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Every year I hope that the biggest fights in boxing will happen. I’m pretty much always disappointed but it doesn’t stop me dreaming. I am not a fan of MMA/UFC at all, never watch it but in some ways boxing could learn from it.

With all their fighters centrally contracted the best fights always happen. Boxing has been going on so long and has become such a monster we feel lucky if any big fights happen year on year. The mafia were the ones who ran the sport in the 30s through the 50s. These days the problems are more covert but no less awkward.

With 4 main governing bodies, super champions at the WBA, unlimited promoters, managers and competing tv channels its a real battle to get fights over the line. This article looks at some of the biggest potential fights from Heavyweight to Super Bantamweight in 2015 and the likelihood that they could happen.

Heavyweight

Wladimir Klitschko 62-3 (52) v Deontay Wilder 31-0 (31)

(K2 Promotions v Golden Boy)

50% likely

This is not so much a promotional as a boxing issue. A lot of chess pieces need to move exactly into place for this to come off. Wlad has to get past Kubrat Pulev, who with wins over Tony Thompson, Alexander Dimitrenko and Alexander Ustinov is a big threat. Its obvious Wladimir’s final objective in boxing is to hold all 4 titles simultaneously. Bermaine Stiverne is the WBC champion at the moment. Wilder needs to get a fight with Stiverne and win. That won’t be easy to organize or win. If Wilder did get past that hurdle he would probably need to fight a mandatory like Bryant Jennings or Mike Perez before a unification bout could be organised.

Cruserweight

Yoan Pablo Hernandez 28-1 (14) v Marco Huck 37-2-1 (26)

(Sauerland v Sauerland)

70% likely

From a promotional point of view they both fight under the Sauerland banner so no issues there. The main stumbling block would be that they are both world champions so a unification bout would need to be agreed. I almost bypassed this because its such a boring division. Cruserweight desperately needs a shot in the arm. There’s no money in it which is why your Evander Holyfields, David Haye and even Huck himself gave heavyweight a go. These two are defending their titles against all the same opponents. They have been the best two for a long time and need to fight each other.

Light Heavyweight

Sergiy Kovalev  24-0-1 (22) v Adonis Stevenson 24-1 (20)

(Yvon Michel v Kathy Duva)

25% likely

Unfortunately in late 2013 this seemed a 100% certainty. They were both fighting on HBO and on the same fight cards. Everything was set up for a huge fight this year. Then all of a sudden Stevenson moves to showtime. Apparently HBO wouldn’t match the offer for the Stevenson-Fanfara fight. Superman’s performance in that fight was awful and at 36 he is probably going to be quite selective in his next few fights so I see a Stevenson-Hopkins bout as more likely. A war of words has already started between Duva and Michel lets hope the females can sort it out and be less bitchy than the males.

Super Middleweight

Andre Ward 27-0 (14) v Gennady Golovkin 29-0 (26)

(Dan Goosen v K2)

10% likely

I only give Andre Ward a 50% chance of even fighting at all with his promotional issues at present. He is having loads of issues with Goosen and guys like Mayweather Promotions are waiting in the wings for his signature. On top of this Golovkin doesn’t seem to want the fight. He is only a 160 fighter and because a lot of his qualities are based on hid strength it doesn’t benefit him to fight at 168. I think its more likely he’ll be after Canelo or Cotto.

Middleweight

Miguel Cotto 39-4 (32) v Saul Alvarez 44-1-1 (31)

(Top rank v Golden Boy)

30% likely

I really hope this fight happens. Their styles are made for each other. A few months ago the likelihood of this happening would be close to nil as Top Rank and Golden Boy would not negotiate as Richard Schafer and Bob Arum were at odds. Now Schaefer is gone De La Hoya has opened the door again. I really think Oscar will have his fighters best interest at heart and get them the big money fights. Cotto v Canelo would be absolutely huge.

Light Middleweight

Erislandy Lara 19-2-2 (12) v James Kirkland 32-1 (28)

(Goldenboy v 50 Cent – SMS Promotions)

40% likely

I think Lara was damaged in his loss to Canelo but if he is drawn into a fight like he was with Angulo we will see the best in him. The only other guy at 154 that can do this is Kirkland. They both need a big fight. Kirkland has been so inactive and Lara needs to look good in an entertaining fight to win back the fans. The main issue I see with this is that although Lara still has his belt Kirkland is not in the top 15 with WBA. He is quite high with other organizations but it would need to be a voluntary defence. I think Canelo could end up fighting Kirkland and Lara will face Sergiy Rabchenko.

Welterweight

Floyd Mayweather 46-0 (26) v Manny Pacquaio 56-5-2 (38)

(Mayweather v Top Rank)

10% likely

I think we’ve about given up on this now. Both guys need it for their legacy. Pacquaio has been with top rank for so long he is running out of guys to fight. Mayweather is just waiting around for Pac to lose again so he can justify not fighting him. This story is probably the saddest in boxing history and proves the mess of bureaucracy that we are in right now. This fight has to happen but it probably never will.

Light Welterweight

Lucas Matthyse 35-3 (33) v Ruslan Provodnikov 23-3 (16)

(Goldenboy v Top Rank)

10% likely

Obviously if I was picking the best fighters in this division it would probably involve Danny Garcia and Juan Manuel Marquez but I can’t think of a more exciting fight in boxing than this right now. It has best fight of all time potential written all over it. The old unstoppable force versus immovable object. I can’t even think who would be the aggressor here. Bombs away. Again unless Goldenboy and Top Rank can resolve their differences one can only dream.

Lightweight

Terence Crawford 24-0 (17) v Miguel Vazquez 34-3 (13)

(Top Rank v Zanfer Promotions)

70% likely

Quite hopeful for this one. Might not be a great spectacle with both being jab and move fighters. Crawford may have superstar potential but if he wants to move up in weight he should really face Vasquez first. As Vasquez promoter is relatively unknown he probably hasn’t made the big bucks yet. His only losses have came to Canelo x2 and Tim Bradley. He has been extremely dominant since moving down to lightweight. Its only right that Crawford takes this fight before he goes up to 140 and there’s no way Vazquez would turn it own.

Super Featherweight

Mikey Garcia 34-0 (28) v Yuriorkis Gamboa 23-1 (16)

(Top Rank v SMS Promotions, 50Cent)

50% likely

Mikey Garcia didn’t seem to want this fight when he was offered it last year. Now that Gamboa has lost maybe this will peak his interest. Gamboa is highly likely to move down to 130 to chase this fight. He has made his position clear to 50 cent that he wants more fights. Top Rank and SMS obviously managed to negotiate for the Gamboa-Crawford fight so I’m hopeful. An issue with this though is that Garcia seems to have a few problems with his management at the moment. It is also rumoured that Arum would like to put Garia and Donaire in against each other despite their friendship and a further jump in weight for the Filipino Donaire.

Featherweight

Vasyl Lomachenko 2-1 (1) v Nonito Donaire 33-2 (21)

(Top Rank v Top Rank)

75% likely

This is the fight i’d prefer for Donaire. Nonito looked like he was on the slide after he lost to Rigondeaux followed by a below par performance against Darchinyan before he stopped him. I think he would prefer to stay at featherweight than move up again after he won against Vetyeka. Both are now title holders at 126 so this would be a unification bout. I would imagine that the WBO would make Lomachenko fight a mandatory before any unification as they have been very generous in even giving him a title shot in the first place. The top 3 challengers in the WBO are Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo 51-1 (33), Abner Mares 27-1-1 (14) and Gamalier Rodriguez 24-2-3 (16). 1 and 3 are extremely winnable and Mares is bound to have his sights set on a Jhonny Gonzalez rematch before anything else.

Super Bantamweight

Guillermo Rigondeaux 13-0 (8) v Leo Santa Cruz 27-0-1 (15)

(Top Rank v Golden Boy)

20% likely

Again its the old Goldenboy v Top Rank scenario. Only time will tell if they can reconcile their differences. Arum is finding it very difficult to promote Cuban Rigondeaux because even though he is so good he fights that perfect but rarely exciting amateur style. Personally as a boxing purist I’m a big fan but he needs an exciting fight. Leo Santa Cruz should deliver that. He is tall and rangy but with a good jab and body shots. This would no doubt be an exciting fight with his kind of pressure. Rigondeaux has said he wants a unification bout after his next win. I think its highly likely that if favourite Carl Frampton takes the title from Kiko Martinez then the Cuban could face Frampton or Scott Quigg before Santa Cruz. There would be some good money in it for Rigondeaux to come to the UK or Ireland so those fights are more likely.

Of course there are many other fights that can be made but those are just my personal favourites from Super Bantamweight to Heavyweight. Of course it will be interesting to see if these promoters can deliver the fights that the fans want rather than looking to line their own pockets. I hope to revisit this at the end of next year and say that most of these fights happened but I am not hopeful.

Read more at http://www.boxingnews24.com/2014/07/the-must-have-fights-of-2015/#LaAotAWVfHUV1UTP.99

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