The Next World Boxing Super Series: Part 3
By Danni Rocket: This last chapter in my recent trilogy of articles is all about dreams and speculation. Part 1 was about the Bantamweights and their confirmed WBSS tournament. Several fighters had already been announced and the tourney has been officially given the go ahead, with the top four seeded fighters looking to take their pick of the unranked underdogs at some point in the coming months. In Part 2, we explored the opportunities available to the leaked first six fighters of the eight-man Light Welterweight tournament, which looks to be announced very shortly. In Part 3 I’d like to muse on the potential third weight class.
First things first, I will disregard the following weight classes that we would all love to see: Heavyweight, Middleweight, Welterweight, Lightweight, Super Flyweight. The reason for the first three weight classes (Heavyweight, Middleweight and Welterweight) being rejected in my opinion, is money. The WBSS has a combined purse of $50 million. That is over seven fights and thus giving a purse for each fight (if split evenly) of just over $7 million. Plenty, right?
Wrong. To put into perspective how much it would cost to put each of these divisions into this tournament form, we need only to look at how much the top fighters in each class are earning per fight. Anthony Joshua has just been offered a guaranteed $50 million for ONE fight against Deontay Wilder. Saul Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin will each be looking at earning $20+ million for their inevitable rematch in September. And the Welterweight division is packed with names that can demand large sums due to their name association with the casual fans.
Both Lightweight and Super Flyweight I see as pointless, as they have effectively already got tournaments ongoing. At Lightweight, WBC Champion Mikey Garcia is scheduled to fight IBF Champion Robert Easter Jr on July 28th, and recently crowned WBA and Ring Magazine King Vasyl Lomachenko is looking to be facing Ray Beltran in the Fall. And the ongoing SuperFly Series is already a huge success, both commercially and by giving the fans some of the best fights of the last two years, and I don’t see that mix being handed over to a promotional rival.
For me, that leaves us with three options, and in my opinion, only one viable one. These are Light Heavyweight, another outing at Cruiserweight and Light Middleweight.
On paper, Light Heavyweight looks like it would be a superb tournament. Names like Adonis Stevenson, Sergey Kovalev, Badou Jack, Eledier Alvarez, Dmitry Bivol, and the list goes on and on. The WBSS could easily contain 12 fighters or more, and still be of a high standard. I see this as an unlikely choice however, as already we have fights planned in which would pit many of these fighters against each other before the tourney starts. In the coming weeks and months, we have Stevenson vs. Jack and Kovalev vs Alvarez. Also, the promotional disputes which has plagued this division for years would certainly play a part in the best not fighting the best.
How about Cruiserweight again then? Might initially seem pointless, but Oleksandr Usyk has already said he plans on moving up to heavyweight if he were to win the final against Murat Gassiev, and he is the favorite to come out of their upcoming fight with the W. Also, we have the ongoing discussions with Tony Bellew’s Promoter Eddie Hearn and Andre Ward for a potential fight at Cruiserweight. Plus, the fact that Dennis Lebedev didn’t compete last time, and adding these fighters into the mix would making for another interesting and exciting Super Series. This does rely on many factors however, including Andre Ward agreeing to a comeback in time, Tony Bellew dropping back down to Cruiserweight, and the winner of the ongoing competition vacating his belts and moving up. Also, I don’t think there is going to be time for in to be made, due to the delay of the final thanks to injuries and venue disputes.
This leaves us with Light Middleweight then. This could make for an incredible, highly skilled, and exciting tournament. I do not think Kell Brook would enter, as I feel he is planning an end of year fight with fellow Brit Amir Khan, but other than this all the top players would surely be game. Think about this line up: WBA “Super” and IBF Champion Jarrett Hurd, WBC Champ Jermell Charlo, the very impressive new WBO belt holder Jaime Munguia, WBA “Regular” Champion Brian Castano, Cuban boxing master Erislandy Lara, IBF and WBC #1 ranked contender Julian Williams, WBO #1 and Munguia’s mandatory Liam Smith, and up and coming powerhouse Carlos Adames. That is a mouth-watering fantasy line up, but even more so when one considers it is a very real possibility. Hurd and Lara recently fought an incredibly close and unexpected FOTY candidate, and the rematch has been much discussed. Charlo has openly spoke about facing the winner, as have Castano and Williams, and the WBO has already said that Munguia must face Liam Smith next. I personally feel this is the division with the highest quality, and the best chance of being made, and for one, I would love to see the WBSS 154lbs tournament later this year.
What do you think? Are there any other divisions you would like to see in a WBSS? And who do you think would emerge victorious in my dream 154lbs tourney? Thank you for sticking with me through the last three articles, and as always, I look forward to reading your comments.