The Big Question: Which fight in early 2017 are you most looking forward to?
With several major match-ups already inked into the boxing calendar for early 2017, we asked the Boxing Monthly online team which impending contest they are most looking forward to...
The scheduled fight that I’m most looking forward to in the early part of 2017 has got to be Danny ‘Swift’ Garcia vs. Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman. With such a stacked 147 pound division, it is about time that some of these top match-ups started being made, and what better place to start than with these two American superstars?
Garcia has previously proved that he is an elite fighter in the division with convincing wins over Lucas Matthysse and Amir Khan, but has since only really faced one top opponent in Lamont Peterson. Often referred to as a ‘cherry picker’, Garcia will now face arguably his toughest test to date when he squares up against Thurman, who like Garcia, has an unblemished record.
This is certainly the biggest fight made so far through the PBC, a structure which was supposed to provide these types of bout on a far more regular basis. With Kell Brook likely to face Errol Spence Jr in his next match-up, this fight will go a long way to deciding who the top dog is at welterweight, and hopefully can set up a unification clash between the WBC, WBA and IBF titles.
It is likely that the fight will begin as a chess match, with neither boxer wanting to be hurt early; but as the styles gel and the leather is traded, this has all the ingredients to turn into an exciting fire-fight down the stretch and hopefully set the tone for what could potentially be a huge year in which several mega fights are finally made. - Luke Byron
Plenty to choose from, but the Carl Frampton vs Leo Santa Cruz rematch is what stands out for me. The first fight was a cracker, and the rematch promises more of the same. Frampton surprised me the first time round; can he do it a second time? Will Santa Cruz recover from his first defeat? Will he choose to use that reach advantage more, and if so, will Frampton let him? The fact it is the headliner of a card also featuring a mouth watering fight between undefeated duo Mikey Garcia and Dejan Zlaticanin only adds to what promises to be a great night of boxing. - James Oddy
The most meaningful bout on the schedule for early 2016 is DeGale vs Jack because it will crown a new champion at super middleweight and create demand for a possible future challenge to middleweight kingpin Gennady Golovkin. However, I am most excited about Thurman vs Garcia. Not only is this the best match-up in the brief history of the PBC, but there are numerous possibilities for the winner. Can a fight between the victor and Manny Pacquiao be made? How about Floyd Mayweather when he returns for “50”? Terence Crawford? Tim Bradley? Errol Spence? Kell Brook? Sign me up for any of those! - Michael Montero
Despite there being a few interesting fights scheduled I am actually not overly excited right now. The two stand-out fights scheduled for me are DeGale vs Jack, with Callum Smith in the wings for the winner, and GGG-Jacobs. Even though it is going to be a one-sided hammering, I look forward to GGG clearing up the WBA malarky in a decent shoot-out (the only other opponents he truly has are: Saunders, Eubank Jr and Canelo). However, the most exciting fight for the new year is one which has only just been signed: Joshua vs Klitschko. - Colin Harris
In terms of fights already announced for next year Frampton vs Santa Cruz should be good again although I don't think Santa Cruz has the versatility to change things. DeGale vs Jack is a really intriguing clash and one that could definitely go either way. Whilst DeGale is the more athletic and naturally gifted his tendency to sit on the ropes and coast during rounds gives Jack a great chance. The Swede is easily one of the most improved fighters in the sport and his solid methodical approach has seen him score some excellent victories of late. - Marcus Bellinger
2017 is already shaping up to be a really good year for Boxing and I think Al Haymon deserves a lot of the credit for that. A couple of months ago many were writing PBC's obituary but it's apparent now that reports of PBC's death were greatly exaggerated. For me Carl Frampton is the Fighter of the Year for 2016 and for him to trek to the West Coast to rematch Santa Cruz shows that while many talk about doing big things, 'The Jackal' does big things.
I would have to admit that Frampton is probably my favourite active fighter right now, but despite this my pick for best fight announced has to be Thurman vs Garcia. It would be easy to look at Thurman as the heir apparent to Floyd Mayweather since his retirement; he's young, personable, has a cool nick name ('One Time') and can bang a bit. Garcia is very much the heel in this equation; he has a lot of the same attributes as Thurman - he's young also and has some pop - but his career has somewhat stagnated since dominating Lucas Matthysse back in 2013.
While Garcia is still undefeated he's been happy to take on fights and opponents in which he's been a heavy favourite. While most will go for Thurman, I feel like Garcia always boxes at the level of his opponent and wouldn't be terribly surprised if he beat Thurman comfortably. I think the winner would have a genuine claim at being No. 1 in the division. It's truly a 50-50 fight in an age where that term is banded about far too often. - Callum Rudge
The recently signed and sealed Joshua vs Klitschko clash comes close as a classic crossroads heavyweight clash, but I really can't wait for Frampton vs Santa-Cruz II; so much so that I'll make the trip to Vegas to see it. The first clash reminded us why we fell in love with boxing in the first place: no real hype, just two top class boxer-fighters treating us to twelve rounds of superb, exciting technical boxing. Both warriors underlined the 'feel good' atmosphere attached to the contest in showing real class towards each other afterwards, with Frampton then famously spending part of his purse on a huge celebration round for supporters at a jubilant NYC Irish pub. More of the same please! - Chris Williamson
I think 2017 is shaping up to be a great year for boxing, with so many mouthwatering match-ups already signed or scheduled. Jack vs DeGale, Thurman vs Garcia, Frampton vs Santa Cruz II and Joshua vs Klitschko are all fascinating prospects, however, for me, Gennady Golovkin vs Danny Jacobs is the most enticing of the lot. I can't wait to see the two best fighters in the middleweight division go head to head at the most iconic venue in boxing. GGG looks like a legend in the making, but Kell Brook proved he can be hit - and the hard-punching 'Miracle Man' looks certain to test his chin. Roll on 18 March! - Luke G. Williams
NB. Some of the above contributions were written before Joshua vs Klitscho and Golovkin vs Jacobs were signed.