After a sizzling summer, boxing is not planning on slowing down in the fall. Here’s a look at this autumn’s best and most compelling match-ups:
Joseph Parker vs. Hughie Fury, 12 rounds, for Parker’s WBO heavyweight title
While it’s true that this battle of big men is for the most paper of paper titles, the reality is that it’s still going to be a competitive and entertaining bout. The winner of this showdown of 20-something heavyweights will move up a full step in pursuit of a big money bout with universally recognized world heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua.
Anthony Crolla vs. Ricky Burns, 12 rounds, lightweights
Coming off losses in their last fights, boxing odds for next fight performance are usually all over the place. In this particular lightweight bout, close betting odds indicate a boxing world unsure of what to expect. Crolla is coming off two straight losses to Jorge Linares and a battle-weary Burns last registered a meaningful win way back in 2012. Expect an entertaining, hard-fought bout, but nothing beyond that is guaranteed.
Erislandy Lara vs. Terrell Gausha, 12 rounds, for Lara’s WBA junior middleweight title
The crafty Cuban world champ, Lara, may be the best junior middleweight in the world and Gausha could very well be the best the best junior middleweight prospect in the world. This one should be interesting and expertly fought.
Jarrett Hurd vs. Austin Trout, 12 rounds, for Hurd’s IBF junior middleweight title
Hurd’s grasp on the IBF title belt appears to be less-than-firm and former champ, Trout, is burning for a chance to wear a world title again. Will this fight showcase the emergence of a true elite in Hurd or will we see the re-emergence of a veteran champ?
Jermell Charlo vs. Erickson Lubin, 12 rounds, for Charlo’s WBC junior middleweight title
This third bout in a triple-header of 154 lb. title fights just may be the best of the evening as the mega-talented Charlo faces off against a contender in Lubin, who is on the verge of showing the world his true level of excellence.
Anthony Joshua vs. Kubrat Pulev, 12 rounds, for Joshua’s IBF/WBA heavyweight title
The UK’s Joshua is boxing’s “next big thing” and has already begun his climb to the highest levels of boxing fame. His opponent, Pulev, is solid and disciplined, but hardy a real threat. People will be watching to see Joshua take one more step into superstardom and, while Pulev may just be along for the ride, he should still offer up enough resistance to make for an entertaining evening.
Deontay Wilder vs. Luis Ortiz, 12 rounds, for Wilder’s WBC heavyweight title
Now that this bout is official, consider it, by far, Wilder’s most challenging contest. Wilder, who is a crude bomb-throwing slugger, seems ill-suited to face a well-schooled, crafty boxer like Ortiz. But Kudos to Wilder and his team for willingly taking this huge step forward against an opponent nobody has been eager to face.
Sergey Kovalev vs. Vyacheslav Sharbranskyy, 10 rounds, light heavyweights
Can “Krusher” find his groove again after being humbled in two consecutive bouts against Andre Ward? HBO seems fine with giving the heavy-handed Russian at least one more shot being a primetime player.
Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux, 12 rounds, for Lomachenko’s WBO junior lightweight title
For those who like science with their violence, this clash between two of boxing’s most skilled fighters is a dream come true. The only real concern is the fact that Rigondeaux, a natural 122-pounder, will be moving up to Lomachenko’s comfortable home division of 130.