"Fighting Words" - Dropping the (Crystal) Ball on 2017


by David P. Greisman

Hindsight is 20/20. Foresight isn’t necessarily crystal clear. It helps, then, to have a crystal ball.

My crystal ball is my greatest asset. Anyone can be an armchair quarterback or a backseat driver.  I’d rather be a visionary instead of a revisionist historian. I don’t use these skills for fame. I’m a seer who is content merely with being heard. I want you to know what I know, to know what comes before it comes.

But if you want my foresight, then you must be forewarned. This year in boxing will be superb yet silly, fantastic but frustrating.

Here is the fortune — and misfortune — to come:


Robert Guerrero and Kelly Pavlik each release autobiographies, which are soon revealed to be Ghost-written.

Leo Santa Cruz promises to fight twice as hard in his rematch with Carl Frampton. True to his word, Santa Cruz breaks records with his output but still loses a close decision. CompuBox sends Santa Cruz a consolation prize: a busted punch-counting device. The technician assigned to him becomes the first in his industry to retire due to repetitive motion injury.

Erislandy Lara and Yuri Foreman put people to sleep in the least-watched junior middleweight fight so far in 2017. The year is still young. But it’s a small number. And yet…


Miguel Cotto and James Kirkland combine for an early Fight of the Year candidate, except it’s on pay-per-view and is seen by more pirated viewers than actual paying customers.

Cotto-Kirkland still makes more money than the actual least-bought pay-per-view of the year: Roy Jones Jr. vs. Bobby Gunn. That show isn’t helped by laws against false advertising, which prohibit the main event from being marketed as involving “Roy Jones Jr.” due to him not resembling anything close to who “Roy Jones Jr.” once was. Instead, the fight is billed as “Shot vs. Gunn.”

Adrien Broner defeats Adrian Granados, then proclaims once again that he’ll now be more mature and will focus on boxing and being a good role model to his kids.

A week later, Broner is arrested in Ohio.


One state over, Paul Spadafora challenges Broner to a fight for the all-jail junior welterweight championship. The WBC, never afraid to make up yet another title for a special occasion, supplies the belt.

Danny Garcia digs down and stops a resilient but outgunned Keith Thurman. Afterward, the entire welterweight division announces a move to 154 in order to avoid Errol Spence.

Gennady Golovkin blows out Daniel Jacobs. Canelo Alvarez, in camp for his upcoming fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., says he’ll skip 160 completely and stay at super middleweight after the Chavez fight.



Soulja Boy and Chris Brown meet in a celebrity boxing match, the pair of battling rappers bringing more buzz to the sport than 50 Cent and Jay-Z ever did as promoters.

Cruiserweight contender Yunier Dorticos signs a sponsorship deal with the most fitting brand name for him: Doritos.

Former heavyweight champion Tyson Fury signs a sponsorship deal with the most fitting brand name for him: Coke.


In recognition of his massive weight gain, the retired Marcos Maidana changes his nickname from “Chino” to “Double Chin-o.”

Speaking of massive weight gains, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. comes into the ring against Canelo Alvarez with a 20-pound advantage. “Oh, that’s what it’s like,” says Canelo.

Shannon Briggs and Fres Oquendo fight for a heavyweight title. An alarmed Marty McFly checks whether his DeLorean accidentally transported him more than a decade back in time. Meanwhile, real-life people try to figure out why this bout is actually happening in 2017.

Billy Joe Saunders negotiates his way out of a fight.


Tyson Fury, still undefeated as heavyweight champion, sets a new record for longest reign with zero defenses.

Adrien Broner takes part in the main event of a “Premier Boxing Champions” broadcast on Spike TV. As with last time, the broadcast is preceded and followed by episodes of “Cops.” This time, however, the episodes all feature Broner’s own run-ins with the law.

A boxing judge becomes a truck driver, then gets ostracized by his colleagues due to his refusal to say “10-4” unless someone got knocked down five times.


Alexander Povetkin and Lucas Browne face off in a fight between two heavyweights who each have twice tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Fittingly, Antonio Tarver calls out the winner.

Speaking of drugs, a boxer takes laxatives in order to make weight for a fight that could land him a world title shot, but his plan backfires — no pun intended — giving him an elimination bout just before his elimination bout.

In the wake of these events, the entire industry of boxing finally institutes better drug testing. The coming weeks bring announcements of top heavyweights suddenly dropping down to cruiserweight while top cruiserweights announce that they must move up to heavyweight.

Billy Joe Saunders negotiates his way out of a fight.


Freddie Roach gives up training fighters to focus on what is clearly his true passion: giving interviews to boxing reporters.

In a battle of ranked Thai bantamweights, Suriyan Sor Rungvisai faces Pungluang Sor Singyu. One is named the winner by controversial split decision and moves on toward a title shot. The other storms out of the ring and changes his name to Sor Loser.

Conor McGregor loses a UFC fight by knockout. Skip Bayless runs out of people to accuse Floyd Mayweather Jr. of ducking, never talks about boxing again. Boxing fans don’t mind one bit.


Bernard Hopkins comes out of retirement to announce one final bout, this time at heavyweight, in what will be the first and only pro boxing match ever in which the two fighters have a combined age of more than 100 years old.

Hopkins’ opponent: Bronco Billy Wright, a 52-year-old who turned pro in 1986 and was still fighting three decades later, now 52-4 with 43 KOs and as up there in weight as he is up there in years.

The Hopkins-Wright fight is sponsored by Fixodent, Depends, Hair Club for Men, and Just For Men, which won’t actually reflect the age of the fighters, but rather the average age of boxing viewers.


Fresh off its success sponsoring Bernard Hopkins vs. Bronco Billy Wright, “Just For Men” signs a deal with boxing’s own premature silver fox, former junior middleweight titleholder Liam Smith. The deal ends quickly when Smith loses his next fight and it is revealed that his locks, like Samson’s, were the source of his power all along.

Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller fittingly faces heavyweight also-ran Edmund Gerber, tells Gerber he’ll chew him up and spit him out.

Billy Joe Saunders negotiates his way out of a fight.


Vasyl Lomachenko outdoes Willie Pep, wins without landing a single punch over the course of an entire fight.

Guillermo Rigondeaux outdoes himself, wins a fight without a single person watching.


HBO kills off its boxing programming the only way it knows how — besides the way it’s currently doing business — by casting its fighters as characters on “Game of Thrones.”

Another year passes without Floyd Mayweather Jr. coming out of retirement. The sport realizes that it, too, can move on, just in time for 2018 to begin.

“Fighting Words” appears every Monday on Pick up a copy of David’s book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at or internationally at Send questions/comments via email at [email protected]

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User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Thurman on 01-11-2017

[quote] Bronco Billy Wright, a 52-year-old who turned pro in 1986 and was still fighting three decades later, now 52-4 with 43 KOs and as up there in weight as he is up there in years. [/quote] It's crazy that…

Comment by BrometheusBob. on 01-10-2017

Awh **** the second BJS negotiates his way out of a fight just killed me :lol1::lol1:

Comment by BrometheusBob. on 01-10-2017

The article was like 50/50 to me until I hit the WBC title for Broner/Spadafora then I lol'd pretty hard

Comment by jas on 01-10-2017

good stuff, hilarious you forgot: keeping in good tradition, the cotto catchweight pattern continues. 159 vs martinez, 157 vs gaele, 155 vs canelo, 153 vs kirkland, 151 vs...................

Comment by Boxing Logic on 01-10-2017

A better joke would be to predict that Floyd Mayweather decides to fight a top fighter in their prime in their natural weight class. That joke would really blow people's minds.

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