Wilder vs Fury 2, the Canelo Golovkin trilogy and Lomachenko against Inoue: The 11 mega-fights we want to see in 2020 – The Sun
BOXING fans can often be robbed of the biggest and best match-ups, unlike supporters of almost any other sport.
The two best teams, players and race horses usually meet in one competition or another but the politics and separate sanctioning bodies in boxing have all-too-often kyboshed the best fights or delayed them to the point of despair.
Lennox Lewis’ glittering legacy could be glowing even more right now if he had beaten Riddick Bowe and, although Manny Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather happened, it was about five years too late.
The sport has never had more money, TV interest or talent but there are still fears we will not see some of our dream battles in 2020.
Here is SunSport’s wishlist for the upcoming year…
Terence Crawford vs Errol Spence Jr
British fans have already seen plenty of these welterweight stars separately but we must see them together ASAP.
WBO king Crawford ripped apart Amir Khan last time out and snatched the lightweight world title from Scotland hero Ricky Burns in 2014. And Spence, who has the IBF strap, destroyed Kell Brook’s cheekbone when he visited Sheffield in 2017 and has now added the WBC welterweight title to his collection with a stunning win over Shawn Porter.
Despite the millions of pounds on the table, Crawford is promoted by Bob Arum and broadcast by ESPN, while Spence is an Al Haymon fighter on Fox.
The warring factions have worked together in the past but this fight is looking dangerously close to being a victim of their battles for boxing dominance in America.
Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury 2
The Bronze Bomber cherrypicked the British giant for what he thought would be an easy fight in December 2018.
America’s WBC boss thought the Gypsy King was a washed-up version of his once-brilliant self but he needed a 12th-round knockdown to snatch a draw after Fury outboxed him over the distance.
We thought the rematch was secured for February but Fury has just needed 47 stitches to close two gaping wounds around his right eye, so that date appears too soon.
Again, these two are with rival broadcasters and promotional stables but the groundwork was done for the first fight so there is hope – but that is often what hurts the most.
Wilder has now also confirmed his will defend his strap in a rematch against Luis Ortiz on November 23 in Las Vegas.
Callum Smith vs Billy Joe Saunders
Callum Smith vs ANYONE would be a start, the Liverpool hero’s career has been painfully quiet since his crowning night in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia last year.
When the 6ft 3in super-middleweight monster beat George Groves into retirement last September, it should have kickstarted his career with bouts against Canelo Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin, Chris Eubank Jr, Saunders or one of the other champions.
But the WBC champ has enjoyed just one tune-up against Hassan N’Dam and most of his momentum has vanished.
Saunders insists he wants the all-British clash and he has now joined Smith’s Matchroom/Sky Sports/DAZN stable but he has a November keep-busy fight scheduled and the deal looks no closer.
Saunders, now a two-weight champion, has looked brilliant in wins over Andy Lee and David Lemieux but that’s two good fights in four years and the 30-year-old southpaw is threatening to be a huge waste of talent.
Vasyl Lomachenko vs Naoya Inoue
The three fights previously mentioned are genuine possibilities, this is our first foray into fight fantasy.
Loma is already a three-weight champion at feather, super-feather and lightweight and he is currently trying to complete the belt set at 135lbs, with only the IBF eluding him.
The Ukraine king is regarded as the greatest pound-for-pound boxer on the planet but has made it look so easy in most of his 15 pro fights that fans want to see the two-time Olympic king in a war and Japan’s mysterious KO sensation could be the perfect person to bring the battle to Loma.
Inoue, 26, is also a three-weight ruler at fly, super-fly and now bantamweight but, at 5ft 5in tall, he is only two inches shorter than Loma and could bulk his way up to 126lbs for a featherweight showdown.
And Bob Arum, Loma’s mastermind promoter, revealed on a recent trip to London that he is working on making the sensational clash.
He said: “Inoue is at 118lbs right now but he is a big kid and Loma is really a featherweight.
"Loma would go back down to 126lbs to fight Inoue there, it would be a great fight. Vasiliy wants to become undisputed at lightweight and then fight whoever is the best between 126lbs and 135lbs.
“Vasiliy is a 126lbs featherweight so we can move him around three divisions."
Amir Khan vs Kell Brook
Much like the Manny Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather fight, this one has been left on the boil for two long.
Both these British stars are on the slide but there has been so much bad blood between the two that it would still be a box-office success.
Bolton hero Khan insists he has achieved too much in his career to worry about handing his Sheffield rival a career-defining payday but the pull of one final mammoth earner should entice the former light-welterweight boss into the ring.
Brook has struggled making the 147lbs welterweight limit in recent years and turning 33 will not help that process.
But one final pay-per-view packet should be enough to help him sweat off his favourite chocolate brownies and one of the longest-running feuds in British boxing will finally be settled. Will it be better late than never?
Joshua Buatsi vs Anthony Yarde
We’re pushing our luck asking for this in 2020, especially with Buatsi having a fight booked for November 2 but fan power could push the envelope.
Unlike Khan and Brook, these two light-heavyweight prospects are approaching or at the peak of their powers and there is no animosity between them.
Croydon’s Buatsi is slightly fresher, at 26 and with 10 of his 12 wins coming inside the distance. While it remains to be seen how Yarde, 28, bounces back from the 11th-round stoppage defeat he suffered in his brave bid to snatch Sergey Kovalev’s WBO world title out of his Russian backyard at the end of August.
With Buatsi managed by Anthony Joshua, promoted by Eddie Hearn and televised by Sky and Yarde being with Frank Warren and BT Sport, negotiations will be painful.
It’s more likely we will need both Brits to land world title belts before they meet to decide England’s finest 175lbs fighter.
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin 3
Even the most loyal Canelo fan should be able to admit he was gifted a draw in the original clash and was fortunate to get a win in the rematch.
The Mexican is the biggest draw in boxing and Las Vegas appeared very keen to protect their golden boy in 2017 and 2018.
Since that scare against the Khazak KO machine, Canelo has toyed with the weight division system, ending Rocky Fielding’s five-month reign as WBO super-middleweight champ and agreeing to fight Kovalev at light-heavy on November 2.
He said: “Right now Golovkin does not represent anything to me. I beat him twice (it was a draw and victory).
“He does not represent a greater challenge for me to fight with him."
Charlie Edwards vs Khal Yafai
Sheffield-based Edwards was the victim of a brutal attack and benefactor of a controversial decision last time out.
The WBC flyweight boss was in deep trouble against Julio Cesar Martinez on August 31, floored in the third and looking doomed.
But the Mexican bizarrely whacked the Brit while he was on the floor.
The referee didn’t see the attack but ringside WBC boss Muaricio Sulaiman did and he hopped in the ring to overturn the result to a no-contest, handing Edwards back the belt.
The 26-year-old Brit admitted afterwards he struggled making the 8st limit and a move up to 115lbs – where an old enemy is lurking – was on the cards.
Yafai, 30, has the WBA strap and has been accused of bullying Edwards when the pair used to spar thousands of practice rounds on the Team GB team.
Yafai is Britain’s longest reigning world champion, after picking up the crown in December 2016, but his 26-0 pro career has slipped largely under the radar and a career defining fight is needed to reward his talent.