Which fights would The Boxing Tribune staff make if they had the magic matchmaker power to put together any “doable” bout featuring today’s stars?
Here’s Part One of our two-part “Pick the Fights” feature:
Roman “Chocalatito” Gonzalez vs. Naoya Inoue
Chocalatito is recognized as one of the top boxers in the sport, but that hasn’t yet translated into drawing power. He’s so good his fights are often mostly one sided, but took some lumps in his last outing against Carlos Cuadras. Some viewers, including yours truly, thought Cuadras did enough to earn a draw or maybe even edge out the win. Chocalatito, despite looking flawed in his last fight, is very technically sounds and brings the fight to his opponents every time out. Japan’s Naoya Inoue holds a world title after only 12 fights, but he’s looked like a world beater against the small handful of capable opponents he’s knocked out. Chocalatito would be a great measuring stick for where Inoue is really at, and Inoue gives Chocalatito a shot at beating another heralded young fighter and adding a fifth world title to his collection.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Gennady “GGG” Golovkin
This fight is the Mayweather-Pacquiao for this generation; it pits two of the top fighters within a few pounds of each other against one another, everyone wants it, and it’s been negotiated almost entirely in the media. Canelo is the draw and holds the power in negotiations, despite what you may have heard. GGG has been branded the most feared fighter in the sport, and needs Canelo more than Canelo needs him. This fight also gives GGG his first real marquee opponent that poses a true threat, while Golovkin gives young Canelo a chance to remove the “ducker” moniker from his back.
Errol Spence Jr. vs. the Danny Garcia-Keith Thurman winner
Errol Spence has been dubbed the future of the welterweight division, and he’s looked like he’s got a real shot at becoming just that. Spence is scheduled to challenge Kell Brook for the IBF welterweight strap in May, and if he wins his world should be opened up to bigger and better things. The winner between Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman is likely the best of the current crop of welterweights and shouldn’t waste too much time before fighting Spence. Each has a good complementary style to that of Spence, and the fight should be entertaining.
Naoya Inoue vs. Roman Gonzalez
Many fight fans might not want to see two of their favourites fight, but for me the biggest dream fight this year is a Super Flyweight champion down between WBO champion Naoya Inoue and WBC champion Roman Gonzalez, both of whom are among my favourites in the sport. The bout has been spoken about in the Japanese media for well over a year and is the lower-weight mega fight that should go beyond the usual fans who pay attention to the lower weights and attract a more solid boxing fan base. If not, I’m sure it’ll do well in Japan where Inoue can typically draw a TV audience of over 6,000,000. I’ll be honest I think Inoue will be too big and too powerful for Gonzalez, and if he is then we’d see a seismic shift in the lower weights, and Japanese boxing in general but if he’s not, then we’d be in for a fistic treat.
Zou Shiming vs. Daigo Higa
The Flyweight division has lost much of it’s allure in the last 12 months with many of the top names moving up in weight. Despite that, it’s a division with a lot of talent bubbling under, one of those fighters just under-the-radar for many is Daigo Higa, the sensationally aggressive Japanese youngster. Whilst he is said to be targeting the WBC title I can’t help but see Higa facing Shiming, a Chinese mega-star and current WBO champion, would give Higa a huge chance to become one of the new faces of the Flyweight division.
Rex Tso vs. Jamie Conlan
Many of the fights every year are fights where the styles of both men just make for action. The bouts, like Kamegai Vs Soto Karass last year and Miura vs. Thompson a few years ago, don’t need to be between the best fighters but between fighters who just click. With that in mind I can’t help but feel a bout between Hong Kong star Rex Tso and the Northern Irishman is the best action fight that can be made in the sport this year. Neither man is elite level, both are too easy to hit, but together they should give us one of the best bouts of recent times. Better yet, these two are ranked #1 and #2 by the WBO at Super Flyweight and could fight in either a world title eliminator, or for the vacant title if Inoue vacates later in 2017!
Brandon Rios vs. Adrian Granados
For the action. Fans were treated to a never give up, come forward, fighter in Granados against Adrien Broner. Put him in the ring with Rios and you’ve got a FIGHT. Rios loves to hit and get hit, and Granados would oblige him all night. Definitely a fan friendly fight between two warriors who purely love to fight and even more, give the audience what they came for. No preening or posturing or being slick for the cameras. Just toe to toe, in the trenches fighting. You might even get so excited you spill your beer.
Luis Collazo vs. Adrien Broner
Broner will only get away with his inconsistent tactics for so long against Collazo. The wily veteran may start slow but he’s not going anywhere- Collazo can box or bang, kill the Broner body with short, hard shots when he gets him in one of his frequent clinches and when AB least expects it, turn out the lights completely. Ask Victor Ortiz or even more recently, Sammy Vasquez. Collazo could solve the Adrien Broner problem if he weren’t very careful.
Terence “Bud” Crawford vs. Mikey Garcia
At 147, a great fight- with all the elements boxing requires. Two undefeated rising stars, both multiple time champs, with huge fan bases. This fight could be for ALL the marbles, belts, fighting pride, viva Omaha, Mexico, and California. Both Mikey and Bud possess sound technical skills, strength and KO ability. A battle of this importance brings out the BEST in both guys and will put asses in seats from coast to coast. Personal prediction? Garcia late TKO.
Come Back for Part Two