My 2017 Wish List
By Gav Duthie: There is an air of expectation for an exciting 2017 as some big fights have already been announced. Two unification bouts have been organised by Eddie Hearn with Anthony Joshua taking on Wladimir Klitschko (WBA, IBF heavyweight) and James DeGale faces Badou Jack (WBC, IBF super middleweight).
A third unification bout will also take place between Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman to be shown on Al Haymon’s PBC. Add this to likely rematches between Carl Frampton v Leo Santa Cruz and Andre Ward v Sergey Kovalev we are off to a great start. To attempt to make 2017 a perfect year here is my boxing wish list for the next 12 months.
Above all else I hope the German former world title challenger Eduard Gutknecht has a full recovery and can live a normal life. He has been in an induced coma since the end of November. The same goes for any other boxer in a similar situation. This is a sport, a great sport but it should never be a matter of life or death.
Ward v Kovalev conclusion
We need a rematch and a satisfactory conclusion for the public and media. I had no problem with the Ward win but many did. He hasn’t received the credit he deserves and is still not fully recognised as #1P4P. A rematch would hopefully sort it either way. Kovalev will go for the knockout and Ward will try to win it more conclusively. It seems to be a more awkward fight to make but it needs to get going because the likes of Artur Beterbiev, Joe Smith Jnr and Adonis Stevenson are all waiting for the big fights also.
Golovkin v Canelo
The smart money says the Gennady Golovkin vs. Saul Canelo Alvarez fight won’t happen this year. If it does it will be in September providing Golovkin gets past Daniel Jacobs and Canelo beats Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr. I feel this might be this generations Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao and we will keep playing the waiting game. Expect to see the pair fight the likes of Chris Eubank Jr., Billy Joe Saunders, the Charlo brothers and anyone else before they face each other.
Haye to fight for a title
After a 3-year hiatus from boxing David Haye’s face was everywhere in 2016 but it was barely in the ring. Two pathetic fights totaling 3 rounds was all we got. He was supposed to fight in December, but the Tony Bellew negotiations meant he passed on that. Fighting Bellew will make him money, but it won’t get him anywhere in the division. He should win that but this year I hope he fights the likes of Joseph Parker, Hughie Fury, Deontay Wilder, Wladimir Klitschko, Anthony Joshua, Kubrat Pulev, Alexander Povetkin or anyone else that makes him meaningful again.
Roman Gonzalez v Naoya Inoue
This is the most anticipated lower weight class fight since the 1998 rematch between Ricardo ‘El Finito’ Lopez and Rosendo Alvarez. Many consider Roman Gonzalez the greatest P4P fighter at 46-0 (38). Naoya Inoue is only 12-0 (10) but has racked up some huge victories already in his career. You would be brave to back against Gonzalez but this is his 4th weight class and Inoue is a big guy for this division with one punch knock out power.
Shannon Briggs sink or swim
#Letsgochamp was one of the highlights of the year in 2016 but in the ring we saw heavyweight Shannon Briggs once against a journeyman. He was promised a fight with Haye but the Brit reneged on his word. Shannon was then due to fight Lucas Browne on December 10th, but the Australian failed his second drug test of the year. The latest news is that the WBA regular title will be contested between Briggs and Fres Oquendo. Briggs is 44 but Oquendo is 42 and hasn’t fought since 2014. The return of Briggs has been fun but we need to see him in a big fight to see if he still has it or not.
Chris Eubank Jr. fight someone meaningful
Where to start with the Eubank Jr. hype machine. He has signed a deal to fight on ITV which will be his 4th network after (Channel 5, Sky and Boxnation). He has been through various channels and promoters and is not even a world champion yet. He is looking to change that with the alphabet IBO title against 12 fight novice Renold Quinlon in his first fight at Super Middleweight. The worst thing is ITV are planning to make this a PPV fight. This is a huge mistake and they should know better. Eubank Jr. is also training himself now which is another error of judgement when it comes to facing top opponents. This year Eubank Jr. needs to fight James DeGale, Golovkin, Saunders 2, George Groves or any other name in the two divisions because he is treading water just now.
Kell Brook v Amir Khan
It finally looks like this fight could happen as Khan suddenly seems receptive to it. The main problem now is bureaucracy regarding the IBF title and Brook’s mandatory challenger Errol Spence Jnr. Khan wants the fight later in the year as he wants a tune up fight due to his hand injury last year. Brook is clearly stalling on the Spence fight as he knows this isn’t a Jo Jo Dan or Kevin Bizier mandatory. However he might just need to beat him to get the Khan fight.
BT TV success
Queensbury promotion supremo Frank Warren has penned a deal for a collaboration between Boxnation and BT sport. It will deliver a huge package of boxing events to compete with Sky Sports. In terms of numbers Warren will be the busiest promoter in the world with 20 live events on BT this year and a further 10 on Boxnation. There will also be a further 30 International events live in collaboration with the likes pf HBO and Showtime with Sky only doing around 16. All this will be available on the BT sports package and should hopefully bring more money and more big fights to the UK in 2017.
Tyson Fury comeback
To be honest, I’ve enjoyed the break from heavyweight Tyson Fury and his nonsensical ramblings but you can’t have a heavyweight division without its #1. Whatever happens with Joshua-Klitschko, Deontay Wilder etc people will always be saying they need to fight Tyson Fury. A true champion is someone like Klitschko who has came back from big losses to keep himself determined and in shape for 10 years to dominate. We need to see Fury in 4/5 huge fights to truly see if he is a great fighter.