The professional boxing calendar is now really starting to take shape with some top fights announced recently and others to look forward to before the year is out.
2016 has been a bit of a frustrating time for fight fans after multiple fights fell out or didn’t happen for one reason or another.
But the wheel always turns as they say and the proverbial sweet science wheel is starting to revolve in an exciting motion once again.
Showtime have ignited some of this in recent days with the announcement of a big boxing calendar for early 2017 and Premier Boxing Champions appear to be planning some big shows too.
Then of course you’ve got the British boxing market doing well at the moment with news of Anthony Joshua’s next fight expected this week and also the likes of Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions in the US have some good fights coming up.
For the purpose of this article I’m going to keep it brief and go through some of the upcoming fights I’m personally looking forward to over the next while. Bouts that are definitely confirmed now and are signed.
Kovalev vs Ward
In many ways the big one of 2016.
Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward is a fight that has been in the making for sometime between two of the world’s best pound for pound fighters in boxing today.
Many believe the winner of this fight will emerge as the new pound for pound number one in the sport.
Some have claimed Ward is not in his prime but I don’t buy that argument. I think we’ll see a motivated as ever Ward as we will Kovalev next month when they face off in Las Vegas.
Lomachnko vs Walters
Another beautiful fight for the purists but also one that has the potential to ignite into something that could capture wider attention too.
Ukrainian Vasyl Lomachenko is recognized as one of the top fighters in the world today and has made amazingly quick progress since turning professional.
Nicholas Walters will be the biggest challenge of his prizefighting career to date however and will have plenty of tools in his arsenal capable of asking questions of him next month.
Bernard Hopkins vs Joe Smith Jr
The end of an era in December 2016 will come for a man that has done it all in boxing. Bernard Hopkins.
In many ways I’m looking forward to this fight for the sentimental side of it in the above regard, given it will be the last time we see a real life boxing legend compete.
But from an action perspective it’s also fascinating in that Hopkins’ has chosen such a young and big hitting contender for his final fight.
The skills of a near 52 year old Hopkins against the life force of a man young enough to be his son will make for a fascinating watch.
Degale vs Jack
James DeGale vs Badou Jack in a super-middleweight unification next January will show who in fact is the best 168lbs fighter in the world today.
(Promo video via Showtime YouTube channel):
Two technically superb world champions that will see a coming together of prime pugilists to find out who is number one.
DeGale is a man when he’s on form that can be scintillating to watch and it will be interest to see which version of ‘Chunky’ turns up against Jack.
Frampton vs Santa Cruz
Carl Frampton vs Leo Santa Cruz also in January will ensure boxing kicks off with a bang in 2017 in the rematch of an epic encounter in 2016.
Again, two guys in their respective athletic primes who will both be gunning for one another after a very closely fought battle in New York in 2016.
They say a rematch of such a good first fight is never the same second time around but I disagree with that notion.
These two have a clash of styles that makes for entertainment and I actually think they’ll go at it even harder in the rematch.
Thurman vs Garcia
A real barn burner of a match up is now set for March 2017.
Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia represent part of the new welterweight era post Mayweather-Pacquiao era and have a fierce rivalry to say the least.
Two Americans with knockout power and decent boxing skills. However I suspect this showdownwill be more of a fight than a technical boxing chess match.