By: Kirk Jackson
Super Bowl came and went and it was a lackluster affair. But nonetheless, the Super Bowl year-in and year-out is a huge spectacle; attracting enormous audiences world-wide and is considered the premier singular event across sports.
Boxing is different, as the sport lacks a singular event defining the season. As a year-long sport, there are instances where some fights hold greater significance comparably to another. The significance measured by different variables to be referenced later.
These highly important bouts can be referred to as Super Bowl-esque in nature. In years past, various boxing greats carried the mantle that would be considered the “Super Bowl of boxing.”
Greats like Mike Tyson and Oscar De La Hoya, although they engaged in multiple high profile bouts more than once a year while relatively active in their respective primes.
In recent years, the prize fighter holding the mantle was Floyd Mayweather and in today’s era, the crown rests upon the cinnamon colored hair of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
The previous two years featured Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin as boxing’s Super Bowl with both encounters taking place in September respectively.
What would be considered as the boxing Super Bowl event for 2019?
Realistically, we could compose Super Bowl match-ups for each individual division. But we’ll keep it short as condensed while analyzing potential bouts for this year. Although the framework determining the Super Bowl match-up in the NFL differs from shaping the Super Bowl like match-up for boxing, the most important variables are used while concocting the decision.
Boxing’s Super Bowl associates the combination of popularity, importance (as far as world rankly standings, championships, historic relevance) financial significance and cultural impact.
It’s important to note, as boxing is year-round and lacks an off season so to speak, potential Boxing-Bowl bouts may manifest as the year progresses. Preferences and requests may change. But for time being as of midway through February of 2019…
The heavyweight division is alive and thriving. Historically, heavyweights are typically considered biggest match-ups within the sport with the winner earning distinction as the “Baddest man on the planet” would be determined in these modern day fantasy fights.
There is a three-angled equation at the top of the division, hopefully finds some form of resolution at some point this year. With each possible pairing, leading to a fan-flustered, attention absorbing, block-buster event. In spite of what Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn believes, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury are stars and share the stage with unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.
Deontay Wilder 40-0-1 (39 KO’s) vs. Anthony Joshua 22-0 (21 KO’s): The heavyweight bout everyone has been asking for since 2018 but unfortunately, the two sides have yet to reach an agreement.
Joshua, recently agreed to fight Jarrell Miller 23-0-1 (20 KO’s) June 1 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. Wilder is negotiating with Fury to stage their highly-anticipated rematch.
Regarding Joshua and Wilder, its two fighters arguably in their prime, they’re undefeated world champions, Olympic medalists (Wilder-Bronze medal winner), (Joshua-Gold medal winner), they’re knock-out artists and there is the United States vs. United Kingdom sports rivalry at stake. Based on the clash of styles, this matchup virtually guarantees fireworks and many observers believe the fight will not go the full distance.
Tyson Fury 27-0-1 (19 KO’s) vs. Anthony Joshua 22-0 (21 KO’s): The England exclusive match-up features undefeated champions with bragging rights also at stake. Fury is the legitimate Lineal heavyweight champion (Fury beat the man who beat the man). Joshua and his contingent of followers believe he is the legitimate heavyweight champion amongst his contemporaries – Fury and Wilder.
Deontay Wilder 40-0-1 (39 KO’s) vs. Tyson Fury II 27-0-1 (19 KO’s): The first fight was epic, leaving many questions about each fighter and the future of the division progressing forward. The rematch should quell most inquiries and depending on the result, prompt a lucrative third fight to cap the potential trilogy.
History reflects the smaller guys can put on quite the event as well. As aforementioned, Mayweather, Alvarez and De La Hoya are prime examples. Sticking with the theme of prominent welterweights, let’s examine the current welterweight picture.
Errol Spence 24-0 (21 KO’s) vs. Mikey Garcia 39-0 (30 KO’s): Considered by many the “Boogeyman” at 147 lbs., Errol “The Truth” Spence occupies quite a few tantalizing options as a strong Super Bowl pick for this year.
Regarding the theme of football and the NFL it’s fitting, the fighter with football aspirations growing up in Desoto, Texas, is slated to headline a huge Pay-Per-View event at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas next month.
Spence headlines the event against top five pound-for-pound fighter Mikey Garcia 39-0 (30 KO’s). Although Garcia is undefeated, the three-division champion is regarded as the huge underdog. In spite of the challenges, this bout is considered of great significance in the boxing world and there is great expectation to draw huge numbers.
Mikey Garcia 39-0 (30 KO’s) vs. Manny Pacquiao 61-7-2 (39 KO’s): A curveball into the mix is if Garcia upsets Spence, creating a massive chain reaction within the welterweight division. For Garcia, a myriad of potential fights would be on the table but perhaps the most lucrative features against the likes of Keith Thurman or more notably Manny Pacquiao.
Even Thurman believes Garcia vs. Pacquiao (should Mikey win) is a must. “I do believe that if Mikey Garcia beats Errol Spence Jr. on March 16, then Pacquiao-Garcia is a must for the sport of boxing,” said Thurman.
“That’s my opinion. Why not take the momentum of this lighter guy who, if he beats Spence, is the new Manny Pacquiao? But I don’t think Mikey wins. I’ve known him since the amateurs and he’s a great fighter. But we have weight classes for a reason.”
Manny Pacquiao 61-7-2 (39 KO’s) vs. Keith Thurman 29-0 (22 KO’s): Leave it to “One-Time,” he would definitely like a shot at the future hall of famer from the Philippines.
“I want to fight Manny Pacquiao,” Thurman told Premier Boxing Champions in an interview after his victory over Josesito Lopez last month. “Imagine what Pacquiao-Thurman is going to look like? He looked well at the age of 40. He looked strong. By the way Broner was fighting, he was respecting the power. Pacquiao-Thurman is a good fight. And when’s the last time Pacquiao fought an undefeated fighter?
“I’m hoping to hear some words from Team Pacquiao,” said Thurman. “We both fought early this year and I’d be willing to negotiate a fight for anytime he deems fit; summer, after the summer, September, October. I think it would be a great fight for the sport. Let’s make it happen.”
For Pacquiao’s part, it appears he is more than willing to face Thurman if he can’t secure the golden ticket rematch against Floyd Mayweather. However, current IBF welterweight champion Spence does not care to see Thurman vs. Pacquiao.
Errol Spence 24-0 (21 KO’s) vs. Keith Thurman 29-0 (22 KO’s):
Two big questions loom over this potential match-up; WHEN and IF they’ll ever enter the same ring, same event, to fight each other. Thurman boasts about never being afraid to let his hands or his “0” go and Spence has been itching to snatch Thurman’s “0” for quite some time now.
Errol Spence 24-0 (21 KO’s) vs. Terence Crawford 34-0 (25 KO’s): Outside of Wilder vs. Joshua this is probably the most demanded fight boxing fans want to see as it features the two best fighters in the deepest division in boxing.
This welterweight fantasy (hopeful reality) match-up potentially has historic implications like Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Thomas Hearns, Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao and Felix Trinidad vs. Oscar De La Hoya. Interesting tidbit, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum had his hand in all of these fights with the exception of Leonard vs. Hearns (Arum promoted their 1989 rematch).
Also regarding Spence, he may occupy the slot sharing the main stage in the near future with another Super Bowl participant, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. As long as Alvarez is fighting a decent opponent, he’ll always be considered in the hunt for top event of boxing.
Saul Alvarez 51-1-2 (35 KO’s) vs. Daniel Jacobs 35-2 (29 KO’s): The unification bout against IBF middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs is highly anticipated and on paper a 50-50 fight.
— Daniel Jacobs (@DanielJacobsTKO) February 11, 2019
Alvarez established his east coast fanbase fighting at Madison Square Garden for the first time this past December against Rocky Fielding 27-2 (15 KO’s). Although a fellow titlist at a lower weight class, Jacobs is a whole different caliber of fighter and should push Alvarez to his limit.
The Brooklynite Jacobs successfully defeated cancer, arguably bested long reigning middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin and aims to defeat Alvarez in Las Vegas this upcoming May.
Saul Alvarez 51-1-2- (35 KO’s) vs. Gennady Golovkin 38-1-1 (34 KO’s): The fighter affectionately referred to as “Triple G” would presumably like to bet the third time is the charm against Mexican rival Alvarez.
Although currently slated to face “The Miracle Man” Daniel Jacobs (former Golovkin opponent), Alvarez may close the year out strong by facing Golovkin for a third time, in attempts to take care of some unfinished business.
The unfinished business from Alvarez’s perspective blooms in the form of exterminating Golovkin via stoppage to leave an exclamation point and properly cap off their trilogy. While Golovkin aims to at the very least even the score to 1-1-1 and a nice payday doesn’t hurt.
We’re only halfway through February so the potential picks may change. Who’s your Boxing Super Bowl pick?