Fights to look forward to in 2016?

Note: I’ve kept this list to fights that can realistically happen next year, hence why you won’t see any fights like Thurman-Bradley or Santa Cruz-Lomachenko on this list that are prevented by promotional/TV differences.

 

  1. Anthony Joshua-David Haye

God knows what’s left of David Haye, or what he’ll look like after a 3 and a half year layoff & major surgery, but this classic clash of young and old could quite easily be built up into a money-spinning stadium filler.

 

2. Deontay Wilder-Alexander Povetkin

Povetkin, mandatory to Wilder’s portion of the title, would be the perfect test of Wilder’s still-largely-untested pretensions of bringing American glory back to the heavyweight division.

Only count on this fight taking place if a deal can be arranged to bring it to America. If a purse bid dictates Russia, then Haymon will almost certainly have Wilder bin his belt.

 

3. Sergey Kovalev-Andre Ward

Probably the best fight that can realistically be made for next year, and, supposedly, a deal is already tentatively in place if they both win 1 or 2 interim bouts.

Can Ward make his layoff pay off, or will his years on the shelf rob him of the apex of his prime needed to beat the fearsome, also highly skilled Kovalev?

The winner of this one could lay a strong claim to pound for pound supremacy.

 

4. Adonis Stevenson-Artur Beterbiev

Stevenson-Kovalev never happened due to the Haymon/Main Events divide, but this is the next best thing.

It could be the logical passing of the Haymon 175lb. torch, as the unbeaten amateur sensation meets an ageing champion who has been on a steady diet of also-rans.

 

5. James DeGale-Badou Jack 

This fight would decide the #1 super middleweight in the world (sorry, Arthur Abraham), and is makeable because they are both with Haymon.

Jack has been a real success story in 2015 & his high-activity pressure style should be a good match with the slick, but hittable and sometimes lazy, southpaw DeGale.

 

6. Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin

Golovkin is Canelo’s mandatory but that doesn’t seem to mean much to the Mexican sanctioning body in question.

That said, the fight seems possible for September, would once & for all decide the true middleweight champion, and would either establish Canelo as a true Mexican great or give Golovkin the marquee name he’s been craving to propel him to PPV stardom and the big bucks his talent deserves.

 

7. Billy Joe Saunders-Chris Eubank Jr. II

They served up a thriller laced with bad blood in 2014, and, now that Saunders has a world title, it’s a rematch that makes sense next year.

It’s made more realistic due to Eubank’s surprise departure from Matchroom & Boxnation’s announcement of a new PPV outlet, meaning more money to make bigger matchups.

 

8. Kell Brook-Amir Khan

God, how we’ve longed for this fight.

Maybe now that Mayweather and Pacquiao have definitively given Khan the finger, he will finally take the big pot of gold on offer for a Brook Wembley showdown.

Does Khan still have the passion for boxing, fighting as infrequently as he has & begging in the media for big fights, rather than going out and earning them? Could that be the difference if it happens?

 

9. Keith Thurman-Shawn Porter

Rumoured for February or March, this is a fight fans have been calling for since Porter beat Broner in June.

He’ll get his shot at a career-defining win, and provide Thurman with a chance to justify his hype by taking on a top welterweight in his prime.

 

10. Viktor Postol-Terence Crawford

Who’s the best at 140lbs.?

This fight would decide all, and would match two of the best technicians in the sport. Let’s hope it happens before Crawford moves to welterweight & calls for super fights.

 

11. Takashi Uchiyama-Nicholas Walters

Uchiyama has long been one of the best fighters few outside the hardcore fans have heard of, and is the top man at 130lbs.

A rumoured trip to America to take on the rapidly rising ‘Axe Man’ Walters would be a premier matchup & chance to showcase his skills to the widest audience.

 

12. Gary Russell Jr.-Leo Santa Cruz

There are many excellent in-house fights that Haymon can make in his loaded featherweight stable, but this is the one that I like the most.

Russell’s speed versus Santa Cruz’s relentless pressure would be a delicious confrontation.

 

13. Roman Gonzalez-Juan Francisco Estrada II

Here we are again…

They served up a jr. flyweight thriller in 2012, and, as the top two boxers at flyweight, a rematch is a must.

Now that Gonzalez has made a name for himself on HBO, this could be bankrolled as a ‘Boxing After Dark’ headliner in the summer somewhere in America.

Winner versus Naoya Inoue in 2017, please?

3 thoughts on “Fights to look forward to in 2016?

  1. Enjoyed all your year-end writing, well done, sir!

    Like all serious fans, I would love to see these fights — these and many other politically unfeasible bouts — made with all due haste. Do I expect somewhat less? Only dreamers don’t.

    In the absence of sufficient marquee title fights between the best in 2014, I turned my attentions abroad, to other fighters, other nations, and was not often as disappointed in 2015. Delving further into the UK boxing scene in particular (chiefly through your site, iFL TV and Hatman on Youtube) made for a very fulfilling year in the sport.

    Here’s to 2016 and a good year of prize fighting.

    • Thanks, was a lot of fun to write them. Another brief piece with my remaining year end picks coming soon.

      In summing up the year, I’ve found that most of my 2015 highlights have also derived from the UK boxing landscape, where it was a marquee year, in spite of no major domestic superfight being consummated.

      Britain has 11 (according to some, 12) world titlists now, which I believe is a record number for the nation, and Frampton-Quigg, plus the intriguing returns of Haye (for all his detractors, he is a mainstream name & could be involved in some huge fights if he has even a fraction of his old form) and Groves are a great way to start 2016.

  2. Pingback: January 5th’s Random Boxing Rants | pound 4 pound ireland

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