By This Time Next Year…What Will Boxing’s Biggest Stars Have Done?

By Paul Magno on December 18, 2018
By This Time Next Year…What Will Boxing’s Biggest Stars Have Done?
Anyone other than Wilder or Tyson Fury next for “AJ” will be a major fail for Team Joshua.

With boxing suddenly becoming a hot commodity on the open market for those looking for “content,” some fans are just happy to feel the love…

The boxing business seems to be in a state of flux at the moment with HBO bowing out of the business after 40+ years, ESPN now fully invested in the sport, and upstart streaming service DAZN spending over a billion dollars to become the Netflix of boxing. And then, of course, there are the folks at Premier Boxing Champions (PBC), who have not only fortified their deal with Showtime, but have also established a partnership with Fox.

With boxing suddenly becoming a hot commodity on the open market for those looking for “content,” some fans are just happy to feel the love. This mad rush to add boxing to apps, streaming services, networks, and premium cable channels will make it possible for fans to see more boxing than ever before.

But the gray cloud around this silver lining is pretty damn ominous. Because, with so many of boxing’s top stars being snatched up and isolated as exclusive properties for different services and networks, it will become increasingly difficult to make the “big” star vs. star fights that boxing not only wants, but needs for its long-term well-being. Back when it was just HBO vs. Showtime mucking up the matchmaking process, a certain number of big fights were ruled out due to business conflicts. Now, there will be at least three or four companies keeping some matchups apart and we’re already seeing certain major fights being ruled out indefinitely because of new business alliances.

Is there a way to work around these new business realities to make the big fights for the sport’s biggest players? Or is the new reality in the boxing business aimed at accepting boxing as a niche sport and feeding/exploiting its loyal remaining fans for as much as possible, as long as possible?
Here’s a look at some of boxing’s biggest stars and where they will be next year, versus where they should be.

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez—One would like to think that after being fed a no-hoper in Rocky Fielding last Saturday, DAZN’s $365 million golden goose will be forced to make good with big fights for his big bucks in 2019. That would mean a bout with Daniel Jacobs and a part three with Gennady Golovkin. Realistically, fans will probably get Jacobs or Golovkin—not both—and, possibly, a David Lemieux walk-through.

Anthony Joshua—Anyone other than Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury next for “AJ” will be a major fail for Team Joshua. Failed negotiations with Wilder earlier this year had “boxing’s next big thing” sitting around looking like a big man afterthought for the second half of the year as Wilder vs. Fury dominated all heavyweight discussions. Joshua needs a big fight for this April and then he’ll be allowed a rematch with Dillian Whyte later in the year if all goes according to plan.

Vasiliy Lomachenko—The Ukraine’s favorite son has been pulling in some solid numbers on ESPN in recent outings, but the well is running dry when it comes to bankable opposition. What he needs is a Mikey Garcia bout, but that won’t be happening anytime soon thanks to conflicting business alliances. What we’ll end up getting is an Anthony Crolla slaughter and a lightweight-bound Miguel Berchelt.

Mikey Garcia—Scheduled for a March 16 leap of faith versus Errol Spence at 147, a lot Mikey’s future will depend on what happens with that one. If he can overcome the huge size and strength disadvantage, we may see him emerge as a next-level star in the sport. Maybe a bout with Danny Garcia or Manny Pacquiao comes next. If he loses to Spence, we may see him at 140 against some sort of mid-level opponent by year’s end.

Manny Pacquiao—Don’t let the professional obits in the media fool you, Manny’s still a star and he’s still, at worst, a top five or top seven welterweight. If he beats Adrien Broner on January 19, don’t be surprised if we see a rematch with Floyd Mayweather later in the year or, if Floyd can’t be brought out of retirement, a bout with Mikey Garcia (if Garcia can beat Spence) or Danny Garcia.

Errol Spence—2019 will be a pretty crappy year for the current welterweight kingpin if he loses to Mikey Garcia in March. If he wins, though, there’s a lot to be scooped on to his plate by year’s end. Most likely, we’ll see Spence matched against Shawn Porter next.

Terence Crawford—The WBO welterweight champ’s big deal with ESPN will continue to keep him from the major fights at 147, where most of the major names are tied to Showtime or Fox via PBC. That’s why rumors abound that big money is being tossed at Amir Khan to sign on as Crawford’s bankable B-side next. After getting through Khan, though, Team Crawford and ESPN will be right back where they were before Khan—looking desperately for a bankable opponent with a name and no conflicting business ties.

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  1. Mau-Mauing The Flak Catchers 04:53pm, 12/19/2018

    Erect On Demand… Damn, Haugen had balls of steel. Bad enuff taking on someone like Chavez Sr, but to have well over 100,000 rabid fans rooting against you as well. Haugen was/is no snowflake, that is for damn sure.

  2. Thrashem 03:37pm, 12/19/2018

    Real shitfest. Going to be a bad year for boxing. Beginning of the end!

  3. Erect On Demand 10:57am, 12/19/2018

    Big fat nothing burgers all around! Canelo needs to take Charlo south of the border down Mexico way where the fanaticos will get Charlo warmed up on his ring walk with nice big cups of piss raining down on him like they did Haugen all those years ago!

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