A couple of days ago, we published our year-end / year-start Boxing Rankings for all the Men’s and Women’s divisions. In our view, Saúl Álvarez (MEX) and Katie Taylor (IRL) are the best, Pound for Pound. You can view the rankings here.
Just as last year, we want to analyze the fights that should take place this year, especially those that would help us discern who is the best within their divisions.
Two fights that we hoped for took place, or kind of One was the Super Lightweight unification between unbeaten Champions Josh Taylor (SCO) and José Carlos Ramírez (USA / MEX). Taylor won clearly. The win propelled him to our top 10 Pound for Pound.
We also hoped for the Super Bantamweight to have a clear number one between the three Mexican World Champions: Luis Nery, Rey Vargas, and Brandon Figueroa. Figueroa knocked Nery out and Vargas moved up in weight. But before the end of the year, a new face -Stephen Fulton Jr (USA)- came in and beat Figueroa to take the number one spot in the weightclass.
Last year, we noted that Juan Francisco Estrada (MEX) and Román González (NIC) were slated to fight for a second time and indeed it was a great fight. In our view, the fight of the year. As we said, Estrada should have been the favorite and he also won. A third fight could be in the making.
We also noted that Saúl Álvarez would probably want to unify the Super Middleweight by fighting Billy Joe Saunders (ENG) and Caleb Plant (USA). He demolished both of them to become the first Unified World Champion in the weight class.
Last year was probably the last window we had to see an Álvarez vs Floyd Mayweather (USA) rematch. At this point, with Floyd aging and ‘Canelo’ not coming down on weight, it seems extremely unlikely. Now it seems more likely that Álvarez will seek to win the Cruiserweight World title. It would be history in the making if he moves up fro Super Middleweight to Cruiserweight.
Now let’s talk about the fights that are still pending.
- Terence Crawford (USA) vs Errol Spence Jr (USA).The main fight in men’s boxing that we hope for is obviously the Welterweight unification between #2 and #4 Pound for Pound fighters, Terence Crawford (USA) and Errol Spence Jr (USA). Crawford is no longer associated to Top Rank Promotions and this could allow them to unify, if Spence defeats Yordenis Ugás (CUB), who retired Manny Pacquiao (PHL).
- Katie Taylor (IRL) vs Amanda Serrano (PUR). Serrano has been fighting in Lightweight on top of her Featherweight commitments. A fight between the #1 and #3 Pound for Pound would probably also be the biggest women’s boxing fight of all time until now.
- Tyson Fury (ENG) vs Oleksandr Usyk (UKR). Last year we hoped that Fury would unify the Heavyweight title against Anthony Joshua (ENG). But Uryk entered the picture and schooled Joshua. The undefeated, former Cruiserweight World Champion looks like the only one that could beat Fury.
- Dmitry Bivol (RUS) vs Artur Beterbiev (RUS). A fight between two unbeaten World Champions in the Light Heavyweight. It would be one of the biggest fights between Russians of all time. If not the biggest.
- Claressa Shields (USA) vs Savannah Marshall (ENG). The #2 and #8 Pound for Pound in Women’s boxing would also make for one of the biggest female fights of all-time. Shields is the undisputed unified Super Welterweight Champion and has four belts in Middleweight. But in that weight, we have Marshall ranked ahead due to to comparative assessment against common opponents.
- Mikaela Mayer (USA) vs Delfine Persoon (BEL). Mayer is the Super Featherweight IBF, WBO, and The Ring. Persoon has no titles. They are #5 and #6 in our Pound for Pound rankings. Persoon gave Taylor a great first fight, the best female fight of the year 2019. This could be a great fight as well.
- Gervonta Davis (USA) vs George Kambosos Jnr (AUS/GRC). Kambosos pulled the upset of the year against Teófimo López (HND/USA), who beat former Pound for Pound Vasyl Lomachenko. Davis is in our Pound for Pound top 10 and is coming off two great years. This is one of the biggest fights that could be made in the weight class that has more potential exciting matchups. Haney (USA), García (USA), Cruz (MEX), Commey (GHA) and others are still in the mix.
- Hiroto Kyoguchi (JPN) vs Masamichi Yabuki (JPN). An All-Japanese showdown to determine the best Light Flyweight. Last year we hoped for Kyoguchi to fight Teraji but since Yabui beat him, then now he takes his place.
There are many other great matchups but we know how boxing works. It is more likely that the majority of these fights will not be happening at all. But if some do, we are up for a treat this year.
Illustration: Sky Sports