9 of the most anticipated fights to be made in 2016
By Hector Franco
2016 will be a big year that will show us where boxing stands after 2015 that saw many changes in the political landscape. Boxing will always have daily news cycle and subjects such as fight negotiations and rumors will always be on the minds of boxing fans. What’s more important to boxing fans is simply that fights get made. Not just any fights, but fights that are meaningful within their respective divisions and if they are stylistically likely to produce fireworks that’s all for the better.
We’ll be looking at nine of the most anticipated fights that could take place in 2016. Some of these fights have already been in discussion and are more likely than others to actually take place.
2016 will not likely be able to match 2015 in terms of the large scale events that took place such as Mayweather-Pacquiao, but if it can produce more high-quality competitive bouts it will in the longer term leave a greater legacy behind.
Canelo Alvarez (46-1-1 32 KO)
vs. Gennady Golovkin (34-0 31 KO)
Without question if for some reason a Mayweather-Pacquiao rematch takes place this is the biggest fight that can be made in 2016. If all goes well it will be for all four of the middleweight titles and prove without a shadow of a doubt who the best middleweight in the world is. Not only is this bout huge for the sport itself, but also as an event it will be hard to top.
If the bout takes place in the right location specifically in the state of Texas, it could bring in a large crowd and showcase the everlasting drawing power of the sport of boxing. Let’s not forget to mention this bout for as long is it lasts will be very exciting. The winner will also have one more contender waiting on the outside in Danny Jacobs whose speed and power could prove to be detrimental to either fighter.
Roman Gonzalez (44-0 38 KO)
vs. Juan Francisco Estrada (33-2 24 KO)
If you haven’s seen the first fight between these two men that you need to do yourself a favor and watch it on YouTube. It was one of the best fights of 2012 and one of the toughest bouts of the current pound for pound king’s career. Since their first meeting Estrada has improved and earned his way back into contention by winning titles and defeating the same opponents as Gonzalez in just as impressive fashion.
Gonzalez has been put on the world stage by being featured on Golovkin undercards since their first meeting. If this bout were to take place on the undercard of Canelo-Golovkin PPV, it may just be the best PPV card of the last two decades. The winner would be the best Flyweight in the world.
Naoya Inoue (9-0 8 KO)
vs. Carlos Cuadras (34-0 26 K0)
Another bout that could take place in the lower weight classes in the Super Flyweight division that could bring more attention to the lower weight classes. Inoue is a prodigy and has shown a veteran skillset early in his career. He seems ready to take on the other champions in the division. Cuadras has been one of the best fighters in the lower weight classes for years and is looking for the opportunity to get his name out there.
This could be a sleeper for most boxing fans and will likely take place in Japan with it being unavailable as a live feed over in the States, but if it takes place it will prove to be exciting and once again bring a clear best in another division.
Takashi Uchiyama (24-0-1 20 KO)
vs. Nicholas Walters (26-0-1 21 KO)
If were going to be going to Japan, we might as well see arguably the best fighter from the country. Uchiyama has been putting in work for a long time. He as of the start of this year had 10 successful title defenses with nine coming by way of knockout. He may be the best body puncher in the sport today. His knockouts over Jaider Parra and Oliver Flores resulted in broken ribs for both fighters and are of the most brutal in recent years.
For Uchiyama a fight against fellow 130-pound puncher Nicholas Walters would give him notoriety outside of Japan and further cement himself as one of the best fighters in the world. As far as excitement it will be hard to beat this
Terence Crawford (27-0 19 KO)
vs. Viktor Postol (28-0 12 KO)
Many were looking forward to seeing Crawford in the ring this year with Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao had different plans and chose a rubber match with Timothy Bradley instead. Thankfully for Terence Crawford there are still many options for him in the 140-pound division. The stiffest challenge for Crawford would be against undefeated Viktor Postol.
Postol is one of the most unorthodox and awkward fighters in the sport and would prove to be a difficult night for any one in the division. Postol has recently frustrated his opponents in the first half of bouts only to send them to the canvass for good in the later rounds. Postol is a fighter whose record is deceiving while he doesn’t have many wins by knockout it doesn’t mean that he cannot hurt you. A match up between the two would crown a new 140-pound king and lead to bigger money fights at welterweight.
Amir Khan (31-3 19 KO)
vs. Kell Brook (35-0 24 KO)
A long awaited match up that now has the biggest chance of taking place than ever before. Now that it looks like Khan will not be getting a Pacquiao or Mayweather match up that he has put his career on hold to get, Kell Brook is his biggest payday. Khan wasted 2015 waiting for a match up with Pacquiao and only fought once, a close fight that could have been scored either way against, Chris Algieri.
This is a heated U.K. rivalry that has been brewing for years and now that Brook is the IBF champion, a bout between the two would mean so much more. These two welterweights are the only in the division that can sell out a large arena and if promoted correctly may be able to match the 80,000 in Wembley that Froch-Groves did in 2014.
Keith Thurman (26-0 22 KO)
vs. Shawn Porter (26-1 16 KO)
Speaking of the welterweight division, a bout between Thurman-Porter could be the beginning of a pseudo welterweight tournament. This would a bout between the two best welterweights promoted by Al Haymon. These two have known each other personally for years and fought in the amateurs as well as numerous sparring sessions.
There seems to be a bit of growing tension between the camps as the Porter camp feels like the fight could have taken place in 2015, but because of some hesitation on the side of Thurman it has been stalled. If the bout does end up taking place in 2016, it will be on paper the biggest fight the PBC has put on since debuting in March of 2015.
Sergey Kovalev (28-0 25 KO)
vs. Adonis Stevenson (27-1 22 KO)
The long awaited light heavyweight championship battle that seems to have been forgotten by boxing fans. At this point most fans have moved on and have crowned Kovalev as the king of the division. There is still the matter of having to prove it in the ring. A bout most fans have been clamoring for since the end of 2013 may be close to happening in the summer of 2016 as it seems that Kovalev’s promoter, Main Events, is pushing heavily for the bout to take place no matter the cost.
Stevenson has to be willing to play ball as well. Since 2013 his stock has significantly dropped and of the two fighters he seems to have regressed rather than progress. The bout still holds great significance in the sport. Not only would the best light heavyweight be officially crowned with all of the organizational title belts, but also it would be a sign of a change in the political landscape. To make this fight happen the two promotions would have to work together and if they can it would be a great sign for the sport that more may be on the way in the future.
In the meantime, there is the possibility of a bout for Kovalev with former Super Middleweight king Andre Ward. This would be a great silver medal compared to a Stevenson bout, but if Ward were to take on the winner of a Kovalev-Stevenson match up, the criticism he has built up since 2012 with fans and critics alike will disappear as there is no way Ward could be criticized for facing the best light heavyweight.
Deontay Wilder (36-0 35 KO)
vs. Tyson Fury (25-0 18 KO)
The biggest prize in all of sports at one time was the heavyweight title. The man who ruled the sports world was the Heavy weight champion. If Fury once again gets past Wladimir Klitschko in a rematch, the next step is facing WBC champion Deontay Wilder. This would be the match up that if promoted like a Mayweather bout with coverage on ESPN and other American sports media networks could put the division back on top. Both men know how to sell a fight and are a great interview. The bout could be marketed as a U.S. vs. U.K. bout and if it takes place overseas in the U.K. it will likely be another huge crowd that could reach 80,000 fans.
Fury and Wilder are young enough to start a rivalry within the division and fight more than once if the bouts are close and exciting enough. What better way to start off the next generation in boxing by having a new rivalry in what once was the most prestigious division? The heavyweight champion could once again reign supreme in the sport of boxing.