Boxing

Ranking Boxing’s Super Fights (and their 2023 likelihood)

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To its great detriment, boxing has turned into a sport where it’s become exceedingly difficult to make best vs. best matchups. There are, of course, plenty of big fights out there, but very few big fights seem to make it into the ring these days.

Here’s a look at 9 of the biggest fights in the sport and a letter grade for each, rating it’s likelihood of actually happening in 2023:

Heavyweight

Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk

Usyk has the IBF/WBA/WBO titles while Fury has the WBC belt and recognition as the lineal champion. Despite an inability to get this fight done this year (and plenty of nasty words tossed about between the two parties), both fighters have a reputation for taking on tough challenges and not stalling when it comes to fighting the best. Of all the fights on this list, this one is one of the more likely to happen sooner rather than later.

Will it happen in 2023 grade: A-

Light Heavyweight

Artur Beterbiev vs. Dmitry Bivol

WBA champ Bivol has expressed his desire to fight IBF/WBO/WBC champ Beterbiev next, after a decisive points victory over Gilberto Ramirez this past Saturday and a win over Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in May. Fellow Russian Artur Beterbiev, meanwhile, is tied into a title defense against Anthony Yarde in the first quarter of 2023, but should be available for a unification clash in the second half of the year.

Will it happen in 2023 grade: A-

Super Middleweight

Saul Alvarez vs. David Benavidez

Benavidez has to first get past Caleb Plant this March. But, if he does beat Plant, there’s no reason he wouldn’t become a “must fight” opponent for the Mexican superstar and unified 168 lb. champ, Alvarez, unless, of course, Alvarez occupies himself with any of the near-infinite amount of challengers from which he can choose.

Will it happen in 2023 grade: B-

Middleweight

Gennadiy Golovkin vs. Jermall Charlo

WBA/IBF champ Golovkin is 40 years old and easing his way out the proverbial door. WBC champ Charlo, meanwhile, has been idling for a couple years now, seemingly waiting for a Canelo Alvarez blockbuster to fall into his lap, with just one fight in 2021 and none in 2022. This one ain’t happening.

Will it happen in 2023 grade: F

Junior Middleweight

Jermell Charlo vs. Sebastian Fundora

Charlo is the unified junior middleweight champion and the all-action Fundora is the logical top contender. Charlo is tied to a title defense against Second-generation star Tim Tszyu in the first part of the coming year. But considering that both fighters compete under the Premier Boxing Champions banner and how a bout between the two makes so much sense, this one is pretty much a lock.

Will it happen in 2023 grade: A

Welterweight

Errol Spence Jr. vs. Terence Crawford

Nastiness has ensued since this welterweight title unification bout collapsed in negotiations. But, still, even though both fighters are moving on to face other opposition next, there’s a decent possibility that they will be nudged (or shamed) into what amounts to the biggest fight out there for both.

Will it happen in 2023 grade: C+

Junior Welterweight

Josh Taylor vs. Teofimo Lopez

The former unified 140 lb. champ, Taylor, and former unified 135 lb. champ Lopez seem on somewhat of a collision course. Making this big contest easier to make is the fact that both fighters compete under the Top Rank promotional banner. Taylor, though, will have to get past a Jack Catterall rematch first and Lopez will have to beat Jose Pedraza in December.

Will it happen in 2023 grade: B

Lightweight

Devin Haney vs. Vasiliy Lomachenko

Haney is the four-belt unified champ and Lomachenko is the former three-belt champ. That, alone, should be enough to make this bout a logical next fight for both. But never accuse boxing of having much logic. There are business obstacles in place that may block this fight and the negotiations promise to be just as tough of a battle as the fight itself. However, yeah, both fighters seem up for challenges. Maybe it does happen.

Will it happen in 2023 grade: B-

Gervonta Davis vs. Ryan Garcia

This lightweight clash would be for none of the “real” belts, but it could be bigger than any of the other fights on this list. Garcia is the social media phenom with otherworldly raw ability. Davis is an elite-level talent who just may be, pound-for-pound, the most explosive fighter in the sport. Ego and conflicting business models may stand in the way of this one. Consider Davis-Garcia to be a longshot for the coming year.

Will it happen in 2023 grade: D

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Paul Magno has over forty years of experience in and around the sport of boxing and has had his hand in everything, from officiating to training. As a writer, his work has appeared in several online publications, including Yahoo Sports, Fox Sports, FightHype, Max Boxing, Boxing.com, Inside Fights, The Boxing Tribune, The Queensberry Rules, and Premier Boxing Champions. You can reach him at: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com