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’18 Rounds: Looking At What Might Be In the New Year of Boxing

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That’s either a lot of shots at the bar from someone dying of fun, or the tally at a festive party table of happiness to bring in the New Year with food for thought.

For a diehard boxing fan and a mind full of sweet science similes, 2018 will be the continuation of 2017’s saga: something like the questionable 12 round truth of Manny Pacquiao V Juan Manuel Marquez III, and the 6th round final dare of Juan Manuel Marquez V Manny Pacquiao IV.

There always have to be old legends of the fall so the new winter soldiers can rise. That’s what the 2017 departures of Roman Gonzalez (he’s melted chocolate), Wladimir Klitschko and Andre Ward mean for the arrivals of Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Anthony Joshua and – believe it or not – Dmitry Bivol, who looks like a Bond 007 villain in a good way.

Sergey Kovalev, planted and watered by Ward, will most likely bloom in the spring to sacrifice himself for another season. Only Gennady Golovkin can bestow upon his apprentice, Canelo Alvarez, the title of master.

He will.

Terence Crawford doesn’t have to deposit .25 to play “Pac-Man”, but he can make a videogame out of Jeff Horn because of him. It’s no different than Deontay Wilder going “Donkey Kong” on who many suspect is an artificial King from Cuba named Luis Ortiz. Because Klitschko captivated in defeat and Joshua captured hearts in victory, it paved the way for the magnetic charisma of the Bronze Bomber’s electrocution of Bermane Stiverne.

In fact, “The Brown Bomber” has been reincarnated in Japan. If Zolani Tete believes he’s a “Monster”, in a way, Naoya Inoue will violently want to find out. This is a very big 115lb Joe Louis on adderall with a vendetta who believes he is impervious to resistance.

These words are but a symphony, unlike noise and closer akin to music for those in the mood to experience boxing’s true renaissance. Perhaps Keith “One-Time” Thurman will go retro in a ringwalk to Drake’s “One Dance”, while going one more time with Danny “Swift” Garcia to reveal the meaning of his nickname DSG’s lethal left hook be damned. I pray, I pray.

There was the late 2017 sight of Floyd Mayweather in front of the Great Wall of China as fashion royalty. Since Pacquiao was present during this journey to the Far East, was it he who snapped photos with the hope of rekindling magic lost in 2015? The irony is though they could never get the public caught up in their rapture again, we would turn to their rematch again and again as if Ali V Frazier III— for that is exactly what it would be.

This year, you will remember what’s never proved to be unforgettable. When “Iron” Murat Gassiev collides with Yunier Dorticos in an instant classic, all will be forgiven of a cruiserweight division that finally earned your memory.

There will be dragons. Jermell and Jermall Charlo will strike fear in the hearts of Erislandy Lara and Daniel Jacobs,  while Errol Spence Jr., a modern version of a southpaw Sonny Liston at 147, will strike down Lamont Peterson to further solidify a reign of terror. Bud Crawford’s response will rain on that notion with thunder and lightning.

If it is the will of the fight gods in 2018, they will give us the answer to the true sequel of Sugar Ray Leonard V Thomas “Hitman” Hearns nearly 40 years in the making: Errol “The Truth” Spence V Terence “Bud” Crawford. That superfight would not produce the Oscar De La Hoya V Felix Trinidad feeling of anticlimactic, leaving Her wanting more and not knowing where to find it.

If jaded, the next best thing is the world’s best fighter, Vasyl Lomachenko. Embarrassed by embarrassing the great Guillermo Rigondeaux, Lomachenko needs an arch rival. Orlando Salido wouldn’t give him a sequel, but the unbeaten Mikey Garcia has the look of his own Juan Manuel Marquez.

Garcia should turn Sergey Lipinets into the boxing equivalent of a lip-sync’r against the real thing. Having solved one of Bob Arum’s malcontents in the boxing genius Rigondeaux, “The Matrix” can truly prove he’s The One if he can make the fighting genuis Garcia quit.

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Ladies Worst?

Michael Woods, editor and publisher of NY Fights, asked if I had any resolutions I wanted to share coming into this year. I did, but I wondered if boxing had one in particular. What will they do with Women’s Boxing to make it bigger? A few weeks ago, I’m walking with a huge fight fan and asked him what he thought of women and boxing. The first thing he blurted out was ring card girls.

It occured to me that their outfits adorned in the world of advertising promotes their figure. This is absolutely what a female MMA fighter advertises and much more in an octagon without much thought. I wonder… Would Wonder Woman look like a superhero if her safety attire hid her body? Is a lack of sex appeal the reason why a female boxer doesn’t have sex at the box office?

I didn’t see an MMA fighter in Holly Holm dueling with the tyrannical MMA legend Cristine “Cyborg” Justino

….I saw a boxer and a beautiful woman, who found a better opportunity outside of her discipline. That’s what I saw with Heather Hardy. That’s what I’ll see with Amanda Serrano. I hope not to see it with say, Katie Taylor. Mariana Juarez and Cecilia Braekus have toiled in a way Laila Ali’s name ensured she wouldn’t have to. With that said, imagine Laila as a ringcard girl, making her way to the ring in 6oz gloves and boxing kicks. What about that box office now?

Happy New Year.

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About John Gatling

Senior correspondent for NY Fights and author of upcoming book, "The Fist Club." Conscious indie recording artist "T@z" and humanist advocate for the Green Party.

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