On Saturday night, we finally got the rematch we’ve been waiting for between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury. It took 14 months for the two pugilists to get back in the ring so that “round 13” can get started. Seven rounds later, Fury is now King of the Heavyweights.
Odds are already updated for a third fight, with many listing Fury is a solid favorite, while Wilder now has an uphill battle to get the sharks back on his side.
This is par for the course for boxing, as we get the tease of a few fights we really wanted to see, but there were others that were just out of our reach. We blame politics.
Now that the first megafight of the year is over, here’s hoping that the sport will give us more memorable bouts throughout the year. We’ve summoned the crew to put on their brainstorming caps and have some wishful thinking on how the sweet science could truly deliver this year.
In no particular order, here are the fights TSFJ’s boxing enthusiasts would like to see in 2020. Hopefully, the fights will be good enough so we need to figure out how to choose a bookmaker on who we think will win.
Raquel “Pretty Beast” Miller, interim WBA Super Welterweight Champion: Deontay Wilder vs. Anthony Joshua
This is the fight that needs to happen because both fighters can add to their legacies. For Wilder, after a loss to Fury, getting a signature win over an elite fighter would help make the case that he is one of the best heavyweights of his generation. For Joshua, getting revenge over Andy Garcia was necessary, but a win over Wilder would be his first marquee victory since beating a 41-year old Wladimir Klitschko. I’d give a slight betting edge to Wilder and his power, but Joshua’s technical ability could be a difference-maker.
Shark Tip: Oddsmakers have Joshua as a slight favorite over Wilder if these two were ever to meet in the ring.
Bryan Fonseca: Deontay Wilder vs. Anthony Joshua
I’m with the Pretty Beast, but let me add a few things. Even if Wilder loses to Tyson Fury this weekend, he and Joshua have to fight. I’m tired of Eddie Hearn and DAZN seemingly doing everything they could to ruin the sport. If Wilder could do business with Top Rank and ESPN, why can’t he fight Joshua? And it’s the business of the sport that cannibalizes the art. But that said, I’ve maintained for years that Wilder would KO Joshua, who was put down by Wladimir Klitchscko, rocked by Dillian Whyte and Alexander Povetkin multiple times, and starched by Andy Ruiz. I was in the room where Lou DiBella and others read emails from Hearn and Team Joshua to the press after Wilder nearly killed Bermaine Stiverne in 2017. All of those messages suggested Hearn wasn’t interested in having Joshua fight Wilder. We have every indication before and since that this has been the case because Wilder wants to fight. (He traveled to Russia to defend *his world championship* against Povetkin in 2016 before his opponent got popped for PEDs, canceling the fight on a couple of days notice.) I just want closure on this one, because it will be a historical travesty if these two *never* get it on, all because of scared money.
Jason Clinkscales: Terence Crawford vs. Errol Spence Jr.
It seems that Terence “Bud” Crawford is on another plane when it comes to the premier welterweight fighters in the world… except that no one’s truly sure. Crawford is a gifted pugilist who had spent years with the ‘fighter no one wants to face’ label – with assistance from the mythmaking of ESPN, which broadcasts bouts from Top Rank. Because of the so-called promotional war between Top Rank and Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, Crawford hasn’t faced some of his true contemporaries, notably the electric Errol Spence, Jr. While Spence has recovered from a nearly fatal car accident last fall and is resuming training, both men have been putting their Twitter fingers to work. At some point, Crawford, Spence, Haymon, Bob Arum – hell, even Crawford’s homie from Omaha, Warren Buffett – need to break bread, sign some contracts and make even more bread for this unification bout while these two are still in their primes.
Shark Tip: Crawford, the 36-0 WBO champ, would be a slight underdog while Spence, the 26-0 WBC and IBF title holder, would be a slight favorite.
Esau Howard: Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Gervonta “Tank” Davis
There are a number of hypothetical matches that could go down this year, but this is the one many would be excited to see. Tank Davis is an undefeated rising star, but there are some legitimate questions on how good he actually is. His performance against Yuriorkis Gamboa late last year resulted in a win for him but didn’t quiet the naysayers. A win over past his prime Gamboa who finished the fight after tearing his Achilles early in the bout wasn’t the signature moment Tank needed. Enter Lomachenko, considered the best pound for pound fighter on the planet. If there was ever a matchup that would prove worthwhile for both fighters, this is the one. Lomachenko is rumored to be facing Teofimo Lopez Jr. in the spring, but with an end of year slate ripe for booking, these two could make a run as a Fight of the Year candidate.
Shark Tip: Lomachenko would be a heavy favorite over Davis, even though “Tank” is undefeated at 23-0.
Paul Navarro: Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Teofimo Lopez
Esau got it half right with Loma, but the best little man fight to be made in 2020 has to involve Teofimo Lopez. “Hi-Tech” entered the professional boxing world as a phenom while fighting all 15 career bouts with a title on the line. Now with two divisional titles on his resume, this is the time to give the next phenom a chance. Is Lopez as good as Lomachenko? Oddsmakers would say no. It might be the highest bar to clear for “El Brooklyn”, but suffering a loss against arguably the pound-for-pound king would have little effect on his superstar potential. Plus, we would all get to guess what jersey Lopez would wear next to the ring.
Shark Tip: Lopez would be a solid underdog when oddsmakers start to look at this fight. Lomachenko, one of the pound-for-pound best of his era, would be a decent favorite who betters would have to bet big to make any real money.
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