Hellraiser Boxing News | Top Ten World Fights For Next Season
Hellraiser's team picked their Top Ten World Fights for next season, Adam Thorn runs through them.
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by Adam Thorn
The new boxing season is not long away now, and there has been much discussion at Hellraiser about who we want to see facing one another during it. We decided in the end to produce two pieces, one on the domestic dream fights which Chris Waddams wrote up, and one focussing on the rest of the world.
It has to be said that the World Boxing Super Series has robbed us of the opportunity to think up super middleweight and cruiserweight bouts at the top level, but that’s not really a bad thing, as it means great fights have already been made. We just had to work a bit harder! As always, your thoughts are welcome, so please get in touch via Twitter or Facebook with feedback.
Anthony Joshua vs Deontay Wilder
AJ has a potential rematch with Wladimir Klitschko on the horizon, and Wilder looks increasingly likely to face Luis Ortiz. Both of those are good fights in their own right, and not foregone conclusions by any means. However, even if one or both were to lose in these bouts, there would still be a desire to see the top division’s heavy artillery throw bombs at one another. There’s too much in ti, AJ needs to build his “brand” and fanbase in the USA, and Wilder needs to beat someone people will give him credit for: although beating Ortiz would do that to some extent. With a 98.2% knockout ratio between them from a combined 57 fights, it couldn’t possibly go the full twelve, could it?
Keith Thurman vs Errol Spence
The two unbeaten American welterweights hold three of the four main “world” belts between them, and both have power and plenty of skill. Having said that it is tempting to think that Spence is in the ascendency, and while the fight would split people down the middle, Thurman could be there for the taking. It would make an awful lot of money worldwide, and be the genesis of a genuine star of the victor.
Billy Joe Saunders vs Gennady Golovkin/ Saul Alvarez
Assuming he gets past Willie Monroe, the logical step for Billy Joe would be the winner of the GGG versus Canelo face off. That fight is the stuff dreams are made of, but Saunders will be the only other belt holder in the middleweight division and while an underdog, is a tremendously capable boxer who likes a big occasion. The press conferences would also be entertaining!
James DeGale vs Gilberto Ramirez
Britain’s DeGale and Mexico’s Ramirez are about the only top super middleweights not competing in the World Boxing Super Series. However between them they hold two of the four main belts. Ramirez is unbeaten in thirty five fights, and although a noted puncher, has not won by knockout since 2014. Which suggests he may not be super strong at world level. Both are southpaws, and capable of boxing at high tempo, although in DeGale’s case not always for a full fight. This is the best super middleweight match up outside of the World Boxing Super Series.
Vasyl Lomachenko vs Guillermo Rigondeaux
Will they? Won’t they? Rigondeaux has certainly put himself out there, but seems to be being met with silence from the Lomachenko camp. While the twitter baiting is fun, boxing fans the world over would love to see these two massively accomplished amateurs and pound for pounders getting it on. Guillermo has been largely avoided due to his tricky style and defensive wizardry, all of which he’ll need to avoid the burgeoning power of Vasyl, who has knocked his last five victims out. Rigondeaux is willing to move up to 130 lbs to fight the WBO champion, but whether having it on his terms is enough to tempt Lomachenko remains to be seen.
Jorge Linares vs Terry Flanagan
Terry Flanagan has the longest 100% record of an British fighter, but does it flatter to deceive? The common complaint is that he hasn’t faced the top level opponents in his thirty three fight career. A man who would provide by far the sternest test, and also an exciting fight, is Venezuelan Jorge Linares. Linares is no stranger to the UK and ruining British lightweights’ dreams, having fought three of his last four fights here.
Twice he outpointed Anthony Crolla, and prior to that battered a brave and swollen Kevin Mitchell into technical knockout defeat. He and his trainer Ismael Salas have also just relocated to the Hayemaker gym, in London. Linares is due to fight the UK’s Luke Campbell next, but him losing that would be a massive shock. He could potentially beat a generation of British lightweights for world titles on British soil. There might not be huge excitement about this fight outside of the British Isles, but it is still a “world” fight, which would be proving one man an established king.
Andre Ward vs Adonis Stevenson
In knocking out Sergey Kovalev, Andre Ward made the once fearsome “Krusher” look much more meek and human than he ever has before. He also announced himself as the number one light heavyweight on the planet. While not universally liked, Ward is undeniably a pound for pound top fighter. Pitting him against the explosive power of Adonis Stevenson could make for an exciting evening’s fistic chess. It would also mean the top two light heavyweights facing one another for all of the main four titles. Not many would favour the 39 year old Canadian but the fight would sell as people will be hoping he can shut Ward down.
Sergey Kovalev vs Sullivan Barrera
If Ward versus Stevenson is the number one and two light heavyweight facing off, this fight sees three and four, and would complete a sort of “Super Four” for that division. Of course if Kovalev won we’d never hear the end of his demands for a rematch with Ward. We may not anyway. Barrera outboxed a puncher in Joe Smith Jr, but he was put down heavily in the first round. Kovalev punches hard and is a better boxer than Smith, but this would be a fun fight.
Roman Gonzalez vs Naoya Inoue
Assuming these two men get through their fights with Wisaksil Wangek and Antonio Nieves, not a given of course, this would be the top fight in the super flyweight division. Inoue does look pretty special, and heavy handed, but “Chocolatito” has an incredible record. It is tempting to think if he beats Wangek that Gonzalez might move up, Shinsuke Yamanaka would be a particularly interesting fight if he does. Becoming a five weight champion might, just might give the Nicaraguan the mainstream credit he’s been crying out for. However, at only thirty, Gonzalez has plenty of time to move on, and this match would be mouth watering, and cement his position in the division.
Robert Easter Jr vs Mikey Garcia
Robert Easter Jr currently holds the IBF belt in an incredibly talented division, lightweight. He’s an exceptionally tall for 135 pounds, at 5 feet 11 inches and has a 76 inch reach! Mikey Garcia, fresh off the back of a dominant win over Adrian Broner at 140 pounds, has said he will probably come back down to 135 lbs, where he holds the WBC belt. Now, that’s not to say that a fight between Garcia and the winner of Crawford and Indongo wouldn’t also be a hugely exciting prospect, there’s something to be said for cleaning up the lightweight division, or at least deciding who the best is; facing Easter Jr would go a long way towards that.
Those, then, are Hellraiser’s top ten fights for the coming season; and one final note.
In a sport which has been lamented for a decade at least by fans and writers alike for not matching the best with the best, at the right time, it is necessary to point out that there does seem to be an about face on this trend lately. In years past these top ten lists would be a total fantasy, now we can say with a lot more conviction that many of the above fights, and those in Chris’s British top ten stand a good chance of happening. We’ve already had AJ versus Klitschko, and there’s still GGG versus Canelo and Crawford versus Indongo to come. Keep it up, boxing Gods!
Posted: 2nd Aug 2017
Tags: Top Ten, World Fights, Hellraiser boxing, Adam Thorn, James DeGale, Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, Sergey Kovalev, Sullivan Barrera, Roman Gonzalez, Naoya Inoue, Jorge Linares, Terry Flanagan, Gilberto Ramirez, Billy Joe Saunders, Gennady Golovkin, Saul Alvarez, Keith Thurman, Errol Spence, Robert Easter Jr, Mikey Garcia
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