Happy New Year to one and all.
To quote Michael Woods of The Sweet Science in America:
“I would like boxing to get to a point where so much of our coverage is not regarding negotiations’ and will they or won’t they conjecture.”
That is a vision that I think we all yearn for in the future of the sport. With that being said, let’s look at how the landscape lies currently – which fights are confirmed and who the big-names have been linked with:
17th January – MGM Grand, Las Vegas
Bermaine Stiverne v Deontay Wilder – WBC Heavyweight title.
Leo Santa Cruz v Jesus Ruiz – WBC Super Bantamweight title.
24th January – 1st Bank Centre, Colorado
Mike Alvarado v Brandon Rios III – Welterweight.*
*Alvarado recently arrested on weapons charge. Fight could be postponed*
Gilberto Ramirez v Maxim Vlasov – Super Middleweight.
31st January – O2 Arena, London
Anthony Joshua v Kevin Johnson – WBC International Heavyweight title.
Kevin Mitchell v Daniel Estrada – WBC Silver Lightweight title.
John Ryder v Les Sherrington – WBO International Middleweight title.
Tyler Goodjohn v John Wayne Hibbert – WBC International Light-Welter title.
Ricky Boylan v Tommy Martin – English Light-Welter title.
21st February – Monte Carlo, Monaco
Gennady Golovkin v Martin Murray – WBA Super & WBC Interim titles.
Lee Haskins v Omar Lamiri – EBU Bantamweight title.
Hughie Fury v Andriy Rudenko – Heavyweight.
21st February – O2 Arena, Berlin
Arthur Abraham v Paul Smith II – WBO Super-Middle world title.
28th February – O2 Arena, London
Tyson Fury v Christian Hammer – WBO International Heavyweight title.
Chris Eubank Jr v Dmitry Chudinov – WBA Interim Middleweight world title.
28th February – Odyssey Arena, Belfast
Carl Frampton v Chris Avalos – IBF Super-Bantamweight world title
11th April – First Direct Arena, Leeds
Josh Warrington v Dennis Tubieron – WBC Featherweight title eliminator.
Martin J Ward v Maxi Hughes – Super Featherweight.
There may be some that I’ve missed and no doubt the above confirmed fights will swell significantly in the coming weeks.
So that covers what is signed & sealed so far, but where are we with the pending super-fights and other big names?
IBF Welterweight champion Brook is due to make his long-awaited comeback after the horrific injury he suffered in Autumn last year.
With an inaugural homecoming in March scheduled – attention turns to who he is likely to face. Names such as Juan Manuel Marquez and Paulie Malignaggi have been linked, but he could end up facing his mandatory challenger Jo Jo Dan.
After a complete shut-out against Devon Alexander before Christmas, Khan has made no secret in his desire to face Floyd Mayweather Jr in May.
The consensus is he will miss out again and a blockbuster fight at Wembley in the summer against Kell Brook for me appears the most logical and lucrative move.
Strong rumours persist that the fight against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in Las Vegas is signed for 28th March – all we are awaiting is the confirmation.
The fight will be a dual PPV in the UK and in America on HBO. James DeGale is the Cobra’s IBF mandatory and he has had an extension until the end of January to either negotiate with DeGale or vacate – smart money is on the latter.
To continue the “dominos-effect” theme in British boxing – DeGale will fight next for the IBF world title, be it against Froch or Andre Dirrell who is next in the rankings.
Promoter Eddie Hearn has openly discussed the possibility of making James DeGale v George Groves II for said belt but whether Dirrell would side step remains to be seen.
Regardless DeGale v Groves II is a must for 2015.
Similar to DeGale, Groves’ next fight is also for a world title – the WBC belt against champion Anthony Dirrell, brother of Andre…. (try to stay with me!!)
Groves has made no secret in his desire to fight for the WBC belt next, if he was to win a fight with DeGale in a unification bout (should he win of course) would make the rematch even bigger.
Former two-weight world champion Burns is now back at Lightweight after his last fight was at Light-Welter.
The Rickster has already signed to face a big-name in a rumoured World title fight in America – with confirmation imminent.
Floyd Mayweather Jr
THE fight we should have had in 2009 but still haven’t – yawn – is “close” to being made.
If I’m honest, I’ll believe it when they are both in the ring – so I will refrain from boring you on it. I doubt it will happen so rumours have been circulating of Mayweather v Cotto II as Cotto’s ongoing talks with Canelo Alvarez appear to be dragging on.
In truth none of us bar Floyd & Al Haymon have any clue who he will fight next.
As above talks are ongoing with Canelo Alvarez’s camp regarding a fight on Cinco De Mayo. Personally I’d love to see that fight – Puerto Rico v Mexico is one of the fiercest rivalries in the sport.
A rematch with Mayweather Jr doesn’t excite me if I’m honest – regardless of having Freddie Roach in his corner.
Gennady Golovkin is now mandatory for his WBC title and that would be monstrous in Autumn.
So as you can see there is plenty happening in the background. This January in boxing feels like the UK football transfer window has a rival with the rumour mill going in to overdrive.
By the end of this month we should know who all the big-hitters are up against.
2015 could truly be spectacular….