As mentioned today's blog is all about a wishlist of great fights, some of these are more likely than others but these are solely the bouts I would love to see most in the next 12-18months.
We’ll start in the Featherweight division with a huge domestic scrap between Lee Selby and Scott Quigg, realistically if Joshua vs Pulev is as rumoured in Cardiff this would be the perfect supporting bout. This would have all the makings of a 50-50 fight which should go the 12 rounds, my gut instinct would lean me towards Selby as I think he’s too slick for Quigg but Scott looked better in his last fight, being trained by Freddie Roach could make all the difference for the Englishman. Very good fight to look forward to, I’d be genuinely surprised if this doesn’t happen this year.
Sticking in Featherweight/Super Featherweight, the much talked about fight between Vasyl Lomachenko & Guillermo Rigondeaux, the talking has mainly come from the Rigo side it must be said, he seems to want the fight at any weight on any terms and claims Loma is “ducking” him. The difficulty for Arum & Loma here is Rigo presents a large risk (probably the highest) but not the highest reward, as is seen with many Cuban fighters both past and present. Let’s put politics to the side and say the fight is agreed at Featherweight (Loma wins at Super Feather with ease for me), but at Featherweight the bout is more enticing, both boxers are obviously unbelievably talented and confident. I think the fight would go the distance, Rigo would win the early rounds and Loma would take the 2nd half of the fight, with home refereeing you would fancy Loma to take the decision. Having said that a lot of people say this wouldn’t be an interesting fight, maybe not, both are defensive experts but we want to see the best fighting the best and this offers us just that. Even if this isn’t a classic the winner will look back on this as a career defining fight. I think this fight will be announced for Spring 2018 once both have raised their profiles slightly and let the interest build.
What about the winner of Crawford/Indongo vs Mikey Garcia? Firstly I strongly favour Crawford to beat Indongo via unanimous decision/late stoppage. Saying he does that should leave us poised for a big fight with Mikey Garcia who is expected to drop back down in weight after his convincing win over Adrian Broner. This is a really difficult one to call and I think I will refrain from placing a prediction before seeing how Crawford performs in a couple weeks.
Another fight involving Mikey Garcia would be a bout with Jorge Linares, obviously this mainly depends on what weight Garcia is looking to fight at. Linares has to get through a fight against Luke Campbell next month, which he should do so without too much difficulty. Linares would then probably look to move up to Super Lightweight with the likes of Garcia and Crawford, I think he is more likely to get the loser of Crawford Indongo which would still be good but I think the Garcia Linares fight would be incredibly entertaining, both are very skilful boxers who work at a very high pace. You would have to say Garcia has fought better opponents over the last couple years, I think he may simply be too good for Linares but I hope for a close fought match.
A couple of welterweight fights to discuss, firstly the one everyone mentions Thurman vs Spence, what a fight that would be. I rate both many very highly and feel we would be in for an outstanding bout, I would edge towards Thurman however as I feel he is really in his prime right now. The other welterweight contest is a bit of a strange one, Eggington vs Porter, I know the chances of these meeting anytime soon is very unlikely and Egginton is more likely to target the winner of Horn Pacquiao rematch. But let’s just think about it for a moment, both men are incredibly entertaining fighters, technically neither are at the top level but when it comes to toughness and fighting spirit these two must be in the top 10 P4P. I just think if this could happen maybe 2 years down the line it would just be an amazing fight, I worry that Eggington may be out of his depth against Porter but I’ve thought that in the past and he’s proven me wrong.
He’re one that hasn’t been talked about too much Jermall Charlo vs Danny Jacobs, mainly because Charlo is set to fight the winner of Canelo/GGG. I think this fight is possible at some point down the line and has all the makings of a cracking fight, Jacobs has the experience right now so I would probably favour him, he also did very well against GGG. This fight could potentially happen if GGG beats Canelo and then moves up in weight, Alvarez may look to review his position leaving the bodies needing a new opponent for Charlo. Maybe not too likely though, for the next year or so at least.
Super-Middleweights now and one we won’t have to wait very long for, George Groves is all set to face Chris Eubank Jr in the World Boxing Super Series semi-final, kind of a shame it’s the semi-final as I think they are the two best super-middle’s in the tournament. I think this will be a great fight because both guys are technically very sound, Groves has an amazing jab and Junior throws amazing combo’s but at the same time both guys are vulnerable to getting hit and each of them can get drawn into a tear-up. For me this is the most interesting domestic fight about right now, as for predictions, I think a lot will depend on Eubank’s chin and heart, he will get hit in this fight and Groves hits hard. Senior was known for having an outstanding chin, hopefully for them it’s genetic. But forced into a pick, I think Groves beats Eubank by a 8-10 round stoppage, Eubank is great against people who don’t move their heads, Groves isn’t the best mover but he feints a lot which will cause Junior problems I feel. Should be a cracking fight though!
Onto the big boys now! And let’s face it, despite all the promise heavyweight boxing is pretty crap right now. Think generations gone by of some of the great heavyweights and their great opponents, it’s just not the same now, the quality and depth in the division is very poor. But there are still some interesting fights to be made. Joshua vs Wilder, let’s start with Mr Bomb Squad himself., 38-0 with 37KO’s that is a quite incredible record… Until you look at who is on it, Audley Harrision is probably the best name on his record and I’m not even joking… Well maybe a bit. Joshua on the other hand is 19-0 with 19KO’s again very impressive but not taking out any great boxers, I would argue that Breazeale is better than any of Wilders opponents but not by much. He then fought W. Klitschko is an unbelievable fight which he somehow found a way to win. So how do I compare them? For me I think there is a wide gap in class, AJ is at least a level above Wilder. Deontay reacted badly to punches from Szpilka and Molina who aren’t known for their power, this raises serious questions about his chin, even his biggest fan would have to be honest and say his boxing ability is pretty shocking even being outboxed by Gerald Washington. So, I obviously favour Joshua but how would the fight go and why would Joshua win? The first round would probably be quite tense and AJ would work better behind a jab, being able to get out of range of Wilders punches, the same would happen in the second with Joshua probably hurting Wilder near the end of the round, Wilder in a state of panic decides to back up in the 3rd round letting Joshua come in toward his, AJ backs him in the corner and unloads, leaving Wilder sprawled out on the floor, he’ll probably get up and the ref will stop the fight soon after. Quite an accurate prediction, I know Wilder fans will be saying one thing which is “If he catches Joshua”, I actually agree with this, Wilder has abnormal natural power, if he catches AJ with one of these big hooks then I think Wilder could KO AJ, but I don’t think that will happen and AJ’s 1-2 will win the fight.
A couple of domestic bouts for AJ, Fury & Haye. Any combination between these 3 would be amazing. I really hoped Fury would come back at least next year but it’s looking less likely and if he does come back I fear that we will not see the Tyson who shocked the world. Haye on the other hand has to bounce back from his injury trouble and a loss to Bellew on his record, he shouldn’t even look to rematch Bellew and it doesn’t look like he is, if he beats Parker/H.Fury which I think he will that could set up a big unification with Joshua, time is ticking on Haye’s body however. As for the fight itself, Haye overcome a massive height and weight difference to beat Valuev but AJ isn’t like Valuev and I do see AJ who will be in his prime by then beating Haye in the mid-late rounds. What I can say with absolute confidence is the weight of British boxing will full pretty much on Joshua's shoulders for the next couple years.
So that’s it, I hope I’ve mildly entertained. These are obviously just my opinions but I do have a good betting record on boxing. Thanks for reading, I’ve got some good game updates for Wednesday’s blog so make sure you check that out as well.