The beginning of 2019 has been a frustrating time for boxing fans, because most of the sport’s premier match-ups simply aren’t coming to fruition.
Aside from in the middleweight division –
where Canelo Alvarez fights Daniel Jacobs in a May 4 unification – the best bouts in boxing are scarcely being put together, with a variety of mismatches instead taking their place.
Canelo Alvarez will unify middleweight titles against Daniel Jacobs in May
In many cases, promotional and broadcast disparities are at the heart of this issue, with multiple top fighters now signed/aligned exclusively to one side.
A prime example of this is at heavyweight, where
Anthony Joshua works with Eddie Hearn on DAZN, Deontay Wilder with Al Haymon on Showtime and Tyson Fury with Bob Arum/Frank Warren on ESPN.
The below list removes these irritating boundaries and simply names the best possible fight that could be made in each of boxing’s 17 weight classes at present.
Boxing schedule 2019, all major upcoming fights and results
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Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury
The consensus suggested that Fury beat Deontay Wilder in their controversial December draw. As a result, an all-British showdown between him and unified champion Joshua is the best bout to be made at heavyweight. It would also be a colossal event and the biggest fight in British history.
Mairis Briedis vs Yunier Dorticos
With the top two cruiserweights – Oleksandr Usyk and Murat Gassiev – moving up to heavyweight, the division has opened up. Thankfully, the next best remaining fighters are in a WBSS tournament with Briedis in one semi-final in June and Dorticos in another. If both win, they’ll meet later this year.
Dmitry Bivol vs Artur Beterbiev
Light-heavyweight contains four unique world champions and is stacked with talent, making it one of the tougher divisions to choose from. While Sergey Kovalev and Oleksandr Gvozdyk are both top class, a mouth-watering unification between power punchers Bivol and Beterbiev tops the lot.
Callum Smith vs David Benavidez
Both Smith and Benavidez tower above most super-middleweights, but would prove an even match for one another. Benavidez was stripped of his world title last year after testing positive for cocaine, but is now in position to win it back again and could then unify against Smith.
Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin III
Quite remarkably, the best fight to be made at middleweight is actually happening as Canelo faces Daniel Jacobs on May 4. Aside from that unification, a trilogy bout between Canelo and GGG is still an incredible match-up because the result of their thrilling rematch was disputed.
Jarrett Hurd vs Jaime Munguia
It sounds as if Jermell Charlo will get the chance to regain his WBC title from Tony Harrison in June, with the aim of unifying against Hurd afterwards. While this is a tantalising prospect, a unification with hard-hitting young Mexican Munguia is undoubtedly the best fight available at present.
Errol Spence vs Terence Crawford
A match-up between welterweight king Spence and three-weight world champion Crawford is one of the best that can be made in the entire sport. Both are in the pound-for-pound top ten and both hold titles at 147lbs. A potential all-American clash for the ages.
Regis Prograis vs Josh Taylor
Unlike any other division, the best fight to be made at super-lightweight contains two men who are yet to become champions. Prograis and Taylor are both due to fight for titles imminently. Like with the cruiserweights, the pair are on a collision course to meet in a WBSS final this year.
Vasyl Lomachenko vs Mikey Garcia
Despite his recent defeat to Errol Spence at welterweight, Garcia is still an elite fighter in his natural division. Many previously saw the four-weight champion as the only man to challenge three-weight star Lomachenko, although it remains to be seen whether Garcia can return to lightweight.
Gervonta Davis vs Miguel Berchelt
Davis stands out as the most eye-catching super-featherweight at present, with Berchelt and Tevin Farmer hot on his heels. It’s tough to pick which of the latter pair would provide the toughest test for Davis, but a unification with come-forward Mexican Berchelt would almost certainly be most explosive.
Leo Santa Cruz vs Gary Russell Jr
On current form, Josh Warrington is the best featherweight on Earth, however American champions Santa Cruz and Russell Jr are both elite, long-reigning title-holders. Oscar Valdez also owns a belt and a fight featuring any two of these four would be a must-see. The all-US showdown is probably the best.
Rey Vargas vs Daniel Roman
Super-bantamweight in an understated division in boxing today, with two long-reigning champions and two boxers who only won their titles late last year. There aren’t many huge fights to make in the weight class, but a clash of established rulers Vargas and Roman would be one to get excited for.
Naoya Inoue vs Luis Nery
Mexico’s Nery is hated in Japan due to the drug/weight issues encountered when he twice beat Shinsuke Yamanaka. Now, the Japanese have a new hero in the form of Inoue. If he comes through the WBSS tournament and Nery reclaims his old WBC title, a bout between them would be irresistible.
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai vs Jerwin Ancajas
The super-flyweight division stagnated in the latter half of 2018, but a unification between Srisaket and Ancajas would change this completely. The Thai Rungvisai emerged from obscurity in 2017 with back-to-back wins over former pound-for-pound king Roman Gonzalez. He’s also beaten Juan Estrada.
Kosei Tanaka vs Charlie Edwards
At the end of last year, Edwards took Cristofer Rosales’ title with a fantastic performance which put forward his case for being the world’s best flyweight. Tanaka meanwhile was involved in a ‘Fight of the Year’ contender against Sho Kimura and would dispute Edwards’ claim as he’s won belts in three divisions.
Ken Shiro vs Hiroto Kyoguchi
Shiro and Kyoguchi are two more of Japan’s rising stars from the smaller weight classes. The former has put together a nice run of wins, although the latter is a two-weight champion and recently stopped Hekkie Budler, a result that thrust him into the light-flyweight big time.
Wanheng Menayothin vs Knockout CP Freshmart
The champion with the best numerical record in all of boxing is Thailand’s 52-0 Wanheng. The 33-year-old brought attention to a much-ignored division last year as he topped Floyd Mayweather’s famous 50-0 slate. He’s held his belt for four years, but is yet to unify – step forward fellow Thai Freshmart.