“…and this Christmas will be a very special Christmas for me!” – Donnie Hathaway
Peace on earth, good will to man; until they step in the squared circle to throw hands. Tis’ the season, Happy Holidays, Feliz Navidad, Happy Kwanzaa, etc., etc. Whichever way you choose to frame it, Christmas is here. Santa’s made his list, checked it twice and found Boxing to be way less naughty than nice. As such, on this day, this Christmas, Pugilism Company speaks on fistic presents we long for and promise not to open until 2018. We pinky swear.
Anthony Joshua (20-0, 20 KO’s) vs. Deontay Wilder (39-0, 38 KO’s) – Catching a pretty girl under the mistletoe pales in comparison to this. Best fight to be made in our sport, bar none. Joshua brings the IBF and WBA heavyweight titles to the fray, with Wilder proudly carrying the WBC’s version. Not only will both sides of the Atlantic Ocean pay attention to this pairing, the entire world will. The feasibility of this transpiring in 2018 is predicated solely on “A.J.”.
“The Bronze Bomber” would sign the dotted line tomorrow, if he could. Joseph Parker (24-0, 18 KO’s) appears to be next up to bat for Joshua, who speaks of competing 3 times in the New Year. Wilder may finally get around to facing habitual drug cheat, Luis Ortiz (28-0, 24 KO’s), in the interim, with former champions Tyson Fury (25-0, 18 KO’s) and Alexander Povetkin (33-1, 23 KO’s) looming as other options for both men.
Light Heavyweight Unification – With Sergey Kovalev (31-2-1, 27 KO’s) recently regaining a strap, 3 of the 4 current belt holders at 175 pounds are of Russian descent. There’s also Dmitry Bivol (12-0, 10 KO’s) and Artur Beterbiev (12-0, 12 KO’s), who, like Kovalev, are as cold as the North Pole. Bivol is signed to face troublesome contender, Sullivan Barrera (21-1, 14 KO’s), early 2018. At the same time, Beterbiev and Kovalev have both expressed interest in unifying sooner rather than later. Of all the items on Pugilism’s Christmas List, this might have the highest probability of coming to fruition.
Canelo (49-1-2, 34 KO’s) vs. Triple G II (37-0-1, 33 KO’s) – While a draw wasn’t the worst verdict ever, the 118-110 scorecard, in Canelo’s favor, suggests Adelaide Byrd was sipping on spiked egg nog ringside, judging the first fight under the influence. A rematch is a must, devoid of controversy this time. We not only demand a definitive winner, but ensuing battles with the likes of Daniel Jacobs (33-2, 29 KO’s), Billy Joe Saunders (26-0, 12 KO’s), Jermall Charlo (26-0, 20 KO’s) and Demetrius Andrade (25-0, 16 KO’s), all of whom are very interested in tangling with the Middleweight elite.
ERROL SPENCE vs LAMONT PETERSON
Clarity at 147 pounds – Keith Thurman (28-0, 22 KO’s) possesses half of the 4 Welterweight belts, but he’s clearly not ready to claim the IBF designation anytime soon, owned by Errol Spence Jr (22-0, 19 KO’s). Thurman’s on record saying the soonest he’ll meet Spence in the ring is 2019, which falls just shy of ducking him altogether. Spence is like poor Rudolph and Thurman’s not allowing him to join in any reindeer games. The 2012 U.S. Olympian will be facing Lamont Peterson (35-3-1, 17 KO’s) January 20th instead, and has all but begged for the biggest bouts and best opposition possible.
Spicing up the weight class is Terence Crawford (32-0, 23 KO’s), undisputed champion at 140 pounds, who will be campaigning at Welterweight in 2018. Crawford’s on the fast track to WBO titlist, Jeff Horn (18-0-1, 12 KO’s), who upset Manny Pacquiao Summer of 2017, and looks to milk a title defense prior to Crawford.
Vasyl Lomachenko (10-1, 8 KO’s) vs. Mikey Garcia (37-0, 30 KO’s) – Fresh off of making Cuban legend, Guillermo Rigondeaux quit in his corner, Lomachenko’s future is as bright as Rudolph’s red nose. Lomachenko will first need to decide if he’s moving up to 135 or maintaining his spot as ruler of 130. There’s attractive names everywhere but the one that sticks out to Boxing fans is Mikey Garcia, WBC lightweight champion. Garcia met Adrien Broner at 140 pounds, earlier this year (winning decisively) and will be vying for his third world title in as many divisions, early 2018. By the Summer he should be moving back down to unify at 135 against Jorge Linares (43-3, 27 KO’s), but he’ll leave room for a big fight to close out the year; preferably against Lomachenko.
The beauty of this wish list is it doesn’t consist of pie-in-the-sky dreaming. Each of these items has been discussed at length and has a legitimate chance of occurring in 2018. There’s also realistic unification possibilities at Jr. Middleweight and a potential Super Flyweight barn burner between studs, Sor Rungvisai (44-4-1, 40 KO’s) and Naoya Inoue (14-0, 12 KO’s).
Merry Christmas to All and to All Some Good Fights!!!