Expect Crawford, Kambosos, Davis and Wilder to make memories in 2022

If you have come to this and you are not satisfied, so be it.

You should have seen it coming.

In keeping with tradition in this Tuesday morning space, we greet the New Year with a preview of the stories other boxing scribes will react to in about 12 months.

Of course, if you remember the article from December, 2021 was a forecast year to ignore … if not forget.

But hope is eternal, so – in the recurring quest to match the glory of an unannounced Andre Ward’s perfect choice as 2011 Fighter of the Year – we give it another chance 11 years later.

Unlike football, baseball or their ilk, there is no master calendar for predicting events. And even though I was prescient enough to know now which fights would take place between which guys, say, next October, there’s always a chance that three people sitting on the perimeter of the ring will shatter my predictions with their definition of this. which constitutes a “boxing course.

But these are excuses and blames for another day.

Tuesday is a day of forward thinking, and with that, here’s a look at what everyone will look back on as they cut down the tree after Christmas 2022.

And hey, if even some of these things really do happen… it’s going to be a good year for all of us.

BOULEVERSAIRE OF THE YEAR: George Kambosos Jr. UD 12 Devin Haney

No, I didn’t think he would have beaten Teofimo Lopez.

But once George Kambosos let his lightweight foe down in the first round and seemed to have every competitive question asked by a then reigning champion answered, I was quickly sold.

So if Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn manages to reunite him and Devin Haney in a ring to finally settle the debate over who deserves the top spot at 135 pounds, it won’t surprise me if he does it all over again.

Haney has done everything he’s asked of him winning four title fights and 27 fights of all kinds since turning pro in late 2015, but there’s always something about him that screams ‘vulnerable’.

Either way, he’ll likely step into this one as a favorite at least 2-1, which will make it quite a big upset when Kambosos makes him a similar number he did to Lopez.

KO OF THE YEAR: Deontay Wilder KO 6 Anthony Joshua

Sorry, Antoine. It hurts me more than you do.

Well, maybe not if this is actually happening. But you get the idea.

Make no mistake, I’m as big an AJ fan as there is. I thought he was great in winning a title against contender Charles Martin, brave to fend off the challenge of a determined and convincing Wlad Klitschko by coming back from oblivion to avenge a loss to surprise arch nemesis Andy Ruiz.

But now that he’s been dethroned by Oleksandr Usyk again, the flower is no longer on the rose.

Come to think of it, that’s also a pretty apt description for the post-Tyson Fury Deontay Wilder.

This one would have been a monumental event if it had been done 24 months ago, but these days it’s just going to be two imperfect big heavyweights hoping they don’t get knocked out of the Island of Relevance.

Joshua is fundamentally healthier than his Alabama rival, but I haven’t seen anything to convince myself that he would resist Wilder’s shots as well as Fury did – especially if Wilder gets up when Joshua hits him. , or never fall in the first place. So when he’s lagging behind, exhausted, and running out of ideas, don’t be surprised if the “Bronze Bomber” sprayes him with a cringe-worthy right we will all remember.

Except for AJ himself, that is to say.

FIGHT OF THE YEAR: Gervonta Davis KO 8 Ryan Garcia

It’s a fight Ryan Garcia has been leaning towards for a while… with his mouth.

Now that he’s reached elite level – thanks to a thrilling victory for former two-time title challenger Luke Campbell last January – he’s finally the one he won with his fists.

And thereafter, almost everyone hopes that it will happen at least once or twice more.

The brash Californian has long claimed he’ll be able to intimidate the Baltimore product Mayweather-nurtured, and I can see him delivering on his promises early on – maybe even dropping a Davis with a quick hook at the start.

Problem is, it will unleash a ferocity the multi-weight “Tank” is comfortable to unleash.

Don’t be surprised if Davis responds with a knockdown of his own on a subsequent round and begins to resume trading with sharper, more violent punches. Garcia will be bloodied and reeling at the end of the seventh, before finding himself rescued by his own corner team in the eighth round.

FIGHTER OF THE YEAR: Terence Crawford

It is never an easy choice.

The champions in place defend and unify the titles. The excited outlook fulfills the championship-level promise. And legitimate superstars maintain their status at the top of the sport.

But when a guy starts a year in one place and ends in another, he gets separated from the pack.

This is the case in 2022 for Terence Crawford.

The Nebraska-based welterweight has been one of the best fighters in the world for several years in several weight classes, but is coming to another new year without a signing victory.

Beating Shawn Porter was good, of course. But if you claim the status that Crawford has claimed all this time, you’re supposed to beat guys like Shawn Porter.

Errol Spence Jr., however, is a different matter.

While the fight could still turn into this generation’s Mayweather-Pacquiao if they go another 12 months without doing so, my feeling this year – now that Crawford is calling his own promotional stunts – is that they’ll finally point the I’s and cross the T’s as the calendar moves to 2023.

Once “Bud” got rid of his 147-pound contemporary – let’s call it a surprisingly one-sided fight before the end of Round 10 – and regained majority status at the top of the pound-for-pound lists, leader status in the fighter of the year the race becomes a slam dunk proposition to close 2022.

And who knows, maybe Warren Buffett could make a few bucks on it too.

* * * * * * * * * *

This week’s title fight schedule:

WBO Light Heavyweight Title – Verona, New York

Joe Smith Jr. (champion / # 3 IWBR) vs. Steve Geffrard (# 15 WBO / # 31 IWBR)

Smith (27-3, 21 KO): First title defense; Loss of WBA title shot in one bout at the venue (0-1)

Geffrard (18-2, 12 KO): First fight for the title; Eighteen consecutive victories since the start of their career 0-2

Fitzbitz says: This has the potential to be one of those “boxing only” stories where a late submarine wins gold. And Smith is not impenetrable. But that seems to ask too much of Geffrard. Smith in 6 (90/10)

Last week’s pick: none

All-time caps in 2021: 53-17 (75.7%)

Overall selection record: 1,209-392 (75.5%)

REMARK: Scheduled fights are only those involving the full title holder of a sanctioning body – no interim, diamond, silver, etc. Fights for the WBA “world championships” are only included if there is no “super champion” in the weight class.

Lyle Fitzsimmons has covered professional boxing since 1995 and has written a weekly column for Boxing Scene since 2008. He is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter – @fitzbitz.

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