2017 was nothing short of spectacular for boxing. There was an abundance of great fight, but of these great fights, there were a few that stood out and will be remembered for years to come. The most notable of these fights include Ward-Kovlaev II, Gonzalez-Rungvisai I & II, Lomachenko-Rigondeaux, Canelo-GGG and Klitschko-Joshua.
These fights all had major implications on the sport of boxing and will be talked about for years to come.
Additionally, the Mayweather-McGregor spectacle must be mentioned because of the enormous buzz it generated, and the amount of PPV buys it was responsible for, but it had no impact on the sport of boxing and will be remembered as nothing more than an exhibition to boxing fans.
There were many more fights that were quite a joy to watch, an entire article could be devoted to talking just about this past year, but this article will focus on the future.
Boxing has a terrible habit of letting big fights ‘marinate’, which means making the fans wait longer than they would like in order to create more hype for the fight.
However, after the phenomenal 2017, boxing should instead carry it’s momentum into 2018 and make the fights the fans want to see. Without further ado, here is my wish list of the fights I want to see in 2018.
1) Canelo-GGG II
Their first fight was an instant classic, but left a bad taste in the mouths of many fans. After starting strong, Canelo began to fade during the mid rounds as GGG took over.
The last few rounds, however, Canelo stormed back and showed enormous heart. His comeback was a little too late in the eyes of many, as most agree that GGG won a close decision. However, in the eyes of the judges, the fight was a draw, setting up the demand for a rematch.
The rematch is very interesting, because both fighters were able to take the best punch of their opponent, something that most fighters can not say.
Additionally, there were reports that Canelo injured his right hand in camp, something that would have obviously played a major factor if the reports were true. Another area of intrigue is the fact that GGG is not getting any younger, and father time seems to be slowly creeping up on him.
Dating back to the Brook fight, GGG has been getting hit more and two fights in a row now (Jacobs and Canelo) he has failed to knock his opponent out. Was Canelo’s hand actually hurt? Will GGG be able to fend off father time?
These are the questions that make the rematch must see TV, and we will hopefully find the answers out May 5th. As for what to expect in the rematch, expect both guys to pick up right where they left off from the first fight. If you are reading this and have no seen their first fight, do yourself a favor and go watch it, you will not be disappointed.
The heavyweight division was absolutely dominated by the Klitschko brothers for over a decade. However, their reign has finally come to an end.
After the best heavyweight fight in well over a decade, Anthony Joshua stopped Wladimir Klitschko in front of 90,000 fans at a sold out Wembley Stadium.
The fight was historic in the fact that it was a passing of the torch, the official end of the Klitschko reign and the potential beginning of the Joshua reign.
Joshua, who won gold at the 2012 Olympics, is now a unified champion as a professional. He is now 20-0 with all 20 wins coming by KO, but before he can be recognized as the true king of the division, he must defeat Deontay Wilder.
Wilder has an Olympic medal as well, bronze at the 2008 Olympics, and boasts quite an impressive professional record of 39-0 with 38 KO’s and is the WBC champion.
Critics of Wilder criticize him on his relatively weak level of opposition, but the fact of the matter is that his power is truly devastating, and all he would need is one punch to end the fight with Joshua.
Joshua’s defense is not spectacular either, he was dropped by Klitschko and has been hit more than an ideal amount in other fights (most recently against Takam).
Wilder is trying to revive a fight with Luis Ortiz in March, and Joshua is trying to make a fight with the other champion in the division, Joseph Parker.
If both come out victorious, a winter showdown between the two seems very likely. Wilder has appeared eager to fight Joshua, claiming “I’m ready, I don’t know about you. You’ve had it easy, it’s been breezy for you… I am the man that’s going to end your career.”
Their fight would have all 4 major belts on the line, and the winner would be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. A fight between two undefeated heavyweights who’s combined record is currently 59-0 with 58 KO’s? Sign me up.
3) Crawford vs Spence
This fight doesn’t seem likely to happen this year, but hey this is my wish-list, not my realistic predictions list.
Terrence Crawford is viewed by almost everyone as a top three fighter in the world pound for pound. He has absolutely dominated the lightweight and junior welterweight divisions. Now, after becoming the undisputed champion at junior welterweight (a feat not done in any division in over a decade), Crawford has decided to move up to welterweight.
Errol Spence on the other hand has been at welterweight his entire career. Everyone viewed him as a potential star, but he made his first big step to stardom when he defeated then champion Kell Brook in his hometown. Keith Thurman is currently the man at welterweight, being a unified champion, but Errol Spence is coming for that spot.
The reason that Crawford and Spence may not fight this year is because of both things previously mentioned. Crawford has not yet fought at welterweight, and Errol Spence has a fight signed against Lamont Peterson in January. If he were to come out victorious, it is more likely that he would fight Thurman before he faces Crawford.
Spence and Thurman both are signed to manager Al Haymon, so a fight between them is much easier to make, and the winner would have 3 of the 4 major belts in the division. Crawford on the other hand, is the mandatory challenger for champion Jeff Horn, which was being discussed as a March fight. The timing doesn’t seem to work out for a 2018 match up, but maybe Spence opts to not fight Thurman and go straight for Crawford, a man can dream.
The actual fight between Spence and Crawford would almost certainly be a fight of the year candidate. Spence has a record of 22-0 with 19 KO’s, while Crawford has a record of 32-0 23 KO’s.
Crawford is a slicker boxer than Spence, but has a tendency to stand and exchange with his opponents (see his fight with Gamboa). This would play right into Spence’s strengths, and would lead to fireworks in the ring.
Of course there are more fights that I would love to see (Lomachenko vs Mikey Garcia comes to mind) but these three are a bit bigger than the rest. These would have implications on the sport of boxing for years to come.
Each of these fights, on paper, would have the chance to become a part of boxing history, and fights future generations would look up on YouTube.