As the clock struck midnight, all of a sudden it was, “What are we going to do with all this future?”
There are no answers. But if broad and spacious is the road to belief, then narrow and cramped is the road to actually knowing. For if hardcore fight fans had wings instead of prayers, any division coming between championship fights they want to see in 2019 would simply fly away… without anyone having to say, “Amen”.
Last 1/1, in “18 Rounds”, there were a few things this forecaster issued which came to light. That journey began in darkness at The Great Wall of China following a clandestine meeting between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
It was opined that the two would factor heavily on 2018 with talk of a rematch. We know now that that’s all it was– talk, strictly for the purposes of coercing interest and curiosity among casuals. Therefore, Pacquiao’s amusingly lascivious tweet regarding Floyd’s embarrassing exhibition with Tenshin Nasukawa was more of the same. There’ll be a border wall up between the U.S. and Mexico– fully paid for by the Democrats, before they fight again. 2019 does not need them present for the past… their presence is about the future.
The best laid plans of mice and men usually involve cheese. When it comes to certain fighters and fat cat promoters, that would be cheddar, which almost always produces a few greedy rat bastards. It’s hard to believe Floyd Mayweather really lusted for “Money” enough to expose him as real change to a new generation across the globe, while reminding them of an old slogan: Out with the old. In with the new.
Boxing almost always uses the old for something new.
Having reached the stage of a brand built around what [has been], that is exactly what Floyd has become, along with his arch-rival Manny Pacquiao. Two legends who must fall or rise above all reason, if 2018 was about asking not what they could do for themselves, 2019 will be all about what they can do for their countries.
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DAZN. FOX/SHOWTIME. ESPN. WBSS.
The British are not just coming– they are already here. Not exactly in the same way Paul Revere screamed about on American soil, but Eddie Hearn has all but dropped a Plymouth rock from the U.K. on The Big Apple. The sudden impact of DAZN on boxing- if not nuclear, is at least a spectacular transformer explosion seen around the world in a skyfall of blue over NYC. That’s not an accident. The app, basically HBO PPV Boxing reloaded, has either changed or eliminated competition with rivals and raised expectation. What this means is that FOX and SHOWTIME will find out just how great Al Haymon truly is, or whether he’s just the phantom Bob Arum alluded to that will finally disappear.
“The Matrix”, pound-for-pound world #1 and Top Rank star Vasyl Lomachenko is the face of ESPN in need of a genuine superfight at lightweight for legacy. Depending on what’s left of him after being manhandled by IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr (3/16 @Cowboys Stadium in Dallas) WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia qualifies here. If that fight fails to materialize (which would be a travesty), let’s see if Arum can get Gervonta “Tank” Davis (2/9 vs Abner Mares @StubHub) in the ring with Loma. After watching what fellow countryman Aleksander Usyk was able to pull off in 2018, the bar for the world’s best fighter just got higher, and it will take a win over one of those fighters (or both) to maintain his preeminence.
Nationalism has never been higher, as nation after nation now pits their professional best against each other in a different Olympics of sorts. That ain’t exactly the gospel, but in Gotham, many a fight fan has grown batty, with an almost apocalyptic fervor surrounding their love for their fighter and their nation in a way we’ve not really seen before.
Japan’s Naoya Inoue has the look of an international superstar, and will do as much for the World Boxing Super Series in 2019 as Usyk did in 2018. His looming match-up with Zolani Tete has FOTY written all over it.
A FEW SURPRISING SUPERFIGHTS WE COULD SEE IN 2019
Aleksander Usyk V Andre “S.O.G” Ward
To be prepared for all emergencies but unprepared for everyday elite ring life is uncivilized. At least, that’s the mind of unbeaten and soon-to-be unretired all-time great Andre Ward. That’s just how these things usually work. This fight can be analyzed a few different ways, with simple axioms providing some sort of reveal. The strong take from the weak, but the smart take from the strong. In dealing with Usyk, the all-world Ward wouldn’t find much to take away from a brilliant Ukrainian too smart to be lured into an ugly fight. Usyk would use the only two discernible advantages he’d have in such a match-up, superior conditioning and athleticism, to prevail via narrow UD.
Terence “Bud” Crawford V Floyd “Money” Mayweather
The braintrust around Mayweather only gaslit the idea of Mayweather V Pacquiao 2 to keep his limelight thirsty ego in neon. Meanwhile, the executive suits behind the WBO welterweight champion, business tycoon billionaire Warren Buffett and Top Rank Don Bob Arum, are the same suits responsible for both the “Pretty Boy Floyd” and “Money” brands, and figure a win over the unbeaten “TBE” (50-0, 27KOs) would be a great way for casual fans to see Bud’s name under champagne lights. Call it a massive fallout with Haymon on demand, but there will be no more gimmicks or A-side magic applied to protect Floyd, who hasn’t had an elite boxing contest in nearly four years. Telling himself he sees flaws in Crawford while ignoring he’s now totally flawed, Mayweather (who managed to avoid all elite welters on the PBC roster) would wind up being bludgeoned by Arum after all, as Bud rolls up and smokes TBE in six to set up a 2020 showdown with “The Truth”.
Keith “One-Time” Thurman V Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao
Pacquiao wasn’t brought in to be one and done with PBC on Jan. 19 against Adrien Broner. While the Filipino icon and reigning (regular) WBA welterweight champion has enough Pac-Man left in him to rather violently gobble up “The Problem” in an instant classic, don’t think for one minute that the return of “One-Time” one week later (1/26 vs gatekeeper Josesito Lopez) is a coincidence. This theory goes the unbeaten WBA (super) welterweight champion has been in boxing’s own witness protection program to align him with Pacquiao, as he’s suffered the same popularity irrelevance as Crawford. Given how much Thurman obviously means to invisible shareholders, look for Thurman to outwork and outpace Pacquiao via 12 round UD to present a sacrificial lamb for Spence.
Canelo Alvarez V Dmitry Bivol
Alvarez is at the same stage of his career where Mayweather was transformed away from “Pretty Boy Floyd”.
I think its safe to say that Canelo is now the new “Money”: No where near obsolete and backed by real gold. As such, under the broad vision of Hearn, in concert with a dice rolling Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya, anything is possible. After a rumored high profile Cinco de Mayo clash with Daniel Jacobs (Canelo KO’s Jacobs), how intriguing is Canelo V Bivol? The WBA light heavyweight champion would bring his own form of “Russiagate” to Mexico and present real problems for Alvarez that Rocky Fielding wasn’t capable of. Beyond that, Bivol admitted to being a small light heavyweight after decisioning a stocky and stubborn Jean Pascal in Atlantic City. To hear him ask for that fight was cool, because that’s a real Rocky V Drago type of fight.
Too much of who we are today is as a result of being influenced, rather than being informed. That probably explains why Women’s Boxing hasn’t had the sex appeal of Women’s MMA– seeing is believing. You can’t know how good something is unless you are first lead to believe it; and in America, female boxers have too often been kept away from even a fan option of choice. That will no longer be the case. HBO Boxing ended its 45 year run by handing its baton to the great Cecilia Braekhus and future legend Claressa Shields.
How great would it be if the fearsome UFC champion Amanda Nunes invaded boxing? After annihilating Ronda Rousey and Cyborg with classic punches from a pro boxer, what if Dana White was able to find a way to get Nunes in front of record setting multiple weight division magician Amanda Serrano? Or if that’s not possible, will Serrano (up next on 1/18) engage in the defining fight of her illustrious career by facing the challenge of Ireland’s Katie Taylor? If the apocalypse is near one thing’s for sure– boxing will go out with a big bang beyond theory.