It’s a new year, but boxing fans have the same old complaints. They just simply want to see the best fight the best.
2019, absolutely delivered in terms of mega matchups, but there are still a number of fights that we all want to see.
Terence Crawford vs. Errol Spence Jr., Deontay Wilder vs. Anthony Joshua and Gervonta Davis vs. Vasiliy Lomachenko lead the pack in terms of fights that are on the minds of boxing fans. But after years of waiting, discussing these matchups are getting a bit stale.
The boxing world doesn’t revolve around these fighters so it’s time we placed those aforementioned fights on the back burner. There are a number of fights that can be made that will gain the interest of not just the hardcores, but also the casuals as well.
We’ll be looking at some of the most underrated fights that can be made. Don’t expect to see the obvious fights such as Manny Pacquiao vs. Errol Spence Jr. Instead, we’ll be focusing on other matchups.
Juan Francisco Estrada vs. Naoya Inoue
Although Juan Francisco Estrada (40-3, 27 KOs) and Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs) campaign in separate divisions, in actuality this contest shouldn’t be hard to make since the difference in weight is only three pounds.
Inoue proved in winning the Muhammad Ali Trophy and essentially clearing out the division, that he is a major pound-for-pound star.
Estrada on the other hand, is a star in his own right. His resume is a graveyard filled with the bodies of great fighters he has defeated in his career. Inoue is given the nickname “The Monster” for a reason, but Estrada has beaten plenty of fighters who were considered monsters as well.
Guillermo Rigondeaux vs. Shakur Stevenson
This one may require a pillow, but fans of the sweet science would enjoy it.
Guillermo Rigondeaux (19-1, 13 KOs) has quickly been forgotten. Take away his absolute no show against Vasiliy Lomachenko back in 2017 and Rigondeaux has carved out a hall-of-fame level career.
He still possesses the speed, power and defensive acumen that will make him a nightmare for anyone.
Shakur Stevenson (13-0, 7 KOs) just so happens to share those same traits, but he is almost 20 years younger. Rigondeaux would have to move up in weight, but four pounds shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
This contest might not contain too many fireworks, but it would be a great chess match.
Josh Taylor vs. Maurice Hooker
Former WBO Super Lightweight champ Maurice Hooker (27-1-3, 18 KOs) is a great fighter. He may have come up short in his unification contest against Jose Ramirez just a few months ago, but he’s still one of the best in the division.
Although he is a smooth boxer, he loves to bang. Unified champion Josh Taylor (16-0, 12 KOs) is the exact same way.
Hooker is the sort of fighter that wants to either put you out, or get put out himself. Neither man has a fight lined up at the moment so hopefully they’ll look towards a fight against one another.
Erickson Lubin vs. Tony Harrison
If there were any questions surrounding Erickson Lubin (22-1, 16 KOs) since suffering a first-round knockout loss against Jermell Charlo more than two years ago, he has quickly answered them.
Since that aforementioned loss to Charlo, he’s won four-straight contests. He’s looked great in every single one of them, but let’s be honest here, he hasn’t exactly fought a murderers row of opponents.
If he really wants to prove that he’s a true contender than why not take on former champion Tony Harrison (28-3, 21 KOs).
Other than stating the obvious that this would be a terrific fight, could you imagine the theatrics during the build up? That alone would be pay-per-view worthy.
Daniel Jacobs vs. Callum Smith
Not many people are talking about Daniel Jacobs (36-3, 30 KOs), but they should be. After moving up in weight to the Super Middleweight division and stopping Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in the process, Jacobs seems ready for the next step.
Callum Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) currently holds the WBA title, but he is fresh off an uninspiring performance in his last contest against John Ryder. Still, if we simply sweep that one under the rug, he has clearly established himself as the best in the division.
Jacobs didn’t move up in weight just to hang around, he went up to win a world title. Not only would this fight give him that opportunity, but it would also give the fans one of the best fights of the year. Seems like a win-win for everyone involved.
Caleb Plant vs. Billy Joe Saunders
Two slick boxers who love to trash talk? Look no further than WBO Super Middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (29-0, 14 KOs) and IBF titlist Caleb Plant (19-0, 11 KOs).
Boxing isn’t always about who can take a punch the best. Often times the man with the better boxing ability comes out on top.
In the case of these two champions, deciding who is the better boxer is difficult to answer. Hopefully they can get in the ring and answer the question for us.
Gilberto Ramirez vs. Dmitry Bivol
After 40 professional contest, former Super Middleweight champion and current Light Heavyweight contender Gilberto Ramirez (40-0, 26 KOs) has proven nothing.
His resume is filled with practically no one of note. Although he might be a bit unproven, he is still a great fighter. Or at least that is what many believe.
WBA titlist Dmitry Bivol (17-0, 11 KOs) on the other hand is an established great fighter and champion.
Why not match them up?
Bivol is in desperate need for a big fight and needless to say, so is Ramirez.
Aleksandr Usyk vs. Dillian Whyte
Aleksandr Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) was the man at Cruiserweight. He won every single title in the division and subsequently moved up in weight. A win against Chazz Witherspoon in his Heavyweight debut did nothing for the stock of Usyk.
He needs a big fight, and it just so happens that Heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte (27-1, 18 KOs) is in the market for one as well.
Whyte isn’t a great boxer, but he is incredibly tough and will give Usyk all he can handle. Whyte did say not too long ago that he would “maul” Usyk if they ever fought.
Hopefully this year he’ll be given the chance to prove it.
Andy Ruiz Jr. vs. Adam Kownacki
There is no need to continue the bashing of former Heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. (33-2, 22 KOs) for his performance against Anthony Joshua in their December 7 rematch in Saudi Arabia.
It was awful, but he is still one of the best fighters in the division. Ruiz Jr. is a come-forward fighter who loves to throw a lot of punches.
Undefeated contender Adam Kownacki (20-0, 15 KOs) just so happens to be the same sort of fighter. If this contest were to actually take place, there would be no feeling-out period, it would just be bombs away.
Gary Russell Jr. vs. Emanuel Navarrete
Is there anyone who had a more surprising rise to the top of the boxing charts than WBO Super Bantamweight champion Emanuel Navarrete (30-1, 26 KOs)? Probably not.
He effectively ended the run of Isaac Dogboe and hasn’t lost a fight since 2012.
The activity he has shown in his career is the exact opposite of WBC Featherweight titlist Gary Russell Jr. (30-1, 18 KOs).
Even with his lack of fights over the years, he is clearly one of the best boxers in the world, but it’s time that he got himself into a big fight. This contest might be unlikely, but if it does happen, fans would rejoice.
What fights do you want to see happen in 2020? Leave a comment below or let us know on Instagram.