Boxing in 2018 is off to a good start thanks to the World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight tournament.
Wait, you haven’t been watching?
HBO and Showtime dropped the ball by not televising the two cruiserweight semifinal bouts that had nonstop action. If you watched on YouTube, you were treated to two fight of the year contenders.
Oleksandr Usyk defeated Mairis Briedis in a close majority decision, and Murat Gassiev and Yunier Dorticos traded haymakers before Dorticos went through the ropes in the 12th round.
Usyk and Gassiev will meet May 11 for the undisputed cruiserweight title in a bout that surely won’t disappoint.
The thrilling tournament had me thinking: How great would it be if other weight divisions had a similar format to crown a true champion?
Putting boxing politics aside, I came up with four division tournaments. Who knows, maybe one of these brackets will come to fruition. Think about it, promoters.
1. Anthony Joshua vs. 4. Joseph Parker
2. Deontay Wilder vs. 3. Luis Ortiz
This one is easy because the semifinal fights already have been made. Now it’s up to the promoters to match the winners to crown an undisputed heavyweight champion. Wilder, the WBC champion, faces Ortiz on March 3, and Joshua meets Parker on March 31 with three world titles on the line. The boxing world is itching for a Wilder-Joshua fight. It could happen later this year if they take care of business next month.
1. Gennady Golovkin/Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. 4. Jermall Charlo
2. Billy Joe Saunders vs. 3. Daniel Jacobs
The winner of the Cinco de Mayo rematch between Golovkin and Alvarez would be the No. 1 seed, but they’ll get a tough test against Charlo, who destroyed his opponents at junior middleweight. Saunders proved he’s the real deal when he picked apart David Lemieux in December. But Jacobs is no Lemieux, and he went toe-to-toe with Golovkin in 2017. Here’s the twist, the winner of the tournament would have to make their first title defense versus the Golovkin-Alvarez II loser.
1. Mikey Garcia vs. 4. Robert Easter
2. Jorge Linares vs. 3. Vasyl Lomachenko
The skill level in this potential tournament would be insane. A bout between Lomachenko and Linares is close to fruition, but promoter differences could kill the match every boxing fan wants to see. But promoters have no say in this fantasy tournament. Hi-Tech and King Jorge will trade leather. Garcia would be the heavy favorite against Easter.
Top Rank welterweights vs. PBC welterweights:
1. Errol Spence (PBC) vs. 8. Mike Alvarado (Top Rank)
2. Terence Crawford (Top Rank) vs. 7. Shawn Porter (PBC)
3. Keith Thurman (PBC) vs. 6. Jeff Horn (Top Rank)
4. Manny Pacquiao (Top Rank) vs. 5. Danny Garcia (PBC)
OK, promoters, you guys want to fight? Let your boxers do the fighting. Al Haymon’s guys versus Bob Arum’s crew. Just imagine the potential matchups in this stacked welterweight tournament. Crawford versus Thurman in the semifinals. Spence against Pacquaio in the other semifinal (insert looking eyes emoji). The winner of the tournament gives their promoter A-side power in future negotiation battles.