There are generally 2 months in the year that boxing is at its peak. From the 1st weekend of April through the weekend of Cinco de Mayo boxing is at a full force. After that boxing fans are left with mediocre matchups and the rare good fight or two until September when the sport picks back up again for about a month.
Now with Floyd Mayweather Jr. officially retired it might seem like the sport of boxing has become less popular to the majority of Americans, but the truth is casual fans are now more interested than ever, because without the defensive genius in the ring pay-per-views are bound to be filled with more punching and more violence; two things fans can’t get enough of. Two things fight fans can look forward to this month.
The action starts this weekend. So we here at GameDaySportsBlog.com are taking a look at the next 30 days of boxing and previewing the biggest and best matchups you need to watch.
Anthony Joshua (-600) vs. Charles Martin (+400)
Many of you may think that this month’s boxing season is kicking off with Manny Pacquiao’s 2nd rematch with rival Timothy Bradley Jr., and that means you would miss out on what is bound to be one heck of a power showdown. Earlier in the day, across the pond in England, there is a heavyweight matchup between two up and coming superstars.
Now I will preface this by saying that Anthony Joshua has not fought a who’s who of boxing so far in his career. However, the man is an absolute beast allowing only 1 fight of his to go past the 3rd round, and in his 15 fights he has done enough in this writer/boxer’s mind, to be called the best heavyweight in the game today. That is right, albeit a division with few good fighters highlighted by the travesty that was the Tyson Fury-Wladimir Klitschko title “fight” last November, Joshua’s performance and emergence on the scene gives hope that the heavyweight division will see a bruising violent knockout artist again.
As for his opponent, Charles Martin, he is the champion. He is the one defending the belt in this matchup, and despite both fighters having just a combined 39 fights, neither have lost, and this looks to be the matchup to decide the future of the heavyweight division. Martin is strong and packs a good punch (21 of his 23 wins are by knockout), and will be a true test for Joshua in a fight that may mean more than any other fight over the next month.
Prediction: Anthony Joshua by KO (8th Round)
Manny Pacquiao (-250) vs. Timothy Bradley Jr. (+195)
Manny Pacquiao is without a doubt nearing the end of his Hall of Fame career. The boxer hasn’t knocked anyone out in over 6 years and his fight with all-time great Floyd Mayweather Jr. was a disappointment as Mayweather outclassed the Filipino fighter with lights out defense that made for a “boring” fight. Still, Pac-man had the chance to fight superstars like Terence Crawford, Lucas Matthysse, or Kell Brook, and instead chose a rubber match with Timothy Bradley Jr.
And while many people believed it to be an absolute robbery 4 years ago when Bradley won the fight on the judges’ scorecards, this fight will settle the score once and for all. Unfortunately for Pacquiao, he faces a fighter who has looked good in his past two fights beating Jessie Vargas for the Welterweight title, and then defending it with a knockout of Brandon Rios. And as Pacquiao gets older and with it most likely slower, Bradley is at the peak of his career and looked good early on 2 years ago in the rematch against Pacquiao before claiming an injury slowed him in the later rounds which lost him the fight.
So if this is the fight where age finally takes its toll on the Filipino superstar and the younger more agile Bradley takes advantage then despite the robbery of the 1st fight, this rivalry will end at Bradley 2, Pacquiao 1.
Prediction: Timothy Bradley by Decision (Split)
Triple G (-10000) vs. Dominic Wade (+1600)
Gennady Golovkin is ranked as the 3rd best pound-for-pound boxer by RING Magazine, and outside of Pacquiao and Canelo Alvarez is arguably the biggest draw in boxing. And for good reason. Triple G is 34-0 with 21 straight knockouts due to Golovkin’s violent and aggressive fighting style. As a boxer myself, I can say that the 15 straight title defenses and 21 straight knockouts make Gennady Golovkin the closest thing we have seen to the prime Mike Tyson. And just like Tyson in the 80’s, his fights are a must see show of destruction and power, of which very few want to be on the other end of.
Even now, after a dominating 8th round knockout of title contender David Lemieux the best fighter willing to take on the nearly unbeatable Golovkin is little known Dominic Wade, whose 18 fights, albeit all wins, are hardly a resumé for getting in the ring with a killer like Triple G.
Prediction: Gennady Golovkin by KO (5th Round)
Román González (-5000) vs. McWilliams Arroyo (+1400)
The night’s other feature fight of the night is also predicted to be a one-sided affair featuring the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport, Román González. The Nicaraguan Flyweight Champion is a cool 44-0 with nearly all of his wins (38) coming by way of knockout, including TKO’s of his last 10 opponents.
His opponent, former Latino Flyweight Champion McWilliams Arroyo, is a hard hitting Puerto Rican, but with only 18 pro fights, even after an amazing amateur career, Arroyo looks to be outmatched by arguably the best fighter in the game.
Prediction: Román González by TKO (6th Round)
Canelo Alvarez (-500) vs. Amir Khan (+350)
Canelo Alvarez maybe even more than Manny Pacquiao is the biggest draw in the sport today. The Mexican hero is a hard hitting and ferocious fighter who boxes with as much skill as he does power. His destruction and eventual knockout of James Kirkland followed up by his beating of Puerto Rican superstar Miguel Cotto has shown his growth in the sport from being absolutely outclassed (like everybody else has) by Floyd Mayweather Jr.
His opponent, Amir Khan, may have the fastest hands Canelo has ever seen and speed tends to give Canelo problems like it did when he fought Mayweather (loss) and Erislandy Lara (should have lost). The problem with Khan besides his lackluster showing against Chris Algieri last May, is him having a glass chin. And although Khan is undoubtedly quicker and faster than Alvarez, who still shows trouble cutting off the ring to quick fighters, a weak chin is not something you want to possess when fighting a power puncher like Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
Prediction: Canelo Alvarez by KO (8th Round)
David Lemieux vs. Glen Tapia
On that same card is another very interesting fight. Neither of this matchup’s fighters have fought in sometime, with Lemieux’s last bout a knockout loss to Triple G in October, and Tapia’s last matchup a bad loss to Michel Soro last May. What does this mean for this fight’s expectations? Who knows.
Before Lemieux was knocked out by hard-hitting Gennady Golovkin he himself was a power punching force in the middleweight ranks, holding two title belts at the same time. After having his head and body bashed in by the best knockout artist in boxing, we shall see what that does to the man. If he is back to his old ways it may be a long and painful night for Glen Tapia.
As for the man across the ring from him, there is a big mystery. Glen Tapia won the first 20 fights of his career before being knocked out by power punching James Kirkland. After that Freddie Roach’s youngest project won three dominating matchups before being floored in the 4th round by Michel Soro and losing both of his titles.
So this fight seems to be a mystery bag of sorts between two fighters who if they can put their last fights behind them, can put on one hell of a show.
Prediction: Glen Tapia by Decision (Unanimous)