2017 was a banner year for boxing, and 2018 sounds like it is geared up to be one for the record books.
Let's cut to the chase and get to the fights that must be made in 2018.
1. Anthony Joshua vs. Deontay Wilder
This fight will be difficult to make, but it really shouldn't. Joshua (20-0, 20 KO's), 28, of the United Kingdom, is the obvious A-side. He is an Olympic gold medalist and has done what Wilder has yet to accomplish. That is a signature victory. In other words, a milestone win that stands out amongst the others. Joshua knocked out future Hall of Famer Wladimir Klitschko in April, and the bout stands as a strong candidate for Fight of the Year. It was undoubtedly the most thrilling heavyweight world title fight of the last decade.
Moreover, the bout sold 90,000 tickets. Joshua's last fight in October against replacement opponent Carlos Takam took place in front of nearly 80,000 fans.
Wilder (39-0, 38 KO's), 32, a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist, like Joshua, has massive KO power, and charismatic appeal. But his last fight, a first-round annihilation of former titlist Bermane Stiverne, drew only 10,924 at Barclays Center.
Sure, the poor turnout can be blamed partially on UFC 217. But regardless, even if Wilder fought Luis Ortiz, who was initially slated to fight the American until he was removed following a failed drug test, the attendance would not even approach 80,000, let alone 25,000.
Wilder's promoter, Lou DiBella, seems to believe that his fighter is the A-side. But that's just insane. Joshua-Wilder must happen, but it won’t until everyone involved sorts out their egos.
2. Keith Thurman vs. Errol Spence Jr.
Thurman (28-0, 22 KO's), 29, the WBA/WBC 147-pound titleholder, is considered the king of the welterweight division after the retirement of Floyd Mayweather Jr. However, many experts will tell you that another junior, Errol Spence Jr. (22-0, 19 KO's), 27, the IBF titlist, is the better fighter.
There's only one way to find out. However, Thurman has stated that Spence is not on his "immediate to-do list." The 27-year-old of Clearwater, Florida, is recovering from elbow surgery and has not fought in nearly a year since handing Danny Garcia his first professional loss.
Fans are quick to say that Thurman is "ducking" or "scared" of Spence, but let's be real. Thurman is smart. Would you want to face the most dangerous opponent of your career right after recovering from a significant operation? Bernard Hopkins learned the hard way in the rematch vs. Chad Dawson.
Thurman will likely take a tune-up fight, and follow it up by rematching Shawn Porter if he remains the No. 1 contender. But that fight has already taken place once, and the fans want Spence.
Spence only fought once in 2017, but it was his most significant win to date, an 11th-round knockout of former world champion Kell Brook in the Englishman's hometown of Sheffield.
This could cause another delay in making the fight happen, as both sides are surely going to argue passionately about who is the bigger fighter. We know one thing, Thurman isn't going to go quietly on this one.
3. Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin II
Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KO's) was the clear victor of the first fight according to most ringside observers. FightNights.com scored it 116-112 for Golovkin. However, we weren't in the least surprised that Adelaide Byrd had it wide for Canelo.
While some understandably have this fight as their number one, we don't because we saw what happened in their first encounter.
The first half was close in some aspects, but Golovkin took control in the latter part of the fight, and forced Canelo to box in spurts to survive, which he did incredibly.
However, Canelo (49-1-2, 34 KO's) just didn't do enough offensively to win the fight. The injury to his right hand provided him no help, but unlike some others, Canelo made no excuses.
The first fight generated 1.3 million pay-view-buys, and the rematch will likely draw more. But if Joshua-Wilder comes to fruition, they will have serious competition for "Hot Ticket of the Year."
Now, it's your turn! Let us know what fight you want to see in 2018!