The Top 10 Matchups To Make This Year
By: Hans Themistode
It’s a brand new year ladies and gentlemen.
Boxing may have had an unbelievable in 2019 in terms of the matchups that were made, but that was then and this is now.
2020 just feels like one of those special years. It’s reminiscent to when the calendar turned to the year 2000. Everything just felt different, and that is the sort of feel that 2020 is bringing to us.
We all know about the politics of boxing. Certain matchups that should be made, just don’t. Forget about that for a second. For this list we will be discussing some of the biggest matchups in the sport. Of course everyone wants to see Errol Spence Jr vs Terence Crawford and either Tyson Fury/Deontay Wilder going up against Anthony Joshua. Those are obvious but aren’t likely and not because of politics.
It’s reported that Wilder and Fury have a deal in place to face each other twice this year, which makes a matchup against Joshua unlikely. Spence on the other hand is fresh off a horrific car accident. He has reassured everyone that he is fine but until we see him in the ring we can’t speculate.
Because of these reasons we won’t include those two monumental matchups but don’t worry, there is still plenty to choose from.
Just sit back, relax and enjoy this list of dream matchups. This list is in no particular order.
Devin Haney vs Gervonta Davis
Gervonta Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) may have struggled with his fitness level for his matchup against Yuriorkis Gamboa, but he knocked down the former champion three times and stopped him in the 12th, just last month. Say what you want about Davis but he is a major star in the sport of boxing.
Former WBC Lightweight champion Devin Haney (24-0, 15 KOs), on the other hand is a star in his own right. These two have history with one another and it’s time that they settled it in the ring. There could be a bit of pushback seeing how young they both are but we don’t want to hear that. Just make the matchup happen.
Demetrius Andrade vs Jermall Charlo
Forget about GGG he’s still a great fighter but he’s past his prime at this point. Forget about Canelo Alvarez as well, it’s doubtful that he is coming back down to 160. WBO belt holder Demetrius Andrade (28-0, 17 KOs) and WBC champ Jermall Charlo are the best in the world at the Middleweight division. Lock them both in a room and you’ll see a fight break out, so why not just put them in the ring? Promoter Eddie Hearn has already claimed that he had sent Charlo (30-0, 22 KOs) over an offer so hopefully he’ll sign on the dotted line.
Canelo Alvarez vs Artur Beterbiev
Artur Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) is widely considered the best in the division but Canelo Alvarez has made a career out of beating people that everyone thinks that he can’t. If you think Canelo (53-1-2, 36 KOs) is scared to take on Beterbiev then you must’ve lost your mind. This is the sort of matchup that would make fans go nuts.
David Benavidez vs Caleb Plant
Every single matchup on this list is a great one, but none of these fighters hate each other. IBF Super Middleweight champion Caleb Plant (19-0, 11 KOs) and WBC titlist David Benavidez (22-0, 19 KOs) do. If they could sign up to fight each other in a backyard than I’m sure they would.
This is a unification bout with a ton of bad blood from two boxers who are arguably the best in the division. This is a must make matchup.
Julian William vs Jermell Charlo
Like a lot of other matchups on this list, one of these fighters must first get through a predetermined contest. Unified Jr Middleweight champ Julian Williams has a date with the unheralded Jeison Rosario later this month. Expect him to get through that matchup without too much difficulty. Former belt holder Jarrett Hurd still wants his shot at regaining his titles, but he’ll have to wait. Williams (27-1-1, 16 KOs) has a long history with the Charlo’s since he was knocked out by Jermall in 2016. His brother and WBC champ Jermell (33-1, 17 KOs) will absolutely be looking to do the same thing in what could be the biggest fight the division has seen in years.
Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Leo Santa Cruz
Vasiliy Lomachenko and Leo Santa Cruz technically campaign in the same weight division, but not really. At the moment, Lomachenko holds a few titles at 135 while Santa Cruz made a successful debut at 130 just a few months ago. Lomachenko has said time and time again that his natural weight class would be 130 and does in fact plan on moving down if he can get a big name opponent. Santa Cruz would qualify as such. With titles in four different weight classes, Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs) has had an underrated career. Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) is at the top of plenty of pound for pound lists for a reason but Santa Cruz could prove to be his biggest challenge.
Jose Ramirez vs Josh Taylor
Don’t you just love when you have two guys who are clearly the best in a division? It’s even better when those two guys face each other for not just the number one spot but also all the belts as well. Josh Taylor (16-0, 12 KOs) currently holds the IBF and WBA Super Lightweight titles while Jose Ramirez (25-0, 17 KOs) has the WBC and WBO. They’ve fought and defeated everyone else in the weight class. Now they need to face each other.
Regis Prograis vs Mikey Garcia
This one should get fight fans excited.
Regis Prograis (24-1, 20 KOs) vs Mikey Garcia (39-1, 30 KOs) is the sort of matchup that you just can’t help but go crazy about. Both fighters did take a loss in their last ring appearance but they are still great fighters in the primes of their careers. Mikey currently has a date with Jessie Vargas in February but as long as he gets through that one then sign us all up for Mikey vs Prograis.
Shakur Stevenson vs Gary Russell
Young Floyd Mayweather. The next all-time great. A possible pound for pound future king. Shakur Stevenson (13-0, 7 KOs) has been given some of the highest praise. His talent is outrageous but naming him the best in the division is premature. That distinction still belongs to Gary Russell Jr (30-1, 18 KOs). He might fight just once a year, but when he does, he always makes a statement. A matchup between these two great fighters would have everyone glued to their television screens.
Guillermo Rigondeaux vs Naoya Inoue
There’s nothing left at Bantamweight for Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs). Sure you could say Luis Nery and Nordine Oubaali but no one truly believes they can hang with “The Monster.” It’s time for a new challenge, and a new weight division. Guillermo Rigondeaux (19-1, 13 KOs) might be 150 years old but he’s still the top dog of the division. This is the matchup that fight fans need.
Are We Not Entertained?
Are We Not Entertained?
By: Eric Lunger
Andre Berto made headlines in September of 2015 as the opponent for Floyd Mayweather’s last fight, or farewell fight, or retirement fight, however you want to call it. The bout was heavily criticized by fans and commentators alike, and boxing fans are prone to cynicism and outrage when a fight does not appear to live up to “what the fans deserve.” But what, exactly, do we as fans deserve?
In the aftermath of the Mayweather-Berto fight, Andre Ward, who faces Sergey Kovalev this November in what is probably the most anticipated fight in recent years, had some thought-provoking things to say about the fighters, fan expectations, and the boxing world in general:
“Floyd Mayweather has given us enough blood, enough sweat, enough tears, enough entertainment over nineteen years, or whatever it is, and he can go out how he wants to go out. It doesn’t matter what people say.”
“Berto came in here, and people say he didn’t deserve a shot. This is a guy who has been boxing since he was a kid, a former two-time world champion — say what you want, he put on a great performance. He didn’t win… but I’m happy for him, he got the opportunity of a lifetime. A lot of fighters don’t get that.” (Fighthype.com)
Ward went on to point out the obvious but unstatedfact: that fighters take a beating in the ring for our entertainment. They are the ones who have to ice their faces after a bout, who have to go to the hospital. If we as fans and media want to criticize, we have to do so with a modicum of respect. And let’s not forget that, in April of this year, Berto stepped back into the ring to face off against Victor Ortiz in a match to avenge Berto’s unanimous decision loss to Ortiz in 2011. In the rematch, Berto was clearly prepared tactically, had trained himself to his physical peak, and executed his game plan in the ring with brutal efficiency, knocking out Ortiz in the 4th round. There was no cynicism in the expression on Berto’s face when he won, and no cynicism in the explosive roar from the crowd when Ortiz hit the canvas.
Now Andre Berto is in the headlines again, assisting relief efforts in Haiti after hurricane Matthew devastated part of his homeland earlier this month. He doesn’t have to be there, but he’s doing it because for him he needs to do it.
It’s very easy to cynical about boxing, frankly, because cynicism is the child of idealism. When our high ideals about boxing, our high hopes even, are dashed, cynicism is an easy way out. Now, let’s be realists. Are fans justified in being upset about some cherry-picked matchups? Sure. Danny Garcia has certainly taken his lumps on social media recently. Are fans justified in criticizing fighters for “ducking” certain opponents? Sure. But boxing occupies a strange place between sport, entertainment, business, and a very dangerous undertaking for the participants. If a boxer and his team want to hold off, to protect those years of sacrifice in the gym, to maximize that payday for his family, I get that. On the other had, teams that wait years and years to make a fight that fans are desperate to see can do lasting damage to the sport. Such was the case with Mayweather-Pacquiao, and such might be the case with Canelo-Golovkin.
Fans of the sport of boxing love it because it provides a spectacle like no other. Fans deserve to be entertained, certainly, and they deserve competitive cards with exiting matchups, but, at the same time, fans owe a measure of respect to those who step into the ring.