Max Warren writes about three dream fights
Teofimo Lopez vs. Devin “The Dream” Haney: This is a fight that may seem premature, but is certainly one that can rock the boxing world. Both men are in their early twenties and have put on tremendous boxing displays over the past few years that demonstrate that they are beyond their years when it comes to the sweet science. Lopez and Haney have both boasted KO-of-the-Year nominee performances in the past. Both have an electric combination of speed, power, and precision that makes for fights that are aesthetically pleasing.
Lopez and Haney are both flashy, which is clearly a reflection of the Floyd Mayweather era that inspired the two young stars. They are undefeated, and Haney would certainly jump at the challenge of facing Lopez if Teofimo ends up defeating Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko. Haney is competitive, and wants the lion’s share of the attention as one of boxing’s young stars. Lopez has poked fun at Haney’s demotion to “Champion in Recess” due to a shoulder injury he suffered in his last fight that has sidelined him for several months.
Lopez talks plenty of trash, and Haney always responds when people criticize him. Despite being so young, both men show signs of maturity that are not typical of men in their early 20s. It’s a match-up that lives up to the hype from now until perhaps a decade later. They could fight each other every year for the next ten years, and it would likely be close each time. If the match-up manifests in 2020, fans will get a glimpse at the future of the sport very early.
Deontay Wilder vs. Anthony Joshua: Wilder and Joshua have shared their reasons for not having fought each other for the last few years, but this fight needs to be made sooner rather than later. They are arguably the two hardest punchers in boxing, and the bout won’t go the distance. Joshua showed a much different style than fans were accustomed to seeing from him when he rematched Andy Ruiz, but the style he displayed will likely be thrown out against different opposition. Joshua decided to use movement, a consistent jab, and his reach in order to nullify Ruiz’s attack.
But, Deontay Wilder won’t have any trouble with Joshua’s height, because Wilder is a tall and rangy fighter himself. Against Wilder, Joshua will have to get inside and force the action in order to catch Wilder. Joshua cannot dance around the ring hoping he doesn’t get tagged, because Wilder will eventually land one of his signature bombs on the Brit. Wilder doesn’t have much regard for the scorecards, because he believes an opening will come for him to knock out his opponent. Joshua is not a slick fighter that can evade power shots with ease, as he came into boxing late. Yet, Wilder is not difficult to hit and often relies on his reach in order to get out of the way of power punches. If implemented, Joshua can knock out Wilder by using head movement and landing short, powerful punches on the inside.
This is a fight that will be a huge sell worldwide, as Joshua’s name recognition is as big as it gets in the UK and Wilder continues to promote himself well. It is also a 50/50 match-up. Casual fans have loved the heavyweight division throughout history, and people tend to be fascinated by large athletes that perform in a superhuman manner. Wilder and Joshua certainly have superhuman traits. When boxing is healthy, the heavyweight division tends to be on fire. Wilder vs. Joshua will maintain the health of the heavyweight division.
Errol Spence vs. Terence Crawford: It is amazing that this fight is still a possibility after Errol Spence was ejected from his automobile in a horrific car accident. Spence seems to have made a full recovery, and Crawford is back to harassing Spence on Twitter, asking for Spence to step up and make the fight happen. Undoubtedly, the two are at the top of the division and the pound-for-pound list. One of the greatest debates in boxing is who would win in an eventual match-up. Spence has the size, reach, and power advantage; Crawford has advantages in speed, instincts, and experience. It’s hard to imagine this fight coming to fruition for this year, as Spence likely needs a calm year in order to get back to normalcy following the accident. But, Spence himself reiterated that he doesn’t want to coast and desires to face the best opposition.
Fans have waited two years for the fight, ever since Crawford entered the division with a knockout victory over Jeff Horn. Premier Boxing Champions and Top Rank are embarking on a cross-promotional venture for Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury, so Spence vs. Crawford can certainly be made. It’s not a question of whether it can be made, but whether the fight will eventually happen. Spence is a large 147-pounder and could move up to 154 in the near future. Crawford may take advantage of Spence’s absence, and proceed to take all the belts at welterweight.
Just like the two fights featured above, this one is also a 50/50 bout. Their strengths complement each other, and each can nullify the other man’s greatest assets in the ring. Spence comes forward well, but Crawford is a natural counter puncher. Spence loves to fight on the inside; Crawford has a mean streak that leads him to fighting on the inside, which Spence could take advantage of by implementing his high-quality body attack. There is no way that the fight will be dull, as both fighters crave action. This is a match-up that needs to happen sooner rather than later. It could be a Fight-of-the-Year candidate, and the winner will likely be considered boxing’s pound-for-pound best.