Around the Curve with Abe: Boxing in 2020
As we anxiously await the clock to hit 12 on New Year's Eve and say goodbye to the decade that was filled with peaks and valleys, it's time to look ahead to 2020 and see what's to be expected.
Starting next year, I will periodically put out article talking about things that are developing in front of us along with what that could means for potential future fights within the sport of boxing. This will also include business moves that are made which lead to even bigger events ie: Fury having a match on WWE and why that happened from a business perspective.
Let's take a look at some of the potential matchups that have the ability to make next year an even bigger year for boxing.
In 2019, the super flyweight division saw a little bit of a cool down period after the last Tom Loeffler's “SuperFly” event. That period will be coming to an end as the superfly division will pick right up in 2020. The fighter that will spark this will be Kosei Tanaka (14-0), who is currently the WBO flyweight champion.
He is an exciting fighter who is looking to make an even bigger splash than Naoya Inoue as he will certainly be moving up once he defends his title within the next day or two. Once he moves up to superfly, he will become the mandatory challenger for WBO super flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (24-2). This fight will be a huge event in Japan with the winner setting themselves up for an even bigger unification fight later on in the year which brings us to the great Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (48-2).
Gonzalez recently fought on ESPN Plus which coincidently was in Japan where he spent the majority of his career fighting and has established a strong fan base. I wouldn't be surprised if Top Rank is able to make a deal with Gonzalez to fight IBF super flyweight Champion Jerwin Ancajas (32-1-2) here in the states in order to setup a unification in Japan later on in the year.
The other option is if Khalid Yafai (26-0) were to beat “Gallo” Estrada, then maybe it's Yafai that gets Gonzalez or the winner of Tanaka and Ioka. Yafai has fought on ESPN in the past so I don't think it will be an issue to make that fight if he were to come out victorious.
Lightweight through Super Lightweight
The biggest fight in the lightweight division will happen in the first quarter of the year which is between Vasiliy Lomachenko (14-1) and Teofimo Lopez (15-0).
This fight will be a classic and will probably warrant a rematch which will take up the whole year for both men. Regardless of who wins, I can see both leaving the division as Loma will move down to super featherweight and Lopez will move up to super lightweight. Gervonta Davis (23-0) will have fights against the likes of Leo Santa Cruz, Abner Mares and Robert Easter to fill the year with hopes of a mega fight in 2021. One of those fights may end up on a huge card that I'll get into later on in the article.
Super lightweight will have Jose Ramirez (25-0) go up against Josh Taylor (16-0) in a unification fight which will crown an undisputed champion. This also has the making of happening more than once in 2020 with both men moving up to welterweight afterwards and making room for Teofimo Lopez to make a case for those vacated titles.
Devin Haney will make some defenses of his title but will end up having a hard time making any significant fights forcing a possible move to 140 after the alphabet belts are once again vacant.
At the end of 2020, we will see Regis Prograis, Jose Ramirez and Josh Taylor all entering the already crowded welterweight division.
The real discussion at welterweight; who is WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford (36-0) going to fight since it's been extremely difficult to get him a significant fight.
As Senior Writer for Nyfights.com John Gatling has mentioned a while back, the Crawford versus Porter fight has to happen before the Spence Jr. fight can happen. If the Porter deal falls through, I would not be surprised if Vergil Ortiz Jr. is the one that faces Crawford at the end of the year which will definitely gain some attention within the boxing sphere. If not, Top Rank will be able to choose out of the three moving up (Prograis, Ramirez, Taylor) to face Crawford.
The big story for next year will be who Manny Pacquiao (62-7-2) faces in the spring and whether or not Floyd Mayweather Jr. (50-0) will truly come out of retirement to do the rematch. First with Pacquiao, I think he fights Danny
Garcia in April which will be the last fight on his current contract. Then a deal will be negotiated to fight Floyd Mayweather in September at the nearly 2 billion dollar Raider Stadium in Las Vegas. (The Stadium has had structural issues but is due to be ready by September). The investors want to see somewhat of an immediate return and what bigger event than the rematch in that stadium to fulfill those desires.
If the fight happens, you will see Gervonta Davis as the co-main on that card with the “passing of the torch” in regards to PPV happening that night. Also, for the amount of revenue and interest it will draw, you can bet that Fox Sports will be the ones carrying the programming for this one.
At some point in the near future, the question is going to come up whether Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (53-1-2) will remain at middleweight.
From the looks of things, he will campaign at super middleweight, which may open things up for Jermall Charlo (30-0) to win multiple titles at middleweight. This is probably why he is hesitant to sign a deal for the Andrade fight and is taking more of the “wait and see” approach.
Gennadiy Golovkin (40-1-1) who turns 38 in April, will have one more fight at middleweight before ending the year with the trilogy fight against Canelo but this time at super middleweight. With all of this happening, Demetrius Andrade (28-0) will be left to figure out whether to stay at middleweight or climb up to super middleweight for a significant fight.
Unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (23-1) will be tied up with his mandatories this upcoming year which are Kubrat Pulev and Oleksandr Usyk. Don't expect Joshua, if victorious after this two fights, to fight a Wilder or Fury until 2021.
Speaking of Wilder and Fury, their rematch will surpass the million PPV buys with all of the promotional muscle of ESPN and Fox behind it. It will likely lead to a trilogy while the other heavyweights continue to battle for future positioning. In saying that, I could really see Andy Ruiz Jr. (33-2) versus Adam Kownacki (20-0) happening in 2020 at the Barclays. Wouldn't that be an exciting all out action fight for the PBC belt!
As exciting of a boxing year 2019 has been, 2020 is sure to provide some clarity in a few divisions and more marinating in others. A lot of these things may happen or they may not but given how the chips are falling within these respective divisions, there is a good chance things play out the way I mentioned.
Next year, expect more of these type of articles along with interviews, fight previews and ringside reports. Stay tuned by bookmarking Nyfights.com and following me on twitter @abeg718 and @nyfights on Instagram.