2019 could be the year of the upset in boxing

When we start the new year, there is always a laundry list of fights that the fans want to see. 2019 could change everything.

Last year, there was much talk about Keith Thurman vs. Errol Spence, a rematch between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin (which took place last September), and a Jarrett Hurd-Jermell Charlo unification fight. Of course, Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder, which is probably on the top of everyone's list, has yet to happen, either.

Of course, Charlo, who is a minute younger than his identical twin Jermall, was controversially outpointed by Tony Harrison to close out 2018, losing his junior middleweight title, as well as a shot at Hurd.

In the old days, it seemed like the best fought the best every day of the week. Boxing is more about business in the present time, and fans often have to wait long periods to see the bouts they yearn for. For example, although the much-hyped 2015 fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao turned out to be mostly a dud in the ring, 4.6 million people bought the pay-per-view, and the event generated over $500 million in revenue, a record to this day.

But let's take a look at three potential upsets for this year.

1. Errol Spence vs. Mikey Garcia

This is going to be the upset of the year. Spence-Garcia is a match between two undefeated pound-for-pounders in their primes. The 28-year-old Spence, (24-0, 21 KO's), is the IBF world welterweight champion and is arguably the best in his weight class. Terence Crawford and Thurman would likely have something to say about that, but Spence is facing Garcia (39-0, 30 KO's), a four-division world champion who has won world titles at 126, 130, 135, and 140-pounds. Garcia currently holds the WBC lightweight strap.

Spence-Garcia will go down on March 16 at AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys in Texas, on Showtime pay-per-view. Spence (5′ 9½″) will have a height advantage over Garcia (5'6"), as well as a four-inch advantage in reach.

Garcia's skill has transcended weight classes. However, Spence is on another level compared to Dejan Zlaticanin, Adrien Broner, and Sergey Lipinets. Spence walks around at 200+ pounds and is the naturally bigger, more powerful fighter. That's why some fans and media are comparing this fight to Terry Norris-Meldrick Taylor and Oscar De La Hoya-Bernard Hopkins because the physical advantages in this bout are overwhelmingly in Spence's favor. However, if there is anyone with solid fundamentals and a boxing IQ that can throw any fighter off their game, it's Garcia, and he is not at his peak just yet.

If Manny Pacquiao has a successful title defense against Adrien Broner on Jan. 19, Pacquiao-Garcia for July or November seems very feasible.

2. Anthony Joshua vs. Deontay Wilder

Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KO's) is coming off a controversial split draw against former titlist Tyson Fury (27-0-1, 19 KO's) last month. The WBC ordered an immediate rematch shortly after the fight and a rematch clause was already in the original contract. Sources have informed FightNights.com that the rematch is being targeted for March or April. If Fury wins, it would not necessarily be an upset considering most ringside observers thought he won the first fight. We scored the bout 114-112, and that may have been too generous. If Wilder wins the rematch, the Joshua fight would probably get delayed until at least the spring of 2020 at the earliest. I am taking Fury to win the sequel, which should lead to a unification fight with Joshua at Wembley Stadium.

3. Jarrett Hurd vs. Julian Williams

Like the Harrison fight was to Jermell Charlo, Williams represents a danger to Hurd. He is the type of fighter that can be overlooked and there is a risk that comes with that. Williams (26-1-1, 16 KOs) was knocked out by Jermall Charlo back in December 2016, which stands at his only career defeat. But many had written off Williams until one night last April in Vegas on the undercard of Hurd-Lara. Many had questioned the toughness of Williams, but after outslugging Nathaniel Gallimore to a majority decision (should have been unanimous) victory, no one can do that anymore. The 28-year-old, of Philadelphia, was cut around both eyes over the course of the fight, but fought through the pain, and mostly dominated the action. Hurd better come prepared, because this fighter is hungry.

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