THIS year seems like another great year for super-fights. The way things panned out last year seems to have set the stage for interesting match-ups to culminate this year.
Here’s our wish list:
1. Naoya Inoue vs. John Reil Casimero. Inoue emerged victorious in last year’s World Boxing Super Series bantamweight championship. He met the still formidable Nonito Donaire in the finals and was severely tested in a life-and-death struggle with the future Hall of Famer.
Casimero didn’t do too shabbily either. He knocked out all of his three opponents last year. So not only was he busy, he was also on a rampage. His last victim was the accomplished Zolani Tete where he annexed the WBO bantamweight belt.
Seems like this fight—meritocracy-wise--is a no-brainer. It will unify the belts and all parties seem interested in making this happen.
2. Terence Crawford vs. Errol Spence. Crawford’s fights last year all ended via the short route as Amir Khan and Edidjus Kavaliauskas fell victim to Bud’s blistering combinations.
Spence has emerged as one of the fight game’s superstars after defeating Shawn Porter via split decision in September of last year, but a horrific car accident has sidelined him indefinitely.
Thankfully, there were no serious injuries and his return this year is almost a certainty.
Perhaps he could do one tune up fight just to see how he feels and he can fight Crawford towards the last quarter of this year in a battle of undefeated welterweights.
3. Anthony Joshua vs. Deontay Wilder. Joshua was able to bounce back from a shocking defeat to Andy Ruiz to exact revenge in the rematch and put him back on top.
Unfortunately, his veneer of invincibility has all but disappeared and he desperately needs to defeat either Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder convincingly to reclaim his status as the best heavyweight in the planet.
Fury is set to fight Wilder next month, but the fight the fans really want to see is Wilder vs. Joshua because it is almost guaranteed to end in a spectacular stoppage.
4. Canelo Alvarez vs. Benavidez. Canelo added another feather to his cap when he moved up to light heavyweight to defeat Sergey Kovalev. This probably means a return to the middleweight division is unlikely.
I don’t think he can sustain his campaign at the 175-pound division, so the next best thing would be the super-middleweight division where a fight with David Benavidez would be ideal. Benavidez (22-0, 19KOs) would be a tough matchup for Alvarez but another belt at the 168-pound division would just be too good to pass up for Alvarez.
5. Manny Pacquiao vs. Shawn Porter. This fight makes sense style-wise. Pacquiao isn’t the punching dynamo he used to be but at age 41, has proven he is still an elite fighter. The hard-slugging, in-your-face- Porter is always a tough matchup for anyone and it would be interesting to see how he will fare against the Pacman’s generalship and deadly accuracy.
VERBATIM. “ Conor knows more about fighting than the rest of us put together”Trainer John Kavanagh (www.business.insider.com)
LAST ROUND. It’s on Hon. Judge Oscar Andrino, who recently retired after 40 virtuous years in government service. Cheers, judge and here’s to the best that’s yet to come.