OK, I’ll admit it. I’ve tried to hard to be at least the least bit understanding when it comes to Mayweather vs. McGregor. Through all the negotiations and childish taunts and jabs thrown back and forth, I tried to remind myself that it is just entertainment, and nothing more. But in recent days, with the media tour in full force, I just can’t do it anymore. As a boxing fan for well over thirty years, the thousands of fights I have had the pleasure of watching has trained my brain to appreciate competition and greatness, not bravado and greed.
With August 26th fast approaching, millions will be gathered around whatever television is closest to drop one hundred hard earned dollars to feel as if they are a part of something “special”, feeling the privilege of being allowed to throw good money away for some variation of what some are calling history. But even with the pathetic mockery of the sport, boxing still has an action packed second half of 2017 in store, many of these matches airing for free.
Counting down from number one, here are the five must see bouts (as currently scheduled) for the the remainder of 2017.
1. Gennady Golovkin vs. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, Sept. 16, HBO PPV (PPV price pending).
This was probably the easiest selection to make of all, as fans have been clamouring for this bout for nearly two years. Golovkin (37-0, 33 KO) is the reigning WBA (Super), WBC, IBF and IBO Middleweight king, and will look to capture the Ring and vacant lineal Middleweight crowns when he takes on Alvarez (49-1, 34 KO) on September 16. This fight has taken on the same spectacle over competition standpoint for some, but unlike Mayweather vs. McGregor, this bout features two of the worlds best pound for pound fighters battling for divisional supremacy.
2. Roman Gonzalez vs. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Sept. 9, HBO (free).
While every boxing fan may be clamouring for the first bout, many probably had never heard of Rungvisai (42-4-1, 38 KO) before his March 18th upset of Gonzalez (46-1, 38 KO). The win not only earned Rungvisai the WBC Super Flyweight title, but also took Gonzalez’s perfect record and pound for pound top spot. Rungvisai’s American debut was met was some controversy, but can his second go-round go as well for the Thai fighter, or will the Nicaraguan Gonzalez recapture his title, and perhaps his top spot once, again in the near future?
3. Terence Crawford vs. Julius Indongo, August 19, ESPN (free).
The second and third fights were a virtual toss up, and you can never go wrong with a Crawford (31-0, 22 KO) bout. This bout does carry some historical context with it, as the winner will become the first unified champion in the sport since Jermain Taylor in 2005. Crawford enters holding the WBC and WBO, as well as the Ring and lineal Light Welterweight crowns, while Indongo (22-0, 11 KO) will look to defend the WBA and IBF crowns, as well as the IBO title.
4. Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Miguel Marriaga, August 5, ESPN (free)
If you are even the most basic boxing fan, the name Lomachenko (8-1, 6 KO) is a must know. The two time Olympic and World champion from the Ukraine will be facing a lesser known fighter in Marriaga (25-2, 21 KO), but with his legacy seemingly set in stone already, anyone Lomachenko faces will seem subpar. Lomachenko will be defending his WBO Junior Lightweight crown, and with a victory, the winner of our next fight could be up next…one name Lomachenko would desperately love to see again.
5. Gervonta Davis vs. Orlando Salido, August 26, Showtime PPV (99.99).
Even as the co-main event of the Mayweather/McGregor sideshow, Davis (18-0, 17 KO) is capable of stealing the show. Boxings youngest world champion looks to make the second defence of his IBF Junior Lightweight title against Salido (44-13-4, 1 NC, 31 KO). While the bout hasn’t been finalized, Salido’s first choice in opponent, Lomachenko, signing to fight someone else is a good sign of this bout coming to fruition. A win over Davis would set up a rematch with Lomachenko, and would leave Salido looking to once again defeat the Ukranian.
While only five bouts are used here, many, many others are on tap and look to provide excitement and fireworks:
July 15th, HBO (free) – Miguel Berchelt vs. Takashi Miura, WBC Junior Lightweight title
July 15th, HBO (free) – Jezreel Corrales vs. Robinson Castellanos, WBA Junior Lightweight title
July 15th, Fox (free) – Omar Figueroa vs. Robert Guerrero
July 15th, UK television- Lee Selby vs. Jonathan Barros, IBF Featherweight title
July 23rd, Japan – Ryoichi Taguchi vs. Robert Barrera, WBA Junior Flyweight title
July 29th, Showtime (free) – Adrien Broner vs. Mikey Garcia
July 29th, Showtime (free) – Jermeall Charlo vs Jorge Sebastian Heiland
July 29th, Ireland – Carl Frampton vs. Andres Gutierrez
August 15th, Japan – Shinsuke Yamanaka vs. Luis Nery, WBC Bantamweight title
August 26th, HBO (free) – Miguel Cotto vs. Yoshihiro Kamegai, WBO Junior Middleweight title
Sept. 9, HBO (free) – Nagoya Inoue vs. Antonio Nieves, WBO Junior Bantamweight title
Sept. 9, HBO (free) – Carlos Cuadras vs. Juan Francisco Estrada
Sept. 16, London – Terry Flanagan vs. Felix Verdejo, WBO Lightweight title
Sept. 16, Philippines – Milan Melinda vs. Hekkie Budler, IBF Junior Flyweight title
Sept. 23, Manchester – Joseph Parker vs. Hughie Fury, WBO Heavyweight title
With the exception of GGG vs. Canelo and Davis vs. Salido, every bout listed is available for free in some manner, so put away your wallets and enjoy some real boxing.