Tyson Fury-Anthony Joshua
There is a plethora of talent in the heavyweight division and while Dillian Whyte and Alexander Povetkin have beef to settle, Deontay Wilder remains a threat to anything that moves, and with Joe Joyce and Oleksander Usyk on the peripheries, the only fight that would stop the world for one-night only in boxing is the all-British clash for all of the belts between WBC champion Tyson Fury and WBA, IBF, IBO and WBO ruler Anthony Joshua. And it’s not just because it’s an intriguing blend of fighting styles but the clash in personalities would create a fascinating pre-fight build.
Errol Spence-Terence Crawford
Please don’t say we have another Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao on our hands, where the fight takes place five years after it would have actually delivered what it should have in the ring rather than what it did at the box office. We’ve been talking about Crawford-Spence for too long as it is. Surely the days of big-name trilogies are all-but done if it takes several years to get even one megafight over the line. It’s a shame, but it seems as if the business comes before the sport with everyone hoping for one heist. Sugar Ray Robinson and Jake LaMotta would be spinning in their graves.
Artur Beterbiev-Saul Alvarez
Some will say Canelo doesn’t have any business taking on WBC and IBF light-heavyweight champion Beterbiev but after what Alvarez did to Sergey Kovalev why shouldn’t he? Would Artur be Joey Maxim to Canelo’s Sugar Ray? But Canelo looked so good against Callum Smith at 168 any fight fan would want to see where the brilliant Mexican’s ceiling is. Whether he does have designs on going to 175 for the likes of Beterbiev and Dmitriy Bivol (a dream match in its own right) we can only hope.
David Benavidez-Caleb Plant
While these two could be lured in to a big-money fight with Canelo in 2021, WBC champ Benavidez and IBF king Plant could provide some real fireworks. Plant must first get by Caleb Truax on January 30 while dynamite-hitting Benavidez will be looking to be more active having just had the one contest in 2020, defeating Roamer Alexis Angulo in 10 rounds despite failing to make the weight.
Gennady Golovkin-Jermall Charlo
If Canelo makes his home at 168 or dares to travel further north of that, GGG might be disappointed but there’s still opportunities at 160. It might be the final year of the great Kazakh’s career but he may reluctantly have to accept the future could lie in the hands of 30-year-old Jermall Charlo who impressed against Sergiy Derevyanchenko in September. Derevyanchenko had given Golovkin hell in his previous fight.
Josh Taylor-Jose Carlos Ramirez
Yes please. It’s arguably the only big fight that matters at 140 and would be for all of the marbles. Jack Catterall, mandatory for Ramirez’s WBO title, has accepted step-aside money on condition he gets the first crack at the winner, indicating that Taylor-Ramirez should be on tap for 2021. Taylor is the WBA and IBF champion and he also won the World Boxing Super Series at the weight, defeating Ryan Martin, Ivan Baranchyk and Regis Prograis to become the division’s No.1. Only Ramirez, who also holds the WBC belt, can argue that.
Devin Haney-Vasiliy Lomachenko
The lightweight division is arguably the sport’s flagship weight class as we head in to the New Year. Could the veteran Loma keep off the young blood and ambitious Haney or would Devin join Teofimo Lopez at the top of the class by claiming the scalp of the wondrous Ukrainian. When you factor in Lopez, Ryan Garcia, Luke Campbell, Tank Davis, any number of mouth-watering matches could be made at 135.
Gervonta Davis-Teofimo Lopez
There might be more chance Covid disappearing altogether in 2021 than this happening. Unfortunately, the boxing landscape is laced with politics, bickering and in-fighting and this is just about as unlikely as any other fight on this list. Still, we can but dream.
Emanuel Navarrete-Leo Santa Cruz
Navarrete is huge at the weight and looking to build his brand as he enters 2021 on the back of a points win over Ruben Villa. A big name like Leo could be a considerable profile-raiser. Santa Cruz might no longer see his future at 130 after his knockout loss to Tank Davis and a fight with Navarrete could be an absolute war.
Kazuto Ioka-Juan Francisco Estrada
After his thrilling New Year’s Eve win over Kosei Tanka, everyone was left wanting more of WBO champion Ioka – and they want to see him on the biggest stage. Experienced Mexican Estrada might be a bridge too far, but it would be awfully fun finding out. Estrada must first get by the legendary Roman Gonzalez on March 13, however, and that’s not a bad fight to start with!
2021 could be bright for boxing. If even half of these matches happen we would have done very well, sadly if a quarter of them happen I’d be very surprised. But when you factor in the likes of Josh Warrington, Naoya Inoue, Miguel Berchelt, Shakur Stevenson, Manny Pacquiao, Shawn Porter, Jermell Charlo and Mairis Briedis there’s plenty to be optimistic about. Boxing didn’t do so badly in 2020 after all, but in its battle for airtime and sponsorship it’s vital the push continues early into 2021 and beyond.