Within the phrases of Canelo Alvarez, it is time to “be daring.”
There is not any offseason in the case of boxing, however because the calendar turns to 2021, and with none large fights scheduled simply but, it’s time to certainly observe that catchphrase, be daring and provide up our largest prognostications for the 12 months.
Some are extra sensible than others, maybe, however all of them would make an impression on the game, for this 12 months and past.
Shakur Stevenson will win a number of junior light-weight titles and develop into the No. 1 fighter within the division: Contemporary off shifting as much as 130, Stevenson will likely be title looking in 2021. He has plans to face the winner of the Jamel Herring-Carl Frampton WBO title bout within the spring, then set his eyes on WBC champion Miguel Berchelt and IBF champion JoJo Diaz. That is an bold plan for the 23-year-old Stevenson, however he will likely be profitable in successful two or three of these titles in 2021.
By 12 months’s finish, Stevenson will likely be No.1 in ESPN’s junior light-weight rankings and he’ll seem within the again finish of ESPN’s pound-for-pound rankings as properly. — Cameron Wolfe
Tyson Fury knocks out Anthony Joshua to develop into undisputed heavyweight champion: Finally neither Joshua nor Fury resolve to vacate their belts, so this battle would not occur within the first half of 2021. As an alternative, Joshua beats his WBO necessary challenger Oleskandr Usyk within the spring whereas Fury goes by together with his trilogy with Deontay Wilder… or fights another person in a stay-busy bout.
However earlier than the tip of the 12 months, Fury-Joshua does occur in entrance of a full enviornment of followers with Fury scoring a memorable knockout to develop into the primary undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis in 1999. — Cameron Wolfe
The light-weight division will likely be boxing’s finest as we see Gervonta “Tank” Davis vs. Ryan Garcia AND Teofimo Lopez vs. Devin Haney: Evaluating this light-weight division to the “4 Kings” (Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Tommy Hearns, Roberto Duran) is bold at finest at this level, however what made that period particular is all of them fought “kings” one another. The light-weight division of 2021 begins to separate itself from the remainder as its younger fighters aren’t afraid of dropping their “0”. They need to make the megafights occur now as a substitute of letting them marinate. The round-robin event begins in 2021.
Garcia and Davis have been yapping at one another for years, but it surely has escalated in latest weeks and the 2 look headed for a collision course this 12 months. Two energy punchers with questionable protection is a recipe for a battle of the 12 months candidate, they usually every have the fanbase and social media followings to make this battle as large as it may possibly get within the sport.
That leaves Lopez and Haney in a battle for the disputed true WBC title. Each say they need to battle the opposite earlier than shifting as much as the junior welterweight division, and because it seems Garcia and Davis solely want to battle one another proper now, Lopez and Haney develop into excellent dance companions. — Cameron Wolfe
Jermell Charlo turns into undisputed champion, Jermall Charlo turns into unified champion: 2021 will likely be an enormous 12 months for the Charlo brothers. Jermell, who presently holds the WBC, IBF and WBA junior middleweight titles will face the winner of the February’s Patrick Teixera-Brian Castano WBO title bout, most likely in the summertime, and he’ll win to develop into undisputed champion at 154.
In a mission to not let his brother have all of the enjoyable, Jermall Charlo will beat both WBO champion Demetrius Andrade, IBF champion Gennadiy Golovokin or WBA champion Ryota Murata including to his WBC belt changing into an unified middleweight champion. — Cameron Wolfe
Backstage on the Hooker-Saucedo battle, Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. get into an argument that ends with Crawford saying he might knock out Spence.
Terence Crawford will battle Errol Spence Jr. for the undisputed welterweight title: This prediction will get a bit difficult as a result of, in the intervening time, Crawford and Spence solely maintain three of the 4 main welterweight belts. One in every of them must defeat Manny Pacquiaoor Pacquiao must vacate the belt in some unspecified time in the future earlier than July.
For the sake of this prediction, Pacquiao returns in June to unify the titles againstSpence and loses a slim resolution. Within the meantime, Crawford defends his title towards Shawn Porter, which not solely eliminates his primary challenger however Spence’s as properly. With necessary challengers a non-issue, Crawford takes the dreaded 40-60 deal to battle Spence on pay-per-view and show he is one of the best welterweight on this planet. — Kel Dansby
Full homes of followers are again: Possibly that is extra of a hope or a want or a pipe dream, however by the tip of the 12 months we get stadiums filled with followers again for battle playing cards, which might play very properly for some potential unification bouts on the finish of 2021. The vitality and buzz round big-time title fights — in MMA or boxing — is not like the rest in American sports activities aside from the Tremendous Bowl. With out it, even on tv, that really feel has been considerably lacking.
The promoters have executed what they might to proceed placing battle playing cards on — some higher than others — with tv and fan-less presentation. However by the tip of the 12 months, followers return to stadiums to look at some big-time headlining fights. — Michael Rothstein
Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin III occurs — and Alvarez knocks GGG out: It will be a becoming finish to the trilogy and to the entire questions surrounding these two fighters and their legacies. This battle would not happen till the tip of the 12 months — in entrance of a crowd — but it surely finally ends up being the battle of the 12 months and the primary time Golovkin will get knocked out in his profession.
The battle additionally finally ends up being Golovkin’s final, because the then-39-year-old decides he is had sufficient. For Alvarez, it opens up new paths to new opponents and one other chapter of his profession. The battle additionally does sufficient to ensure Alvarez is the year-end pound-for-pound No. 1. — Michael Rothstein
Mikaela Mayer unifies her division — and units up a battle with Katie Taylor for 2022: This has been Mayer’s purpose for some time and in girls’s boxing, the large fights are the one fights to arrange.
Mayer fights solely unification bouts in 2021, beating Terri Harper and Maiva Hamadouche. This opens up an opportunity for Mayer to maneuver up and create a girls’s superfight with light-weight undisputed champion Taylor — placing within the ring two of the three largest names in girls’s boxing together with Claressa Shields. — Michael Rothstein
Relive the rematch between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield on June 28, 1997, that’s without end remembered because the battle the place Tyson bit Holyfield’s ear.
Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield III would be the largest boxing PPV occasion since Mayweather-McGregor: It could sound outlandish, however a trilogy between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield, at the same time as an exhibition, has the potential to do monster numbers. The Tyson-Jones exhibition in 2020 was a pay-per-view success because the Legends Solely League reported upwards of 1.6 million complete buys. There’s additionally the truth that each Tyson-Holyfield fights did extraordinarily properly within the ’90s, with 1.5 and 1.99 million buys, respectively.
Add 24 years of anticipation and you’ve got a fanbase thirsty to see these two heavyweights to finish their trilogy. Mayweather vs. McGregor bought a behemoth 4.3 million pay-per-views in 2017 — this battle will not do half of that quantity, however even cracking 2 million buys will make it essentially the most profitable boxing occasion since Could-Mac and eclipse each of their earlier bouts. — Kel Dansby
Claressa Shields fights 3 times — twice in boxing, as soon as in MMA — and wins all three: The boxing piece of this admittedly is not very daring, however Shields makes her debut within the Skilled Fighters League (PFL) and finally ends up successful within the first spherical. It will not be essentially the most troublesome of opponents within the particular presentation battle, but it surely’ll be sufficient to present her extra of a style of what the opposite aspect of fight sports activities is like.
That battle makes her an much more interesting crossover-combat star and opens extra alternatives in each sports activities for her in 2022. She takes her likelihood, too, at utilizing her multi-sport platform to proceed to push for extra equality and higher pay for feminine boxers. — Michael Rothstein
Josh Taylor will clear up at junior welterweight… and emerge as an choice for Terence Crawford: After blowing away Apinun Khongsong in a single spherical final September, Taylor, the IBF and WBA junior welterweight titlist, served discover that he’s not hanging round. The Scot turned 30 in January, and desires to cease boxing in just a few years so count on some large strikes from him in 2021.
First up is a world title unification battle with rival 140-pound unified titlist Jose Ramirez, which is already within the works. Taylor’s type and technical means will see him edge a basic conflict between two stress fighters on factors, with the victory catapulting Taylor into a fair larger battle towards ESPN’s pound-for-pound No. 1 Crawford late in 2021. — Nick Parkinson
Vasiliy Lomachenko will regain a world light-weight title with a win over Gervonta Davis: Teofimo Lopez doesn’t sound as if he’ll give Lomachenko a rematch in 2021 after pulling off one of many largest upsets of 2020 to win three of the main light-weight world titles.
However the California-based Ukrainian has not develop into a completed fighter in a single day, so count on him to be extra motivated and again on type in 2021. Davis can be a danger for Lomachenko, who turns 33 in February, particularly after Davis’ beautiful knockout win over Leo Santa Cruz in October. However a battle towards Davis would give Lomachenko the right alternative to restore his popularity.
Lomachenko has the defensive and counter-punching expertise to capitalize on Davis’ aggressive fashion. It’s the largest battle for each at light-weight (not involving Lopez), and can be one of many boxing highlights of 2021. — Nick Parkinson
Anthony Joshua beats Tyson Fury in battle of heavyweight champions: It is but to be confirmed if championship boxing will resume with followers in attendance within the first half of 2021, however let’s be hopeful. No battle in boxing is larger proper now and Fury is most individuals’s favourite based mostly on his good stoppage win over Deontay Wilder in February 2020, and Joshua’s knockout loss to Andy Ruiz Jr. in June 2019.
However I’ve shifted from Fury to AJ based mostly on Joshua’s final efficiency, a dominant victory over Kubrat Pulev to defend his WBO, WBA, and IBF world titles, which may have restored his confidence and perception. After avenging the loss to Ruiz, Joshua demolished Kubrat Pulev to show much more of the explosive Joshua we had been used to seeing early on in his first reign as champion. Fury may have been out of the ring properly over a 12 months by the point they meet (whether it is to be their subsequent battle) and it will sway the stability in direction of Joshua of their first conflict and restore him as the person to beat within the heavyweight division. — Nick Parkinson
Deontay Wilder fights twice in 2021 and wins each by knockout: Outdoors of claims of dishonest and injustice, followers have not heard a lot from Wilder since his loss to Fury. Wilder can be finest served by regaining his mystique and rebuilding his confidence within the ring, and there are many heavyweights for him to regain his swagger.
Fights towards Dillian Whyte, who was lately knocked out by Alexander Povetkin, and Andy Ruiz Jr., would go an extended solution to getting Wilder one other shot at a heavyweight title. Previous to his most up-to-date loss, Whyte was the necessary challenger for Tyson Fury’s WBC title. Ruiz hasn’t fought since dropping his rematch towards Joshua, however he is a recognizable identify and a former unified heavyweight champion. Knocking out these two fighters will put Wilder able to battle the winner of Fury-Joshua. — Kel Dansby
Teofimo Lopez vacates his light-weight titles and fights the undisputed junior welterweight champion: The light-weight division is the speak of the boxing world. Lopez upset prime pound-for-pound fighter Lomachenko, Davis had arguably the knockout of 2020 together with his uppercut of Santa Cruz, Garcia’s star grew brighter together with his comeback knockout of Campbell, and Haney was nearly unhittable in his title protection towards veteran Yuriorkis Gamboa.
The choices are plentiful and everybody needs to see these younger stars battle, however there are larger and higher choices for Lopez. Positive, fights towards Davis or Haney would draw a whole lot of eyes now, however think about how large it would be if he was a two-division undisputed champion?
That is what’s attainable if Lopez opts to maneuver as much as junior welterweight and face the winner of Taylor and Ramirez. Lopez might keep lively by dealing with George Kambosos Jr. at light-weight this spring, after which dealing with Jose Zepeda this summer time in a primary contender battle at 140-pounds. He’d should vacate his light-weight titles after the Zepeda battle to justify his undisputed title alternative at 140, however it will likely be definitely worth the trade-off. — Kel Dansby