Canelo vs GGG tops wishlist
Luke G. Williams
With a genuine super-fight in Andre Ward vs Sergey Kovalev fast approaching, Luke G. Williams lists four other pugilistic showdowns he longs to see as soon as possible ...
1. Gennady Golovkin vs Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez
Who's duckin' who? Who cares! All concerned just need to make this goddamn fight. And they need to make it as soon as possible before the 34-year-old Golovkin begins to slide and we end up with another 'over-marinated', boxing-damaging MayPac-esque farrago.
After their recent wins against Kell Brook and Liam Smith few would dare predict the outcome of this titanic showdown with any certainty. The fact that it is in both men's pugilistic make-up to be willing to take a shot or two in order to land even more also indicates that it could be a war for the ages - and thus a fight that will help restore some of pugilism's somewhat faded mainstream appeal.
Likelihood of happening in 2017? 9 out of 10 - surely all concerned can't blow this golden opportunity. Can they?
Who would win? Before their fights last month I would have plumped for Golovkin without hesitation, now I'm not so sure. Canelo looks like he is improving all the time and his punch variety against Smith impressed me greatly. If this match-up happens before the end of 2017 I would favour Golovkin to edge a close encounter on points, any later and I think Canelo will sneak it.
2. Roman Gonzalez vs Naoya Inoue
Nicaraguan master boxer and P4P king Gonzalez is now a four-weight world 'titlist' with an unbeaten ledger of 46-0 after besting Carlos Cuadras in September in a WBC super-flyweight showdown. At 29, though, Gonzalez may have just passed his peak, while he is also now operating a few pounds higher than his ideal weight.
Enter Japanese sensation Inoue - still only 23 - and now 11-0 with 9 knockouts. In Gonzalez vs Inoue we thus have the prospect of a 'master vs young pretender' style showdown. Both men can bang and box. Inoue is trying to advance his reputation to the next level; Gonzalez has his P4P reputation to protect and, potentially, Rocky Marciano's perfect 49-0 record to break. What's not to like?
Likelihood of happening in 2017? 8 out of 10. Japanese promoter Akihiko Honda (Gonzalez) and the Ohashi Gym (Inoue) have worked together in the past and would happily do so again. The only stumbling block might be the perceived risk to reward ratio for both men, particularly with HBO's boxing budget looking somewhat bare. Neither man seems the sort to back down from a challenge though, so I'm cautiously optimistic ...
Who would win? I don't think Gonzalez is the force at super fly that he was at his three previous title-winning weights. I therefore have an inkling that Inoue's youth and murderous body punching may give him the edge in a contest redolent with 'changing of the guard' significance.
3. Wladimir Klitschko vs Anthony Joshua
Even given the current absence of champion Tyson Fury, the heavyweight division is highly intriguing right now with plenty of fascinating contests that could be brokered. Bouts involving any combination of Klitschko, Wilder, Joshua, Haye, Parker and Ortiz would be welcome but this fight is, arguably, the most fascinating of them all.
The powerful Joshua has swept all before him thus far in his pro career, but has never fought anyone with the experience of the giant Ukrainian. As for Klitschko, since losing the title to Fury last November he has been thirsting for revenge. Is he all washed up or does he still have a couple of great fights left in him? I am desperate to find out.
Likelihood of happening in 2016 (or 2017)? 5 out of 10. The camps are talking but conflicting US television alliances may well stymie this one.
Who would win? The listless, gun-shy Klitschko who was beaten by Fury would most likely be bombed out by Joshua. But Wladmir is now riding in the last-chance saloon, which makes him dangerous. His skills and experience might just give him the edge over the young British pretender.
4. Carl Frampton vs Guillermo Rigondeaux
I realise I might be on my own on this one ... A few weekends back I asked my followers on Twitter what their 2017 dream showdowns would be and barely anyone mentioned Frampton vs Rigo.
To me though, it's a natural match-up which would perfectly showcase a wondrous contrast in styles - namely, Frampton's limitless desire and intensity against Rigo's incredible ring-craft and defensive wizardry. The Cuban is a divisive figure, but I see him as one of the purest fistic talents the world has seen in recent years. I would love to see his skills challenged against Frampton's power, energy and pressure.
Likelihood of happening in 2017? 0 out of 10. Rigondeaux is quite simply not a box office draw and is also life president of the "who needs him?" club. In contrast, Frampton possesses huge commercial appeal and is eyeing more lucrative and less potentially embarrassing assignments than the prospect of being outboxed and outfoxed by Rigondeaux. Rigo claims he would take the fight in a heartbeat, but Frampton and his team have already stated they have little interest in facing the Cuban master boxer.
Who would win? A victory against Rigo would enhance 'the Jackal's' legacy immeasurably. Although, as alluded to above, Frampton runs the risk that he would be soundly outboxed and made to look foolish by the Cuban, I actually think that if this fight was ever made at featherweight (a weight Rigondeaux has never fought at) Frampton would edge it on a late stoppage. To me Rigondeaux looks vulnerable against a big puncher and high intensity opponent and that, my friends, is Frampton's metier.