By: Dallas Orysiuk (@Chargers204)
After 2016 has come to a close and doing some reflection; 2016 was a quiet but entertaining year for boxing. We had slugfests like Orlando Salido vs. Francisco Vargas, Keith Thurman vs. Shawn Porter, Jesus Soto Karass vs. Yoshihiro Kamegi and Dillian Whyte vs. Derek Chisora. Boxing fans also got to witness the super-fight between Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward which was a highly entertaining chess match. And there was also Carl Frampton vs. Leo Santa Cruz. Despite these entertaining matchups, 2016, like all years following 2013 (which was one of boxing’s best years in a while) have been relatively quiet and destitute of hype. But welcome 2017, a year which has the potential to put boxing back on the map.
The year has just begun and there are already a handful of mouth watering matchups which have been signed. Some of these showdowns will provide fireworks, others will generate hype, and some may do just both.
Starting in January boxing fans will get to see the exciting rematch between Carl Frampton (23-0, 14 KOs) and Leo Santa Cruz (32-1, 18 KOs) on January 28th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The first fight was explosive, with a combination of almost 1700 punches thrown and almost 500 landed between the two. It was a very competitive affair and the rematch will likely be just as exciting.
On February 25th from the Ford Center in Texas, Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs) will return to face James Kirkland (32-2, 28 KOs) in what should be a highly entertaining slugfest. The bout will be broadcasted on HBO PPV, and realistically a fight with two guys coming off losses should not be PPV, but despite this, it will be a showdown with plenty of fireworks. It’s rare that either guy is in a boring fight, and what both guys possess in firepower, they lack in defense which makes the matchup even more compelling.
When Keith Thurman (27-0, 22 KOs) faces Danny Garcia (33-0, 19 KOs), on March 4th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, fans will be in for a real treat. This is a matchup that fans have been clamoring for, for quite some time and it will be a matchup of two young, explosive and undefeated welterweights for what will likely be the number one spot in a stacked division.
On March 18th, on HBO PPV and live from the Madison Square Garden in New York, Gennady Golovkin (36-0, 33 KOs) vs. Daniel Jacobs (32-1, 29 KOs) is the middleweight super-fight that boxing fans have been anticipating for the past couple of years. This is a true super-fight which puts the number 1 and number 2 guys in the middleweight division against each other. Both guys can punch and both guys can box, which leads to a heavily intriguing matchup.
Later in the year, Wladamir Klitschko (64-4, 53 KOs) makes his return after being defeated by Tyson Fury to challenge undefeated Anthony Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs). Klitschko will have been out of the ring for almost a year and a half and most would have expected a softer touch, but don’t tell that to Wladamir. Klitschko wants to prove he is still the man in the heavyweight division and will look to bounce back against the young, hungry and explosive former gold medalist in Anthony Joshua
Honourable Mentions: Badou Jack (20-1, 12 KOs) vs. James DeGale (23-1, 14 KOs) (Jan. 14th – Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY)by