Pantomime season started early over at the Dorchester Hotel in the salubrious surroundings of Park Lane, and if the initial presser for Haye v Bellew was anything to go by that fight’s going to have a lot to live up to. But amidst the animosity and provocation are signals of what is set to be a bumper year for British Boxing fans.
With that in mind, The MALESTROM touched base with our resident boxing correspondent David Jarvis to get the ringside lowdown on what 2017 has in store.
The MALESTROM: Which three fights would you most like to see in the near future?
David Jarvis: Terry Flanagan v Anthony Crolla. A great Manchester showdown and a quality fight. Both are now fighting at the top level at lightweight and both are at their peak. Despite Crolla’s loss to Jorge Linares, it is still a 50-50 fight.
Gennady Golovkin v Carl Froch. I hate myself for thinking it because the granite-chinned Nottingham warrior is happily retired, is aged 39 and who wants to see him damage his legacy? He is also a big super middle and GGG is only a middleweight so it shouldn’t really happen. But who else can you see standing up to the Kazakh puncher? Canelo Alvarez? He doesn’t want it.
Lee Selby v Carl Frampton. These featherweight kings can box, punch, think and both know how to find ways to win. Mouthwatering. If I could watch one fight in 2017 it would be this one.
TM: But with Ward having just beaten Kovalev on points, assuming there isn’t a rematch, what chance of Ward and Golovkin? Surely the two biggest names in the game now Mayweather has retired?
DJ: I can’t see it. Ward is too big for Golovkin. A small middle v a small light heavy? Not for me. That said who would want to watch another wrestling match between Ward and Kovalev? Not me for sure. And I’m not blaming Crusher for that. Ward may be a boxing master but he also does a good impression of Mick McManus – remember him grapple fans – and doesn’t sell tickets. I feel Golovkin will look elsewhere.
TM: What chances of Khan and Brook finally getting it on? If so how would you see that fight?
DJ: With Brook saying he wants to stay at welterweight and Khan likely to stay there too it can now happen. Both moved up and lost so the fight has moved closer. Kell wins it inside the distance because he will catch up with Khan as most great fighters have. Kell has more left than Amir and hits too hard for the Bolton man.
The only problem is there is no love lost and Kell has potential super fights against Manny Pacquiao and Errol Spence. But there is big money in these domestic showdowns now so don’t rule it out.
TM: Wouldn’t Joshua vs Wilder be a more preferable match up than Klitschko, many boxing fans hoped the Klitschko days were finally over?
DJ: Definitely. I would like to see that. Joshua is making big pay per view money by fighting second raters lets face it. Okay, he is still learning but he is the champ so its time to step it up. A Wilder fight gets the juices going. As for Klitschko, I have never been a fan. Ideally Fury will recover and beat him again, otherwise, he could continue beating much smaller men, something he has built his career on.
TM: Talking of heavyweights who is this Gerald Washington character, can you give us any info on him?
DJ: Anyone managed by Al Haymon has half a chance of doing something because of the promotional muscle but I haven’t seen anything of him yet. Washington or El Gallo Negro (The Black Rooster)as he’s also called, turned pro very late like his friend Dominic Breazeale who was battered by Joshua. Both have turned to boxing as a second chance after pro football careers didn’t work out. For me, that is not how champions are made. I’ll reserve judgement though until I see him fight.[type invitation=fitness]
TM: Is there any truth do you think to the suggestion that many heavyweights see David Haye as a risk not worth taking thus making Bellew his only option?
DJ: I don’t know about that. Let’s be honest, he is not a force at heavyweight. He has a dig and speed but so do a lot of the big men. His heavyweight career has been less than convincing for me. I don’t see him being feared. Bellew is a great fight for Haye because he will be facing a blown up cruiser, just like he is himself.
It is a big risk for the Scouser, moving up, but judging by the press conference bust up what a scrap it could be. I can’t wait. If Bellew doesn’t blow up, in weight and emotionally, I favour him to box sensibly at range and take Haye out late.
TM: 2017 looks like it could be a great year of boxing particularly for British fighters?
DJ: Absolutely. Boxing is in the middle of a golden era in Britain with world champions at heavyweight, cruiserweight, light heavyweight, super middle, middleweight, welterweight, featherweight and bantamweight.
It would be nice to see Chris Eubank Jr emerge from his father’s shadow and carry on where he left off against Billy Joe Saunders. I would also like to see the Welsh super welterweight Liam Williams emerge as a force. He has shown the potential. Super middles Calum Smith and George Groves, now there’s a fight, are both on the brink of great things too.
On the world stage, you have to say Terence Crawford at super lightweight and Vasyl Lomachenko at super feather are set to take over as the next big stars. It is time also for Canelo to have that defining fight, but against who? For Mayweather, I hope the show, or the speculation at least, will finally be over. It is time to move on.
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David has been writing about boxing since 1995 starting for Boxing Monthly as their reporter doing British, European, Commonwealth and World title fights. He says it was a privilege to be their York Hall man covering fights there and others on the domestic scene. After a move to Scotland he became The Scotsman’s boxing writer (as well as news editor). He now contributes to Boxing Monthly, doing features.