After an enthralling 2019 in the world of boxing it’s time to look ahead to 2020, which is shaping up to another exciting year in the sport across weight divisions, varying boxing stables and the world. 2019, despite having epic shocks and dust ups, didn’t quite deliver the mega fights that so many fans across the globe crave for, so here’s hoping 2020 can buckle that trend. Though with the still murky business that is boxing politics, we won’t hold our breath at thesixyardring. Nevertheless here are a selection of potential fantasy fights for this calender year.
Anthony Joshua Vs winner of Tyson Fury/Deontay Wilder II
For boxing casuals and hardcores alike the potential fight for the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world is still the one they want to see most. Despite the months of negotiations gone sour, claims of fifty million dollar email offers and ‘we want the fight, do they?’ type of comments from the spin men of the sport. All the belts on the line in the heavyweight division is still the biggest fight in boxing today. Of course since Joshua and Wilder gestured at staging a super fight back in 2018, things have become a lot more complicated. The surprise return of Tyson Fury and Wilder’s team choosing that fight over the Joshua one means that Wilder and Fury will very likely now be locked in a trilogy. Which to be honest means that AJ probably won’t fight either man in 2020, or even early 2021.
Also Joshua famously spent 2019 suffering one of the biggest shocks in the history of the sport before completing his redemption just before Christmas. His defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr the first time around also meant that the window of opportunity for a Wilder match up in late 2019 evaporated. Instead, Joshua now has both IBF and WBO mandatories to fulfil. With Kubrat Pulev looking likely to be next opponent followed by Oleksandr Usyk. So unless Usyk is willing to wait for his shot at the WBO strap (which isn’t even technically allowed at present) and Fury and Wilder decide to not bother with a trilogy fight in 2020, then this fight will not happen in 2020. Though Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has hinted that AJ could yet bend to a 50/50 split to make the fight happen, something which team AJ has been reluctant to do before now. Looks like 2021 if ever though I am afraid!
Terence Crawford Vs Errol Spence Jr
This all American welterweight clash might not be one that the boxing casuals might be craving but inside the sport and state side especially, this is the fight that many want to see. Unbeaten WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford is considered by some to be the best pound for pound fighter in the world with his ability to switch hit (fight orthodox and southpaw at will) coupled with his overall supreme boxing abilities, both on the back and front foot. While Errol Spence Jr, who is also unbeaten to this point, rose to prominence when he spoiled the party in Sheffield by beating up hometown hero Kell Brook for the IBF Welterweight title back in May 2017. In 2019 Spence dominated Mikey Garcia to retain his title before coming through one of the best fights in recent memory versus Shawn Porter to add the WBC strap to his collection.
Since that epic split-decision battle with Porter though, Spence Jr’s world took an almost deathly turn as he was involved in high speed car accident in his Ferrari which he miraculously walked away from relatively unscathed (though rumours are his teeth took a bashing). Though of course such an incident is likely to at the very least delay his next fight and will likely leave some sort of marl on him, be it physically or mentally. Spence Jr recently broke his public silence since the crash though with a fiery if respectful Twitter to and fro (and possible phone call) with Crawford. With Spence Jr saying on Twitter that ‘we both agree the fight will happen’. Though of course with boxing, the political game of chess (or sloppy checkers) will need to sorted out between their rival promoters in the form of Bob Arum and Al Haymon.
And in truth that could push the fight back into 2021, though unlike the heavyweights mentioned above, these fighters do not have the worldwide recognition that their abilities deserve. So this really is a case of both men needing each other to an attempt to cement the legacies (and paydays) that their careers currently warrant. And from a wider standpoint, Crawford and Spence Jr are widely known as two of the top five fighters on the planet, so probably a good idea to get them in the ring some time soon!
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez Vs Billy Joe Saunders/Callum Smith
Some might see these fights as a another comfortable nights work for Mexico superstar multi-weight world champion Saul Alvarez. And they could be right, however from a British standpoint to see Alvarez face off with either Billy Joe Saunders or Callum Smith at 168 pounds would be brilliant to witness. Having just casually moved up to light-heavyweight and knocked out Sergey Kolavev at the back of the last year, more than ever the world is Canelo’s oyster. He possesses the rare choice of fighting at 175, 168 or 160 pounds next having dominated and won world titles at all these weights. At present a drop to super-middleweight (168) seems like it could be the way forward.
Mainly because fellow super middleweight champions Callum Smith and Billy Saunders Saunders currently fight for Matchroom Boxing who have a contract with the DAZN network, who Canelo himself has a hugely lucrative deal with for the foreseeable future. So in theory a fight could be made if Canelo is willing to fight either Saunders or Smith who both feel they have earned their shot at the glory. Callum Smith, the WBA (super) champion and a Liverpool native, beat George Groves to win his title back in late 2018. However, some inactivity has stalled his career and many thought he was lucky to survive his last fight with London’s John Ryder. Though his huge size at super middle alongside his crisp power could cause Canelo real problems.
While Saunders, whose issues outside the ring in the last couple of years have derailed his rise somewhat, is a fighter who many feel could having the beating of Canelo if he performs at his very best. A supremely tricky and skilled southpaw, he arguably has a better chance of outboxing, outwitting and frustrating Canelo than most. However, on his US and DAZN debut in November he looked well below par before stopping Marcelo Esteban Coceres late to retain his WBO strap. So in truth both these potential UK challengers to Canelo’s crown are in a similar boat, they looked average in their last fight and might lack the profile that a Canelo fight may need at this stage of his career. However, Canelo may well look at both Smith’s and Saunders’ recent ventures and feel he has the beating of both men. And with a May 2nd Cinco de Mayo date locked in, it could be finally be time for either Smith or Saunders to show the world what they are made of. Or they could just fight in each other at Anfield!
There are many other brilliant fights that could be made in 2020 but these three just about topped the bill for thesixyardring and in truth if only one of them gets made in 2020 then we will be delighted!
If you enjoyed this article or any others on thesixyardring feel free to like/share/RT them or alternatively mention them to friends as you all wonder if these fights will happen before 2030 let alone in 2020.