Potential fights for 2022 that would entertain boxing fans
What a year 2021 has been. Big fights, upsets, knockout wins, and more. Boxing fans, when not bickering on Twitter, thoroughly enjoyed the action, whether in person or watching it on TV or on an app.
As 2022 heats up, there are plenty of potential fights boxing fans would love to see. Here are 9 fights that could potentially happen this year.
I’m not counting fights that have been verbally agreed, mandated by a sanctioning body, or are in talks to be signed (i.e. Tyson Fury-Dillian Whyte, Jermell Charlo-Brian Castano, Canelo Alvarez-Jermall Charles, etc.).
1. Terence Crawford-Errol Spence:
This fight has to take place this year, right? I mean, it has to happen this year. The only opponent Crawford has fielded so far in 2022 is against Top Rank, against whom he has sued for “racial bias”. Crawford’s promotional contract with the company expired after he knocked out Shawn Porter in October. It remains to be seen when this lawsuit will go to court, but it could take several months before an outcome is finalized. Crawford is a promotional free agent, so a fight with Spence could possibly happen, right? If promoter Bob Arum and Top Rank prevented a Crawford-Spence fight from happening, then making the fight for this year should be a breeze. Spence hasn’t fought since December 2020, when he beat Danny Garcia. He was scheduled to face Manny Pacquiao in a unification bout in August, but had to pull out of the fight due to a retinal tear in his left eye. Based on what both fighters are currently facing, a fight between the two would normally take place late this year or early next year.
2. David Benavidez-Caleb factory:
The two fighters do not like each other. They traded insults on social media and in the press. So why not fight? Both fighters fight under the PBC banner. Rather than waiting for a mega-fight against Canelo, why not take on Plant, who can be something of a measuring stick? If Benavidez wins by knockout, then the pressure could be on Canelo to face Benavidez, who is the mandatory challenger for the WBC super middleweight world title, which Canelo owns.
3. Canelo Alvarez-Dmitry Bivol:
Rumors that Canelo will move up to heavyweight to fight the winner of Saturday’s WBC world title fight between titleholder Ilunga “Junior” Makabu and Thabiso Mchunu in Warren, Ohio have died down. The new rumor is that Canelo could fight Jermall Charlo at 168 pounds in May. If those talks fail, why not fight Bivol? Both fighters have deals with DAZN. Canelo has dealt with Eddie Hearn, who co-promoted three of Canelo’s four fights. Bivol last defended his WBA light heavyweight world title on Dec. 11, defeating fellow countryman Umar Salamov by decision. From a boxing purist point of view, it would be an even match. Both fighters are off the charts in terms of technical skill and Canelo likes to challenge himself. Canelo will bring out the best in Bivol.
4. Gennady Golovkin-Jaime Munguia:
This fight almost became a reality in May 2018. Golovkin was expected to face Canelo in a rematch of their controversial draw in September 2017, but Canelo was suspended for testing positive for low levels of the banned substance clenbuterol. . However, Munguia was not endorsed by Bob Bennett and the Nevada Athletic Commission. After Munguia was turned down as Golovkin’s opponent, he accepted a fight on two weeks’ notice against WBO welterweight titleholder Sadam Ali, whom he quit in round 4. Golovkin is expected to defend his IBF world middleweight title against Ryoko Murata in April after a postponement due to rising COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. Munguia will face D’Mitrius Ballard on February 19 in his hometown of Tijuana, Mexico. This fight could end up being a “Fight of the Year” candidate, as long as it lasts.
5. Teofimo Lopez-Arnold Barboza:
Lopez moves up to 140 pounds after losing his multiple world lightweight title belts to George Kambosos, Jr. on Nov. 27. It would be interesting to see how Top Rank matches Lopez in her first fight. Lopez has been adamant about challenging for a world title belt right away as a junior welterweight. One fighter who has patiently been his turn is Barboza. He is a legitimate contender and a fight against Lopez would make sense. Both are promoted by Top Rank and the winner would be in line for a shot at undisputed champion Josh Taylor, who is co-promoted by Top Rank. Based on the styles, this fight is a potential contender for “Fight of the Year”.
6. Angel Acosta-Ricardo Sandoval:
Sunny Edwards will defend his IBF world flyweight title against Muhammad Waseem on March 19 in Dubai on a Probellum card. Sandoval, a once-beaten fighter from Southern California, is his proxy. Sandoval would love the opportunity to challenge for a world championship belt, but won’t wait for Edwards. Why not have him fight Acosta? The two fight under the Golden Boy Promotions banner and the winner would likely have a world title opportunity. Both are boxers-punchers and will have no trouble finding themselves in the ring.
7. Deontay Wilder-Andy Ruiz:
If there was one fun heavyweight fight with the potential for lots of action, it’s Wilder-Ruiz. Wilder had this insane action fight against Tyson Fury on October 9, where he came out on his shield in a knockout loss. Wilder dropped Fury twice during the fight. Ruiz returned to the ring on May 1, defeating Chris Arreola in a fun bout between Mexican-American fighters. In his previous fight in December 2019, Ruiz lost the unified heavyweight title to Anthony Joshua. This fight should be easy to do. Both are advised by Al Haymon and fight under the PBC banner.
8. Jermell Charlo-Erickson Lubin II:
Should Charlo pass Castano in March, Lubin should earn a fight for the undisputed junior middleweight championship. Lubin has won his last six fights since his first-round knockout loss to Charlo in October 2017. Who knows if any of the sanctioning bodies will allow the winner to voluntarily defend their title, but if the moons are aligned and both are also PBC fighters, why not have the WBC mandate Charlo defend the title against Lubin, who is the mandatory challenger for this belt?
9. Jesse Rodriguez vs. one of the world title holders at 108 pounds:
Rodriguez is more than talented. Trainer Robert Garcia raves, saying he can win world title belts in four weight classes. The best of the 108-pound world titleholders, in my opinion, is WBA titleholder Hiroto Kyoguchi. Rodriguez is ranked No. 2 for the title, but Kyoguchi will face ‘regular’ titleholder Esteban Bermudez of Mexico in the coming months. Rodriguez is ranked No. 4 by the WBO. Jonathan Gonzalez is the new title holder after winning the belt from Elwin Soto in October and will likely defend his title in March. Rodriguez will fight a very busy fight on February 5 on the Srisaket Sor Rungvisai-Carlos Cuadras card.
Francisco A. Salazar has been writing for Boxingscene since September 2012 and has been covering boxing in Southern California and internationally since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Star newspaper in Ventura County, California. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing