Hellraiser Boxing News | 2018 Boxing Wish List
Jason Doherty lists his top five boxing wishes for 2018.
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5. Naoya Inoue Headlines a Big Show in the UK or USA.
Naoya Inoue is one of those fighters who, despite being one of the top pound for pound boxers in the world, remains largely unknown to a large portion of the global boxing public. "The Monster," currently in possession of the WBO super-flyweight championship, having previously held the WBC light-flyweight title, is a two-weight world champion, who is undefeated in 15 fights, with all but two of his victories coming by way of knockout. However, the 24 year old is yet to headline a card outside of his native Japan, with his only appearance Stateside coming on the undercard to Roman Gonzalez' loss to Wisaksil Wangek, last September.
Fighters competing in the lower weight classes have rarely been given the media attention many of their talents have perhaps deserved, and as a result fight fans have missed out on some of the best displays of boxing skills that the sport has to offer. The aforementioned Roman Gonazalez topped most pound for pound lists, following the retirement of Floyd Mayweather in 2015, yet rarely appeared on mainstream television in the United States, or the UK. A fight between Inoue and Gonzalez had been touted as one which could finally give fighters competing in the lower weight classes centre stage, but the Nicaraguan's recent loss of form has seen a decline in the calls for that bout to be made.
With explosive KO power, coupled with the technical brilliance only such a small fighter could possess, Inoue is one of the most devastating fighters in boxing, and having him headline a big UK show, possibly against WBA champion Khalid Yafai, or indeed a card in Las Vegas or New York, would be a real treat for all hardcore boxing fans.
4. Fans Just Forget About Floyd
Floyd Mayweather is perhaps the greatest fighter anyone under the age of 35 has ever watched live, and has been a magnificent servant to boxing. Mayweather played a massive role in keeping boxing mainstream, during what were at times very dark days for the sport, and in the face of the ever increasing popularity of mixed martial arts.
However, despite his fights being viewed by many fans as the most boring the sport has to offer, Mayweather remains the most recognizable face in boxing, a fact which has the potential to prove very detrimental. With Mayweather continuing to hog most of the media attention, the exploits of some cracking fighters have been practically ignored.
In a year where Terence Crawford became the first undisputed champion in over a decade, and 6 of the top 10 fighters in the world (Ward v Kovalev, Golovkin v Canelo, Lomachenko v Rigondeaux) faced off against one another, it was a fight between Mayweather, returning from a two year lay off, and a mixed martial artist which was the most talked about.
At 40 years of age, there is very little Mayweather can offer boxing from within the confines of the squared circle, and it's time that fans and media alike began to focus on the future of the sport. With the big money fight with Floyd out of the picture, the top fighters are now starting to chase unification and legacy defining fights, which will be much more beneficial to boxing in the ling run.
3. Roy Jones Junior Finally Retires
There are very few athletes who have achieved as much as Roy Jones Jr has in boxing. Jones, named fighter of the decade for the 1990's, is a former four weight champion, and became the first former middleweight champion to win a title in the heavyweight division for over a century, when he defeated John Ruiz for the WBA championship in 2003. Added to that, Jones is also regarded as one of the finest boxing commentators currently on television.
Yet for one reason or another Roy just continues to fight, which is having a damaging effect on his legacy. Two losses in 13 fights over the last seven years might seem like a decent record, but his victories in that time have come over a string of fighters who would have no right to share a ring with Roy Jones Jr in his prime, whilst his losses came in the form of two brutal knockouts, by Denis Lebedev and Enzo Maccarinelli respectively, which were quite painful to watch for anyone who followed the fighter during his glory days.
Jones has no financial difficulties that any of us are aware of, still has his faculties in check, and has a lot to offer, both as a commentator and as a trainer. He has pledged that his February bout, against a yet to be named opponent, will be his last ring outing. As great as it has been to follow the career of Roy Jones Jr, lets hope that he stays true to his word on this one.
NB: Since Jason wrote this, Roy Jones jr has announced his next fight will be his last.
2. Promoters Doing More Business Together
Boxing is a sport that is riddled with dirty politics, which most often lead to big fights not being made, for reasons unknown to most boxing fans. One of the biggest stumbling blocks to such fights coming to fruition in recent years, has been the reluctance of different promoters to do business together. Why share a slice of the pie, when you could have the whole lot to yourself seems to be the attitude of many of the guys that make fights happen, and boxing fans are missing out as a result.
Stateside we have Bob Arum's Top Rank, Oscar De La Hoya's Goldenboy promotions, and Al Haymon's Premier Boxing Champions, all of whom have been extremely reluctant to do business together in recent years. The problem is not limited to the US either, as Frank Warren's Boxnation, and Eddie Hearn's Matchroom, continue to go about their business separately.
Added to that, it seems as though certain promotions have become unofficially affiliated with several of the the sanctioning bodies, which means that certain world titles may eventually become available only to fighters from a particular stable. Toprank, for example, has been the primary source of WBO world title fights in recent years, while the WBC has also been accused of showing favoritism towards boxers fighting out of the Goldenboy stable. There has even been talk of Al Haymon introducing a world title which would be exclusively available to PBC fighters only. Isn't four recognised world titles, and a lineal belt, in any given division confusing enough?
Boxing promoters should be there to give fans what they want, and we want to see the best fighting the best, regardless of what promotional banner such bouts are held under.
1. Vasyl Lomachenko Becomes the New Face of Boxing
As already mentioned, it is hoped that 2018 is the year that boxing finally forgets Floyd Mayweather, and there is no better man to take over the mantle as the number one guy in the sport than the fighter of the year for 2017, Vasyl Lomachenko. It has been a truly magnificent couple of years for the phenomenal Ukrainian, who has become a two weight world champion, having made numerous top level fighters quit on their stool between rounds in the process.
Lomachenko, arguably the greatest amateur boxer of all time, has adapted perfectly to the paid ranks since his sole loss to Orlando Solido, in what was his first world title attempt in only his second professional fight, and is now seen by most as the rightful heir to the throne of best pound for pound boxer on the planet. In just 11 fights, the Ukrainian has displayed levels of technical brilliance unseen by many lovers of the sweet science.
While it has to be said that Floyd Mayweather, with his numerous personas and gimmicks, was the perfect man to lead the sport of boxing through the social media era. It would now be quite refreshing to see Lomachenko, who combines devastating ring brilliance with a tell it like it is attitude, to lead the us through an era in which the politics and bullshit which have plagued the sport are removed from boxing, and the fighters are simply allowed, or made, to get on with it.
This article was first published on http://boxingtruthman.blogspot.co.uk/
Posted: 15th Jan 2018
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