Since its return in June, boxing was received with mixed emotions. All of the major promotion companies have put on shows either in a bubble, or in the backyard of Matchroom headquarters.
The issue fans had about these cards was that they were seeing some of their favorites get back in the ring but against lower level competition.
As ratings suffered, the promotion companies had no choice but to start raising the level of their cards. The month of August and going into September featured some real competitive fights with an uptick in matchmaking.
Last week, we saw the Charlo brothers put on a Showtime PPV that featured six, or five, really, fights that were worth the price of the PPV.
Which brings me to the curious case of now unified junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo (34-1). Jermell had the impressive win against Jeison Rosario but the next question would be, where does he go from here?
Jermell was the guest for “Max on Boxing” with Max Kellerman and he was asked that very same question. Max seemed as though he was giving him a layup so to speak when he asked him, “Give me a name at 54…could be a welterweight moving up. “
I bring that up because what if I told you that the next biggest fight for WBO Welterweight champion Terrence Crawford (36-0) isn’t the long-desired Spence Jr one, but an undisputed junior middleweight title fight with Jermell Charlo.
I think Max, being an ESPN employee, was maybe trying to get him to go there but Jermell wouldn’t. The fight would sell itself as both men have a huge personality and that would spill over to the general public through the powerhouse machines of ESPN and Showtime.
How does that happen and when? Jermell is going to have 1-2 mandatories and while that is happening, Crawford will fight WBO junior middleweight champion Patrick Teixeira (31-1). That fight was discussed in the past, but it wasn’t the right time. Now is the time and with the way the WBO works, it would not be an issue to make that fight happen.
This may sound a little far-fetched, but I think we see an undisputed junior middleweight fight between Terence Crawford and Jermell Charlo by the end of next year. Make sure you reserve that hotel for Vegas in December 2021.
I love this division as it has produced some very exciting fights in the past. It looks as though next year we will have some sort of unofficial tournament which will eventually lead to an undisputed champion. WBA champion Joshua Franco (17-1-2) will be going up against Andrew Moloney (21-1) in a rematch before the year is out.
Look for the winner of that matchup to face IBF champion Jerwin Ancajas (32-1-2) in a unification bout in 2021. Also next year, we will get the long-awaited rematch between Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (49-2) and Juan Francisco “Gallo” Estrada (40-3).
While all of that is happening, we will also see WBO champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2) face Kosei Tanaka (15-0) in what will be an all action fight. The winner of Estrada-Gonzalez will face the winner of Ioka-Tanaka which can happen before the end of 2021.
Next year will be an explosive year for the Super Flyweight division. Can someone get Tom Loeffler on the phone and help organize all of this?
It’s no secret that the fight in 2021 will be Jose Ramirez (26-0) vs Josh Taylor(17-0) for the undisputed crown. As I mentioned in previous “Around the Curve with Abe” articles before it became general knowledge, both men will move up to welterweight after their fight, leaving all of the belts vacant.
Insert Teofimo Lopez, who will surely receive one of the first opportunities at one of those titles. Next year, Teofimo will be fighting for the Super Lightweight title. Don’t be surprised if the young gun Elvis Rodriguez is fighting for one of the other titles. A Teofimo vs Elvis fight is bound to happen within the next two years.
Some may say it’s too quick for the young Dominican fighter, but I would disagree, and he will prove me right by the end of next year.
Yes, the biggest star in the sport gets his own section when speaking of anything boxing related. The Mexican star and his attorneys refiled his court case against GoldenBoy Promotions and DAZN, which means it is likely next year before we see him in the ring again.
When we do see Canelo back, the running order will be Billy Joe Saunders and then Callum Smith in 2021. With that, it looks like the GGG fight will receive a May 2022 fight date. When I think about that GGG fight, it reminds me of the Duran vs Leonard trilogy.
The third one happened nine years after the controversial “No Mas” fight. For many, the third fight was past its expiration date when it finally occurred. The Canelo vs GGG III fight should have happened May of 2019 but it didn’t and now it will have to wait. By May 2021, GGG will be 39 and even more past his athletic prime. Fans will tune in, but it will receive the same type of criticism that the third Leonard vs Duran fight did back in 1989. Much like Leonard was back then, Canelo is calling the shots and he will fight GGG when he is good and ready.
My Three Cents:
We are in the final quarter of the year and the fight results will lead to big events in 2021. With crowds slowly looking making its way back, barring another quarantine, we should get the big fights once again.