Now that the dog days of summer are almost behind us, it’s time for boxing to transition to the part of the year where we more often than not get the fights we’ve been waiting the entire year to see. While the calendar as of this moment hasn’t quite started to populate, here are a few ideas that will make the rest of our boxing year a highly memorable one. Some of these fights seem obvious to make, others are out of left field, but they’re here for your entertainment.
These are the best fights left to make for 2018:
Terence Crawford vs. Jaime Munguia
This one might be a bit out of left field but if Terence Crawford can’t find a fight before the end of the year, and what a shame that would be, then why not try to cap it off with a bang against the hard swinging but technically challenged Jamie Munguia?
Munguia is the bigger man and a champion, but he’s not on the level of a Jarred Hurd, Jermell Charlo or even Erislandy Lara. Though Crawford may have just entered the Welterweight ranks, but there’s nothing wrong for a one time deal that can get him a title in a fourth weight class as well as a potentially great fight to boot. I’m not suggesting Crawford leave the Welterweight division permanently, but if he has to stay busy and we have to watch it, would you really prefer him fighting someone like Jose Benavidez instead?
Oleksandr Usyk vs. Tony Bellew
This one has a sense of inevitability written all over it, and with plenty of time left in the year as well as the fact that Oleksandr Usyk and Tony Bellew have a mutual interest in a fight, there’s no better time then now. Usyk is coming off of winning the World Boxing Super Series at Cruiserweight and looked stunning doing it and Bellew is still riding high on a pair of wins over David Haye at Heavyweight.
Though Bellew has proposed their fight take place at 200 pounds, this fight is just as equally intriguing at Heavyweight should it happen there. If Bellew can follow up his wins with Haye at the expense of Usyk, he has all the makings of a hall of fame resume and if Usyk wins, he’ll just build on that momentum that may take him towards a shot at the Heavyweight title.
Leo Santa Cruz vs. Gary Russell
A few years ago, the boxing community at large was convinced that Gary Russell Jr was going to be a top fighter and one of the sport’s best while the jury was still out on the already more accomplished Leo Santa Cruz. Now, we know how good Santa Cruz is, but Russell is still a question mark. There’s no better time than now than to test how far each have really come in a fight that fits all the classic tropes like “Will vs. Skill,” “Power vs. Speed,” “Guts vs. Skill” and so on.
The fight wouldn’t need much to pick up steam. Santa Cruz has emerged as a fan favorite and puts in a good fight every time he’s given the chance, and there are plenty of people out there who still believe Russell has yet to reach his potential and this is the fight that it’ll happen. Hopefully it happens soon because Russell does tend to take off for a year between fights and with no mandatory defenses lined up, he might do just that if this can’t be made.
Adonis Stevenson vs. Eleider Alvarez
Right, well depending on who you believe, either Adonis Stevenson has been ducking Eleider Alvarez for the past year and a half or Alvarez was willingly accepting step aside money from Stevenson to pursue bigger domestic fights with Lucian Bute and Jean Pascal. Doesn’t matter now, because both men are world champions and are in a better position than ever to make a fight.
Alvarez is coming off of a shocking KO victory over Stevenson’s rival Sergey Kovalev whereas Stevenson was lucky to escape with a draw against Badou Jack. Stevenson’s run at Light Heavyweight has been a colossal disappointment, but Alvarez serves as the last chance to legitimize his reign after letting Kovalev and Bernard Hopkins slip through his fingers. Alvarez might just end up facing Kovalev again, but the Stevenson fight is there and more ready to make than ever.