the landscape has changed with the falling of Regis Prograis who was defeated by Taylor, as it now stands we have two names vying for divisional supremacy. I pick this fight not just because of my belief of it being a great encounter but also due to my love of seeing one name above all else, it must be the old school fight fan in me, this fight gets us to that conclusion.
Tyson Fury Vs. Anthony Joshua
Heavyweights will always garner the excitement needed to fuel the intrigue in us all, especially to the lesser discerning fan who perhaps wouldn’t tune in naturally to watch a fight. But this isn’t just any heavyweight fight, it is the biggest of them all right now, putting it amongst the most anticipated contests of recent times. Both fighters have spoken of their readiness to get the fight over the line in regards to negotiations with Bob Arum claiming that a location has already been reserved, giving a percentage of 95% for the contests completion.
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez Vs. David Benavidez
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez continues to dominate without the usual shackles of weight classes being a hindrance, best example being his convincing victory over Callum Smith who many believed could provide the stiffest of tests to the Mexican’s reign, but it wasn’t to be, instead the Mexican turned the Liverpudlian to stone with Smith amounting to little less than a mannequin for the twelve round distance.
So the question at this very moment is who can actually provide a potent challenge? of course some will mention Gennady Golovkin in their debate, but playing devils advocate I ask, haven’t we already seen enough from the two fights to make an educated guess as to how the third fight would play out?
So that fight aside, there is Caleb Plant / Billy Joe Saunders who I agree both possess intriguing proposition but personally I believe David Benavidez to be the guy to provide what we need to see, an actual challenge to Canelo’s supremacy.
Artur Beterbiev-Dmitry Bivol
The jostle between Light Heavyweights continues to be a power struggle of the Eastern European contingent with Beterbiev and Bivol stood at the forefront of the line. I’ve seen both come through the Russian amateur system so it comes as no surprise to see them laden with titles at this point. Neither was able to compete in 2020 due to the ongoing pandemic so it goes without saying that they will be eager to make up for lost time. Let’s hope that this is one that finds itself to completion this year.
Juan Francisco Estrada Vs. Roman Gonzalez 2
There is unfinished business between these two, Roman Gonzalez was able to sway the judges in their first encounter but there is a lot more water under the bridge this time around. Juan Francisco Estrada has been on the accession since his 2018 loss to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, reversing that loss whilst also adding the scalp of Carlos Cuadras in 2020.
Gonzalez on the other hand has suffered back to back losses to Rungvisai coupled with a couple of less than scintillating performances which somewhat took away the air of invincibility around the Nicaraguan, Solid wins over Moises Fuentes and Khalid Yafai have brought back some of that mystic but it goes without saying that this is a much better contest in the current climate, especially given its time to simmer.
Miguel Berchelt Vs. Oscar Valdez
Tonight (20th Feb 2021) the sky will illuminate with fireworks, excitement steadily built in the hope of seeing another Mexican stand-off as in the ones previously witnessed from the likes of Marco Antonio Barrera / Erik Morales, Israel Vasquez / Rafael Marquez , Jesus “Chucho” Castillo / Ruben “Puas” Olivares and Francisco Vargas vs. Orlando Salido to name but a few.
The train of thought that this could be mentioned in the same breath as the names aforementioned is due to the styles that both men like to employ, a come forward pressure style that garners excitement which is sure to culminate in an early candidate for fight of the year.
Naoya Inoue Vs. Juan Francisco Estrada / Roman Gonzalez / Luis Nery
I’ve been a little greedy in my selection here, even writing this sentence I find myself zoning out whilst allowing myself to daydream of potential suitors for a the Japanese wrecking ball, but given all the options I was unable to pick just one so instead have selected these names that intrigues me most.
Juan Francisco Estrada is scheduled to face Roman Gonzalez in a rerun of their previous encounter from 2018 which has also found itself on my list. These two names have been a mainstay as far as titles are concerned, either would provide a glorious night of action for the fight fan. But at this moment in time I suppose it’s a case of who could actually give Inoue a decent nights work as he continues to mow through opposition with relentless efficiency.
So a third name finds itself in the conversation, Luis Nery who I feel would be the most dangerous of those listed, mainly because like Inoue he can bang but also adds size to the equation. It would provide a nice marketing campaign also in the knowledge that Nery was found guilty of twice cheating Inoue’s countryman Shinsuke Yamanaka, testing positive for PEDs whilst missing weight in their second encounter, so perhaps it could be advertised as Inoue getting revenge for his countryman.
Teofimo Lopez Vs. Gervonta Davis
Coming off a spectacular performance in dethroning Vasyl Lomachenko, Teofimo Lopez now find himself crowned king of one of the most fascinating divisions in boxing. Devin Haney, Ryan Garcia and Gervonta Davis head those calling for a shot at the new king whilst Lomachenko who I personally still feel is the best in the division lurks in the shadow with suggestions of a rematch avoided.
So that being the case, out of the ones vying for divisional supremacy, My pick here would be Davis. He is the one (other than Loma) who I feel would present the biggest threat to the ruling of Lopez.
Sure Haney / Garcia present interesting opposition but even after his knockout win over Luke Campbell I’m still not completely sold on Garcia….Just yet. Haney on the other hand still needs a step up for me to fully make a decision in his position on this particular chess board.
Gennady Golovkin Vs. Jermall Charlo / Jaime Munguia
The last spot on this list is at Middleweight where Gennady Golovkin still holds position as the dominant champion. Just a couple of years ago It seemed inconceivable to see a Middleweight other than Canelo beating the Kazakh but times have changed with old father time creeping in, So I suppose the question lies in where the dangers lurk? Well here are the two names that are most interesting to me for different reasons.
Charlo has been knocking on the door for a shot at Golovkin for a while now with frustration creeping in as talks emerge of his readiness to move north for shot at Plant / Benavidez etc. At the time of writing I believe Charlo to be Golovkin’s most potent challenge. He provided enough in theory with his unanimous decision win over Sergiy Derevyanchenko to show he can handle a pressure fighter, so this is the one I believe, especially at this stage of Golovkin’s career to prove his sternest of tests.
Munguia’s name is added based on fight value, He like Golovkin likes to exert pressure whilst always looking for the knockout shot that no doubt would lead to an explosive outcome. Munguia at one juncture was earmarked to be the next from the conveyor belt of Mexican talent to take the mantle from Canelo, although that conversation has since simmered, a win over Golovkin would certainly bring that pot back to the boil.
These are just ten of a list that could literally spill over pages, having to stop myself from continuing which proved most difficult due to the lack of boxing from the previous year, leaving our hunger at an all time high. In completion of this listing I apologise for missing a number of other candidates, please let me know in the comment section or alternatively via Twitter which are the fights you would like to see made in the year to follow.