So far, 2018 has been a fantastic year for boxing fans. We’ve been treated to some all action, high volume affairs such as the rematch between Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares, as well as some technical affairs like Danny Jacobs’ hard fought victory over Maciej Sulecki. The Cruiserweight tournament produced fireworks (as well as a clear best in class, Oleksandr Usyk) and the Super Middleweight tournament still has a Finals left to decide the winner. Sounds like a pretty stacked year, but we still have four months left! Let’s take a look at some of the bouts on the agenda for the remainder of the year (so far).
Daniel Jacobs (34-2 29KO) vs. Sergiy Derevyanchenko(12-0 10KO) October 27th 2018– With the boxing world clamoring and bickering over the GGG/Canelo rematch, there’s another Middleweight match-up that (to me) is a bit more intriguing. Just over a year ago, Jacobs gave Golovkin(GGG) all that he could handle, and in my eyes has a better claim for robbery than Canelo has (I still had GGG ahead 7-5 against Jacobs, 8-4 against Canelo just so we’re clear). One could easily make the argument that Jacobs is the second best Middleweight boxer currently. He’ll be trying to prove that theory correct by taking on highly the skilled Derevyanchenko. Derevyanchenko steps into the ring sporting an undefeated record, a strong amateur background and impressive performances against solid competition in Sam Soliman, Kemahl Russell and Tureano Johnson. Jacobs employs more of a sniping style, working behind a jab and backing it with power shots. Derevyanchenko has segued the movement from his amateur days into the pro ring, utilizing angles for both offense and defense. This is a very intriguing bout, as I feel it is pretty 50/50, however I’m edging Jacobs here because of facing tougher opposition and powering through more adversity, a quality we haven’t seen from his opponent.
My pick: Jacobs by decision.
Naoya Inoue (16-0 14KO) vs. Juan Carlos Payano (20-1 9KO) October 7th 2018- Inoue is completely justified in having the nickname “Monster”. He’s quick, he’s powerful and sports solid fundamental technical skills that we don’t often see from power punchers. The undefeated Japanese World Champion has also entered in the Bantamweight Championship tournament where he will go up against a who’s who in the division. Before getting to the finals of the tournament, he’ll need to get through arguably his toughest test to date with Juan Carlos Payano. Payano hails from the Dominican Republic and sports a record with only one split decision loss (in a rematch against former Champion Rau’shee Warren, Payano won the first bout). The Dominican challenger may not have the knockout power of Inoue, but he sports deeper credentials on his resume, having fought several undefeated fighters/World Champions. His boxing acumen could lead to an upset against Inoue, but I’m not putting my stamp on that idea. I think the question is just how far Inoue can go before somebody withstands his precision.
My pick: Inoue by KO
Deontay Wilder (40-0 39KO) vs. Tyson Fury (27-0 19KO) TBT– I’ll believe this fight happens when I see it, but let’s pretend like it isn’t all hot air. I’ve been interested in this bout for some years now. If you asked me 2 years ago about Wilder against Fury, I would’ve picked Fury winning humiliation. At the time Wilder didn’t seem to possess anything that could bother Fury other than a heavy windmill. Since then though, Wilder has steadily upped his game, working on small defensive improvements and a more intelligent offensive output. He also (finally) has a high class win under his belt with a victory over Luis Ortiz. I don’t want to give the impression that Fury has an incredibly impressive record, his only elite quality win was a unanimous decision victory over long time Champion Wladimir Klitschko. In that victory, Fury demonstrated phenomenal, albeit boring for the casual observer, boxing skills. We are, however almost three years removed from that performance, and since then Wilder has added another five title defenses to his resume. If the Fury that defeated Klitschko shows up, the Wilder only has a punchers chance (though punching is something he has a lot of). I would say Wilder is a solid favorite in this bout since Fury hasn’t been challenged since 2015, so we can’t be certain that he still has “it”. I however did learn my lesson from betting against Fury a few times, I won’t do it again until he gives me a reason too.
My pick: Fury by decision (admitting Wilder is the favorite)
These are just a few of the tantalizing fights scheduled for the remainder of the year, but we may touch on a few more in the near future. The real question is, who are your picks? Let me know in the comments section below, or on Twitter @TheGreatToddman.