After Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao created record revenues during their much-hyped meeting in 2015, the fight calendar in 2016 was relatively quiet. The most high-profile boxing bout was supposed to be Klitschko-Fury II, which was postponed repeatedly, depriving fans of a dramatic rematch.
The fight card in 2017 should prove to be much more entertaining than 2016, including current and past champions battling up-and-coming stars who seek to etch their name into boxing history. Assuming the logistics work out, the staff at Canada Sports Betting believe that the following five bouts will be the biggest boxing events to bet on in 2017
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs Gennady “GGG” Golovkin
In 2017, the biggest boxing bout appears to involve the collision of Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin, considered two of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the profession. Unlike Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, which featured Floyd at his elusive best, Alvarez and Golovkin have developed their reputation through overwhelming offensive capabilities. Golovkin has a pair of the heaviest fists in the middleweight division while Alvarez has developed into one of the best combo punchers in the boxing world.
Both men have earned their followings with the quality of their boxing, grinding through the ranks to become elites in the sport. Golovkin has stopped nearly everyone he’s faced in his career, landing 23 consecutive knockouts during his belt-collection spree. Alvarez has only lost once in his career, dropping a decision against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2013, and has never been knocked out. One of these streaks will come to a halt if their late-2017 fight date takes place as expected. At the moment, general opinion leans towards Golovkin delivering another stoppage, despite Alvarez’s edge in youth and defensive skill.
Adrien Broner vs. Adrian Granados
Confidence is one of the most important psychological strengths of a prize fighter, and when a boxer’s ego overwhelms his common sense, professional and personal problems often follow. After a troubled 2016, Adrien “The Problem” Broner will begin his climb back to the top in 2017 by facing Adrian Granados. In addition to dealing with jail time, Broner must overcome weight-based controversies that resulted in him being stripped of a title and roundly criticized by other fighters. The Problem even ended up getting into a beef with Floyd Mayweather Jr., who has mostly supported Broner during his career.
His opponent, Adrian Granados, doesn’t have the pedigree of previous challengers, but did pull off a major upset in November 2015 by taking out Amir Imam, who was the undefeated WBC top-ranked junior welterweight. Granados will certainly be considered the underdog, but shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially if he leverages his five-inch reach advantage to keep Broner from landing power shots. Nonetheless, Broner’s 32-2-0 record and 24 KOs makes him a significant favorite over the 18-4-2 Granados. In fact, during the battle of the Adrians, anything less than a decisive victory for “The Problem” will be interpreted as a disappointment.
Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko
Another big bout in 2015 was the heavyweight title matchup between Tyson Fury and Wladimir Klitschko. Unfortunately, Wladimir was unusually tranquil during this fight, leading to the end of the Klitschko era in the heavyweight division when Fury earned a unanimous decision. Incredibly, this was Wladimir’s first loss in more than decade. Since then, the rematch has been indefinitely postponed as Fury struggles to deal with mental health issues. Now that Fury has vacated his belts, the heavyweight division has turned to Anthony Joshua as the main challenger to Klitschko’s legacy.
Joshua had to earn his shot at an IBO and WBA super title by defending his IBF belt against Eric Molina. When Anthony knocked Molina out on December 11th, the path was paved for what should be the best heavyweight fight in 2017. Joshua has knocked out all 18 of his opponents during his brief time in the pros, and boasts a young athleticism that Klitschko must neutralize with pugilistic wisdom. Wladimir has been inactive for more than a year, which only boosts the moneylines for Anthony Joshua as the favorite in this matchup. The main criticism against Joshua would be the lack of world-class boxers he’s faced during his 18-0 streak, which is speculation he looks forward to putting to rest in Wembley Stadium on April 29th, 2017.
Manny Pacquiao vs. Terence Crawford?
After a brief retirement in April 2016, Pacquiao beat Jessie Vargas in November to once again become the WBO world welterweight champion. His promoter, Bob Arum from Top Rank, stated that Manny will continue to battle throughout 2017, likely sticking to a schedule of two fights per year over the foreseeable future. Some have called for a rematch against Mayweather, but it’s more likely that another challenger will populate Manny’s projected card in June 2017.
Many boxing observers hope that Pacquiao will get a shot against Terence Crawford, who currently holds the title of unified light welterweight champion. Similar to Mayweather, Crawford has an unbeaten record throughout his career. However, Crawford has a higher knockout ratio and the ability to switch stances comfortably, alternating between orthodox and southpaw. This stylistic change might prove to challenge Pacquiao, should this fight move forward.
The good news is that Manny’s already stated he would drop down in weight class to fight Crawford. The two fighters also share Bob Arum as a promoter, which simplifies the deal-making process. Unfortunately, Crawford is serving jail time before the projected fight date, which could complicate this logistics of this bout.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs… Conor McGregor?
Conor has a boxing license, which means that this fight could, in theory, take place sometime in 2017. The amount of smack talk exchanged between the two continues to escalate, with Floyd referring to the UFC star “Conor McTapout”, while Conor swears and promises to knock Mayweather out cold.
If these two somehow end up meeting in the ring, the boxing and MMA world will combine to create an incredible hype machine, inflating this fight into one of the biggest sporting events of the year. There’s no denying McGregor’s toughness, but the art of the sweet science far surpasses typical striking skills found in UFC combat, making Floyd a huge hypothetical favorite in this absurd matchup scenario.