Looking Forward to a New Year in Boxing
By Jonnyboy: The ever changing landscape of the boxing world has experienced serious movement in the last few months. Closing out the year, we witnessed the changing of the guard in multiple divisions with multiple champions with many new faces stepping into the limelight. With so many established names and newcomers in the mix, there’s an interesting slew of fights to look forward to in the coming year.
The question of whether or not all of these fights can be made remains unanswered, but the possibility still excites us. Here are five (possible) fights that we hope make the cut, but not the only ones that should be made:
GGG (Lineal Champion) vs Canelo (#1) – 160 lbs
With an already supposed agreement in place that allows the two men the opportunity for an interim fight before having to negotiate the possibility of a fight between the two, boxing fans everywhere are debating who will win. Canelo’s vicious knockout of Kirkland and impressive win over Cotto does make the proposition of a GGG bout enticing, especially if he shows even more improvement in his next fight. GGG stamped another good year into the books by beating Murray, Monroe, and Lemieux into submission to extend his string of consecutive knockouts to twenty-one. With these two stars on a collision course, let’s hope that 2016 is the year we get to see this fight.
Sergey Kovalev (#1) vs Andre Ward (unranked) – 175 lbs
There was little movement by either man in 2015, so this matchup would be much needed by both men. Other than a briefly entertaining fight against formidable foe Jean Pascal that ended with an eighth round stoppage, Kovalev had one other fight against unheralded Nadjib Mohammedi that ended in an even quicker third round knockout. The “Krusher” needs another defining win to keep the flame of his career going and strengthen his legacy. Ward is still seen as one of the best fighters in world, and should be seen in such light, but with only two fights in three years it’s hard to continue making a case for a man who’s hanging on by the laurels of his Super Six tournament wins four years ago. It’s time for S.O.G to step up and demonstrate through action why he’s considered a top dog in the fight game, so that he can prove his detractors wrong. There’s also a supposed deal for these two pound for pound titans to eventually meet in the coming year or so.
Keith Thurman (#5) vs Shawn Porter (#6) – 147 lbs
Both Thurman and Porter are part of Uncle Al’s PBC circus that blasted its way, almost forcibly, into the public eye in 2015. The ambition that the PBC has for delivering “free” boxing to the public has provided some exciting moments to the fans, but far in between. Last year gave Thurman and Porter to establish themselves as potential stars and they seized their moments with what was placed in front of them, Thurman with good wins over tough but limited guys in Robert Guerrero and Luis Collazo, and Porter grinded his way to wins over Erick Bone and Adrien Broner that made us applaud his workmanlike resolve. Now, if either one of these men wants to be able to make a legitimate claim to super stardom, they’ll need a meaningful matchup that pits them against a live body (i.e. – each other) to show they’re the real deal.
Terence Crawford (#2) vs Viktor Postol (#1) – 140 lbs
This fight has the potential to be a brilliant or a boring fight, but the fact that these guys have branded their claims for supremacy at 140 pounds in 2015 makes this matchup interesting. The “Ice-Man” Postol had two fights in 2015, one against the dangerous “Machine” Matthysse, who he broke down and eventually stopped in the tenth round in a rough fight. Crawford reminded people why he was the 2014 Fighter of the Year with knockouts win over Thomas Dulorme and Dierry Jean, who were both decent fighters, but not the type that add much to his resume. In order to keep climbing the ladder to significant fights and recognition this is a fight that could potentially lead to bigger and better things for either man.
Roman Gonzalez (Lineal Champion) vs Juan Estrada II (#1) – 112 lbs
These men have already met in the ring once before and it produced a hell of a fight the first time around. Since Gonzalez got that unanimous decision win over Estrada, he’s picked up another title in another division, defended it multiple times, and appeared on HBO to delight of many hardcore boxing fans that have long awaited the coming of the new pound for pound king, “Chocolatito”. Gracious in defeat, Estrada bounced back, won world titles in another weight class, and defended them in dominant fashion multiple times as well. The fact that both guys have advanced to a higher level since their first encounter gives us hope that a second fight would produce even more fireworks (we’d settle for something that matches the intensity of the first fight).
Honorable Mention: Scott Quigg vs Carl Frampton, Vasyl Lomachenko vs Guillermo Rigondeaux, Takashi Uchiyama vs Nicholas Walters, Naoya Inoue vs Carlos Cuadras, Deontay Wilder vs Alexander Povetkin