Five boxing fights to make in 2020 include welterweight and heavyweight blockbusters
Things are looking up for the sweet science this year with plenty of premiere matchups to choose from
Matchmaking in the world of boxing has long been a feast-or-famine proposition, though hurdles involving various promotions, networks, streaming services and alphabet organizations have increased complications significantly. Still, in recent years, boxing fans have been treated to some thrilling contests involving high level opposition. But some fighters seem to have ended up on the short end of things in deep divisions. That is the case with one side of CBS Sports' top boxing fight to make in 2020.
There are plenty of fights that should happen in 2020 with truly deep levels of talent littering the landscape and potentially sport-defining fights. Heavyweight is thriving, welterweight has incredible depth and lightweight features rare talents. With these factors, 2020 could be a tremendous 12 months in the ring.
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With all that in mind, let's take a closer look at the five biggest fights boxing can make in 2020 that would really get both casuals and hardcores interested.
1. Errol Spence Jr. vs. Terence Crawford
PBC controls incredible depth at the top of the welterweight division right now, giving Errol Spence Jr. -- arguably the pound-for-pound best fighter in the sport -- seemingly endless options for big fights. He could face Shawn Porter in a rematch of their thrilling 2019 war. There have been plans for him to face off with Danny Garcia -- temporarily derailed by Spence's horrific car wreck -- and Keith Thurman and Manny Pacquiao are available as fresh, big name opponents in the division and under PBC deals.
Then, there's Terence "Bud" Crawford, who has his own claim to being the best fighter on the planet. But his Top Rank contract has led to fights with the PBC fighters to be more snipes through the media than contests in the ring. Crawford says he doesn't need the PBC fighters, they need him. Though, that appears to be more bluster than reality. There was talk of Crawford and Porter being able to work out a deal to cross promotional lines and fight, but Crawford shot that down on a recent DAZN broadcast, saying "That's not a fight that I'm focused on right now or even worried about." And while Spence closed his year against fellow elite welterweight Porter, Crawford took on Egidijus Kavaliauskas, a capable enough boxer, but not someone considered worthy competition for a fighter of Crawford's skills. Now, Bob Arum has suggested fights against Jose Ramirez, Josh Taylor and Regis Prograis for Crawford's 2020 schedule. Those are all legitimately talented fighters, but they're also all lightweights who would be moving up to fight at a considerable size disadvantage.
Crawford vs. Spence is the rare fight that would not only represent further unification of world championships, but a battle where the winner could reasonably be considered the sport's best pound-for-pound combatant. That makes the potential fight more important -- and necessary -- than any other that could be made, should boxing's age-old issues be set aside for one night.
Not only is there weight to the fight, but the stylistic battle is thrilling on paper. For the good of the sport, it's a fight that should happen. But "the good of the sport" is not often the driving force in matchmaking.
2. Anthony Joshua vs. winner of Tyson Fury/Deontay Wilder
Joshua vs. Fury or Wilder is, in many ways, a similar story to Spence vs. Crawford. There are promotional obstacles standing in the way of a fight that would unify all four recognized heavyweight world titles, to be sure. But there's an added layer of complexity to making the fight happen in 2020. It was revealed last week that Fury and Wilder already have an agreement in place for a third fight. Their first fight ended in a controversial draw, necessitating their February rematch. Now, the loser of the rematch is able to demand a rematch, which the winner must grant. Given the fight is expected to do massive pay-per-view business, a third fight would likely remain financially the best option for the loser. That could occupy Fury and Wilder's entire 2020 calendar. Not to mention, if after three fights there's a 1-1-1 split between the fighters, a fourth fight becomes almost necessary. Joshua, after having avenged his loss to Andy Ruiz in one-sided fashion, may have to look elsewhere while Fury and Wilder hold the heavyweight spotlight for the year.
3. Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Teofimo Lopez Jr.
This is the most likely fight on the list with the two lightweight champions already all but locked in for a long-discussed showdown. During his rise from top prospect to world champion, Lopez's story has been closely intertwined with Lomachenko, largely because his father and trainer Teofimo Sr. wouldn't stop talking about the fight and causing scene after scene. When Lopez captured his first world championship -- a crushing victory over Richard Commey in less than two rounds to capture the IBF title -- everything clicked into place. WBA, WBC and WBC champ Lomachenko had said he wanted the winner of Commey vs. Lopez and Lopez's desire to take on a man who is in the pound-for-pound discussion and an out-of-ring rival had already been made clear. Bring on the unification fight.
4. Vasily Lomachenko vs. Gervonta Davis
It speaks to the special place Lomachenko occupies in the minds of boxing fans that there are two potential matchups CBS Sports want to see him in that made the top five. Davis moved up to lightweight to end 2019, beating Yuriorkis Gamboa by late knockout. Davis hits hard, though taking almost the entirety of 12 rounds to knock out an older, slower version of Gamboa who was forced to fight on 10 rounds through what appears to have been a torn Achilles tendon may lead to questions of how much his power traveled to the division. And there were some potential issues with stamina on display as he was forced to fight past the sixth round for just the fourth time in his career. Still, he's a talented up-and-coming star and the hypothetical matchup with the lightweight king is deeply intriguing.
5. Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin III
Fans have already been treated to two fights between Alvarez and Golovkin, two of the biggest superstars in the modern boxing era. Their 2017 clash was a draw while the 2018 fight became a controversial majority decision win for Canelo. Had one judge not somewhat inexplicably scored Round 12 in the rematch for Alvarez, the result would have been yet another draw. Given the starpower involved, two compelling, entertaining and competitive fights and fan desire to see them fight one more time, it seems a trilogy fight must happen. Alvarez was into the idea after his win in the rematch, but repeatedly distanced himself from the idea in 2019. Time will tell whether GGG and Canelo throw down one last time.
Honorable mentions: Josh Taylor vs. Jose Ramirez (light welterweight), Artur Beterbiev vs. Dmitry Bivol (light heavyweight), Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather II (welterweight), Keith Thurman vs. Shawn Porter II (welterweight), Naoya Inoue vs. Luis Nery (bantamweight)
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