If 2017 ended today, it’d go down as one of the better years for Boxing in recent memory. Unification bouts involving Keith Thurman vs. Danny Garcia, Terrence Crawford vs. Julius Indongo, perennial pound for pounders such as Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev clashing, along with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin. Mainstream fans were appeased by the ballyhooed Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor circus, and who didn’t enjoy the slugfest between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko?
That being said, there’s still three months remaining in 2017, so let’s discuss the contests that will put the finishing touches on what’s already been a fantastic year.
October 14th – Erislandy Lara (24-2-2, 14 KO's) vs. Terrell Gausha (20-0, 9 KO's), Jermell Charlo (29-0, 14 KO's) vs. Erickson Lubin (18-0, 13 KO's), Jarrett Hurd (20-0 14 KO's) vs. Austin Trout (30-3, 17 KO's) - What HBO did for the Super Flyweight division, Showtime is aiming to achieve with the Super Welters; match the best against the best, on the same card, in hopes of propelling the winners to more meaningful outings. Cuban stud, Erislandy Lara, risks his world title at 154 pounds against undefeated 2012 U.S. Olympian, Terrell Gausha.
The most anticipated affair of the evening pits WBC titlist, Jermell Charlo, against burgeoning superstar Erickson Lubin. Many have tabbed Lubin as the next big thing in Pugilism, but Charlo will be by far the biggest, toughest test of his young career. In the televised Showtime opener, Jarrett Hurd will look to use former belt holder, Austin Trout, as a stepping stone.
October 14th - Leo Santa Cruz (31-1-1, 18 KO's) vs. Cris Avalos (27-5, 20 KO's) and Abner Mares (30-2-1, 15 KO's) vs. Andres Gutierrez (35-1-1, 25 KO's) – On the same night, FOX will highlight the Featherweight division as WBA champion, Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares compete in separate bouts. Hopefully, these two will share a ring in 2018.
October 19th – Gabriel Rosado (23-11, 13 KO’s) vs. Glen Tapia (23-4, 15 KO’s) – Say what you want about the records of Gabriel Rosado and Glen Tapia; they’re very rarely boring. That’s precisely why they’ll be throwing hands before a worldwide audience on ESPN 2. Rosado is the quintessential “Philly fighter” with a litany of fan friendly battles to prove it. Golovkin, Charlo, Kassim Ouma, David Lemieux, Joshua Clottey, Peter Quillin, J’Leon Love, Rosado’s boldly engaged each and every one of them. Tapia was being fast tracked to the upper echelon of prospects until he was freight trained by James Kirkland. Tapia’s career has been up and down since and October 19th is probably a must-win scenario for both he and Rosado, in terms of headlining a televised card.
October 21st – Albert Machado (18-0, 15 KO’s) vs. Jezreel Corrales (22-1, 8 KO’s) – Vasyl Lomachenko’s the man at 130 pounds, but Machado and Corrales are vying for the right to be the 2nd most highly thought of fighter in the division. Machado’s wiped his ass with just about everyone he’s faced thus far, but WBA titlist, Corrales, is well traveled and punches harder than his ledger indicates. HBO will televise.
October 28th – Anthony Joshua (19-0, 19 KO’s) vs. Kubrat Pulev (25-1, 13 KO’s) – It remains to be seen which American network broadcasts Joshua’s next fight. Showtime featured his last few outings, but HBO joined the party for the changing of the guard war with Klitschko and both channels aired it simultaneously. Joshua has all the ingredients to become Boxing’s most important heavyweight since Mike Tyson, and Pulev is the perfect foil to demonstrate why.
November 2nd – Jesus Soto-Karass (28-12-4, 18 KO’s) vs. Juan Carlos Abregu (19-3-1, 18 KO’s) – Like the Rosado vs Tapia pairing, ESPN2 recognizes Soto-Karass vs. Abregu is all but guaranteed to produce fireworks. Soto-Karass brought heat to Andre Berto, Keith Thurman, Devon Alexander and Marcos Maidana. Abregu’s tough, hits hard and like Soto-Karass, isn’t terribly hard to find. On paper, this has the makings of donnybrook.
November 4th – Deontay Wilder (38-0, 37 KO’s) vs. Bermane Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KO’s) – Wilder, a 2008 U.S. Olympian, was originally slated to square off with Luis Ortiz, but the Cuban Olympian, tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. This marks the 3rd Wilder foe to fail a pre-fight drug screen and sheds light on how leery other heavyweights are of the “Bronze Bomber”. Bermane Stiverne was fighting on the undercard anyways, against 2012 U.S. Olympian, Dominic Breazeale, and jumped at the opportunity to avenge his loss to Wilder, from early 2015, also on Showtime. To date, Stiverne’s the only boxer alive to last 12 full rounds with Wilder.
November 11th – Jessie Magdaleno (25-0, 18 KO’s) vs. Cesar Juarez (20-5, 15 KO’s), Artur Beterbiev (11-0, 11 KO’s) vs. Enrico Koelling (23-1, 6 KO’s) – On the same ESPN show, WBO Super Bantamweight champion, Jessie Magdaleno, puts his laurels at stake as Artur Beterbiev and Enrico Koelling duke it out for the vacant IBF Light Heavweight strap.
Daniel Jacobs (32-2, 29 KO’s) vs. Luis Arias (18-0, 9 KO’s) – Arguably, Daniel Jacobs fared better against Triple G than Canelo did, all things considered. Can’t recall anyone (other than corrupt judge, Adelaide Byrd) claiming Alvarez beat Golovkin, yet a good number of fans will tell you Jacobs did. HBO signed Jacobs to a multi fight contract and his reward is the unbeaten Arias.
November 25th – Sergey Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KO’s) vs. Vyacheslev Shabranskyy (19-1, 16 KO’s) – Soviet Bloc bombs will be dropped, when Russian, Kovalev. looks to detonate his fists upon Ukrainian, Shabranskyy. Kovalev needs to regroup from his shocking body-shot (and low-blow) induced stoppage loss to Andre Ward, but HBO damn sure ain’t serving up a softie in Shabransky.
December 9th – Vasyl Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KO’s) vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KO’s) – For fight fans, Christmas comes 16 days early, courtesy of ESPN. Not only two of the greatest amateur Pugilists ever, but two of the very best in the world, currently, play a fistic game of Chess, much to the delight of the hardcore sect. In terms of all around Boxing skill, there won’t be a better fight this year.
Bear in mind, the aforementioned encounters represent those signed to close out what has already been a stellar year in 2017. Elite level practitioners, Golovkin, IBF Welterweight champion, Errol “The Truth” Spence, Jr., WBC Lightweight ruler, Mikey Garcia, and others are itching to sneak in one more occasion before 2018, as well.