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Five fights boxing absolutely needs in 2016

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Five fights boxing absolutely needs in 2016 Empty Five fights boxing absolutely needs in 2016

Post by hazharrison Tue Jan 12, 2016 2:29 pm

by Bob Velin (Sports Illustrated)

"With the Floyd Mayweather era in our rear-view mirror, the Manny Pacquiao era in its final rounds, and the disappointment of the Mayweather-Pacquiao debacle in May finally beginning to fade from peoples’ bruised psyches, it behooves boxing to put together the best fights possible to bring the casual, soured fans back to the sport and keep the hardcores happy.

Cotto-Canelo, with nearly 1 million pay-per-view buys, gave fans their money’s worth just before Thanksgiving. It was a good start, but boxing needs to keep it going and get fickle promoters working together, not against each other as has been the case for years. This may be the last thing the sport needs, but we’ll probably get our fill of litigation in 2016, given that lawsuits by Top Rank and Golden Boy against what they call the predatory practices of Al Haymon and his Premier Boxing Champions, with hundreds of millions at stake, are moving forward.

Working together might be asking a bit much, but we can dream, can’t we? With that in mind, here are five fights in 2016 that boxing absolutely needs. Most have either been tentatively agreed to or have been discussed by promoters and managers. The 10 fighters listed have a combined record of 325-4-3.

Keith Thurman vs. Shawn Porter

This blockbuster PBC matchup has been percolating for a while, with both sides saying last summer that they were ready to sign on the dotted line for a highly anticipated welterweight showdown. But here we are, many months later, still waiting for an official announcement. Right now it looks like Thurman (26-0, 22 KOs), the WBA welterweight titlist, and Porter (26-1-1, 16 KOs) will fight either Feb. 27 or March 5, probably on free TV (CBS) and likely in Las Vegas. As the undefeated champ, Thurman wants to get paid and should get close to his asking price. This will be the toughest fight to date for both “One Time” and “Showtime” and both love to mix it up. Definitely worth watching.

Gennady Golovkin vs. Canelo Alvarez

This PPV matchup screams fight of the year and will likely happen during the second half of ’16, either in Las Vegas, Texas (Canelo has a huge fan base in the Southwest and Dallas’ AT&T Stadium might get filled for this matchup), or Madison Square Garden, where Triple G (34-0, 31 KOs) is wildly popular. The sides have talked, and both men will fight at least once in the interim before the biggest fight that can be made in the sport is actually brought to fruition. Canelo (46-1-1, 32 KOs), Boxing Junkie’s Fighter of the Year, will next fight during Cinco de Mayo weekend (May 7) in Vegas, possibly against Willie Monroe Jr. or Gabe Rosado. And Golovkin’s management is talking to newly crowned WBO champ Billy Joe Saunders from England, probably at MSG or even in the United Kingdom.

Sergey Kovalev vs. Andre Ward

What a matchup this promises to be. “Krusher” Kovalev, No. 2 in the USA TODAY/Boxing Junkie pound-for-pound ratings, has virtually obliterated everyone in his path, including the great Bernard Hopkins. But he’s never faced anyone like Ward, No. 4 pound for pound, one of the greatest pure boxers of this era, who can make anyone look bad. Ask Carl Froch. Kovalev (28-0-1, 25 KOs) is no slouch either, like most Russians, but his punching power is what sets him apart from mere mortals. Ward (28-0, 15 KOs) has fought just once in 26 months. He is scheduled to fight on March 26 in his hometown of Oakland, Calif., against an unnamed opponent, but undefeated Sullivan Barrera’s name has been tossed around. Kovalev will rematch with Jean Pascal in Montreal on Jan. 30, and has been trying to set up a fight — unsuccessfully — against Adonis “Superman” Stevenson in the interim. Kovalev-Ward might be two fights away, possible late in 2016. But it would make boxing fans very happy.

Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder

Probably the best heavyweight matchup that can be made now that Fury has knocked Wladimir Klitschko off his long-held throne. This is an NBA dream pairing, with Fury (25-0, 18 KOs) standing 6-9, and Wilder (35-0, 34 KOs) at 6-7. Both fighters have mad power, especially Wilder with his 97% knockout rate. Fury, the lineal champ, must first get past Klitschko in their rematch, which has been agreed to but with no date or venue set. That will not be easy. Wilder fights Poland’s Artur Szpilka (20-1, 15 KOs) on Jan. 16 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Wilder, 30, has said he would go to England to fight the 27-year-old Fury, but Showtime and the PBC might prefer Las Vegas.

Roman Gonzalez vs. Juan Francisco Estrada

If Fury vs. Wilder is the big man’s dream pairing, the long-awaited rematch between “Chocolatito” and Estrada is quintessential small ball. Gonzalez (44-0, 38 KOs), ranked No. 1 pound-for-pound by USA TODAY/Boxing Junkie and most other media outlets, and Estrada (33-2, 24 KOs), who is 7-0 with four KOs since his unanimous decision loss to Gonzalez in 2012, have been talking with the rematch likely for the summer. Both fighters are in their prime, with Gonzalez, the WBC flyweight champ, 27 years old, and Estrada, the WBA/WBO flyweight champion, only 25. Gonzalez, who packs tremendous power into his 112 pounds, could fight Giovani Segura on Mar. 5, likely on HBO, while Estrada, “El Gallo” (The Rooster), is not scheduled for a fight at the moment. His only fight in the U.S. was his loss to Gonzalez."

hazharrison

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Post by TRUSSMAN66 Tue Jan 12, 2016 2:53 pm

Not really interested in Gonzalez i'm afraid...Midgets have never stirred my interest....Not even in a chocolate factory...

Rather see Fury v Haye or Josh...and Stevo v Kovalev...

Rather see GGG v top super middle too..

Boxing absolutely doesn't need some of those fights..

Sorry this journalist isn't the bollox for me.


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Post by hazharrison Tue Jan 12, 2016 3:02 pm

I think it's a really good list. I'm not sure Ward vs Kovalev will be a good fight (Ward fights aren't, generally) but it's an important one.

You're missing out on Gonzalez, he's poetry in motion that guy.

I'd like to see Gonzalez vs Inoue and Lomachenko vs Walters also.

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Post by TRUSSMAN66 Tue Jan 12, 2016 3:13 pm

All about opinions...

Frampton - Quigg...Khan V Brook...GGG V Degale...Fury v Josh....Kovo V Stevo....

Would be my 5....and one is coming up soon.

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Post by Guest Tue Jan 12, 2016 3:32 pm

If Froch couldn't make Ward fight, is Kovalev going to be able to do it. Andre punched the cr*p out of Rocky's kid so hey, who's the toughest?

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Post by Baby faced assassin Tue Jan 12, 2016 4:48 pm

Boxing needs a lot more than these fights to have a successful year
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Post by milkyboy Tue Jan 12, 2016 9:08 pm

... well they'd be a start.

I'd take any on the list and any of the suggestions offered so far.

Like to see crawford in with one of the better welters. Hey any of the welters actually fighting each other would be good. Talent stacked division and all we get is manny bradley 3.

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