Mega Fights 2016

Photo by Al Applerose

Mega Fights 2016

By David A. Avila

The world of prizefighting finally perks up after an unusually slow start. Three mega fights are taking shape and should happen in 2016.

  • A welterweight world title fight takes place at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Saturday Jan. 23 with a match that should have taken place several years ago. Danny Garcia faces Robert Guerrero in a fight for the vacant WBC welterweight world title.
  • A more interesting match pits East L.A.’s Aron Martinez against former U.S. Army war veteran Sammy “The Who Can Mexican” Vasquez, a Mexican-American from Monessen, Pennsylvania. Both are known for all-out warfare inside the boxing ring. The entire Staples Center fight card is a Premier Boxing Champions promotion or lack of. It’s typical of this group to under-whelm the public. They rely on television alone and a truckload full of money from a hedge fund account to do as they please. Will PBC last until 2017?  So far even their television fights have under-performed with small ratings and even less advertising interest in their televised cards. The reason is simple: despite talent, they refuse to match their best against the best. Someone like Keith Thurman, a great and exciting fighter did not get to fight Floyd Mayweather or Adrien Broner. Now it’s too late. Mayweather retired and Broner suffered another loss.
  • When PBC’s Al Haymon departed from a partnership with Golden Boy Promotions and took its CEO Richard Schaefer along with many of GBP’s fighters, many predicted doom for the Los Angeles-based boxing company owned by Oscar De La Hoya. Instead, the former world champion showed the same resilience he had in the boxing ring and has emerged as powerhouse in the sport. The company invested in grassroots fight cards featuring local talent in downtown L.A. and in Indio. On three separate marquee fight cards outside of California, they attracted more than 30,000 in Houston and 20,000 in New York City. Add the successful pay-per-view card featuring Saul “Canelo” Alvarez versus Miguel Cotto, that match drew nearly 1 million pay-per-views on television, and capped a good year for Golden Boy Promotions.

A number of potential great fights could be settled in the coming months.

  • Perhaps the most talked about fight for 2016 would be Big Bear’s Gennady “GGG” Golovkin paired against Mexico’s “Canelo” Alvarez for the lineal middleweight world championship. The victor of this match would go on to superstar status without question. Golovkin (34-0, 31 Kos) has the WBA, IBF and IBO middleweight titles. Alvarez (46-1-1, 32 Kos) has the WBC middleweight title and can claim to be the true heir of the middleweight championship. All this can be settled in a mega fight probably in September or later this year. First, both will be fighting someone else. Neither has determined an opponent. Golovkin will be fighting on April 23 either in New York City or in Los Angeles, says Tom Loeffler of K-2 Promotions that handles the popular fighter. But as of now, no opponent has been named. Alvarez is slated to fight May 7, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. No opponent has been determined.
  • Another potential mega showdown with a strong possibility to take place would be WBC flyweight world champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez of Nicaragua facing either Japan’s Naoya Inoue or Mexico’s Juan Francisco Estrada in a super flyweight clash. These little titans are among the best and most exciting fighters today. K-2’s Loeffler said that Gonzalez facing either Inouye or Estrada could be added to the Golovkin-Alvarez fight card. The mega matchups could be headed for Las Vegas or New York with Los Angeles still in the running.
  • Light heavyweight world champion Sergey Kovalev has a very tough pairing against Canada’s Jean Pascal on Jan. 30, in Montreal, Canada. It’s a rematch of a fight that ended with Pascal losing by technical knockout. Many say it was a premature stoppage. Pascal has trainer Freddie Roach in his corner this time. Should Kovalev win and retain the WBA, IBF, WBO titles, a long-awaited showdown with undefeated Andre Ward looks to be finalized. Both want the fight. Both need it. The winner is guaranteed mega star status.

The boxing world can look forward to at least three mega fights this coming year. 2016 is shaping up.