In my last column for 2015, I discussed a wish list for the succeeding year of which only two – the clash between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev taking place and Floyd Mayweather Jr. staying retired – coming to fruition in 2016.
The rest, like Manny Pacquiao winning his last bout and retiring for good; Vitali Klitschko taking on any of the three big young heavyweights; Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua mixing it up; Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia and Terence Crawford clashing; Gennady Golovkin and Saul Alvarez slugging it out; Roman Gonzalez fighting Naoya Inoue; and Nonito Donaire getting another crown were never realized. I guess I will never become a good prophet.
But the prospect of not becoming a good prophet or predictor of events should not stop me from coming up with my wish list for 2017, especially now that the elite boxing ranks are literally filled with extraordinary talent. And I don’t care if I sound like a broken record if I repeat some of my wishes from 2016.
So here is my wish list for next year:
Fury, Wilder and Joshua mixing it up — these three young heavyweights are huge and have impressive unblemished records. The 6’9” Fury is 25-0 with 18 KOs, the 6’7” Wilder 37-0 with 36 KOs and the 6’6” Joshua 18-0 with 18 KOs.
If there is any consolation now, Joshua will be taking on Wladimir Klistchko (64-4 with 53 KOs) in April next year. That’s good enough.
Thurman and Garcia clash – this is happening in March next year. There is already bad blood between Thurman (27-0 with 22 KOs) and Garcia (33-0 with 19 KOs), and this will help make the fight a “war.” Will we see a repeat of Wilfred Benitez vs Sugar Ray Leonard or Marvin Hagler vs Thomas Hearns in this coming bout? I hope so.
Golovkin and Alvarez having the balls to fight each other – there is still no official announcement Golovkin (36-0 with 33 KOs) and Alvarez (48-1-1 with 34 KOs) will be fighting. So I am disappointed but still wishing the mega fight materializes next year.
More Filipinos becoming world champions – although the value or prestige of a boxing world title is less than it was decades ago when only two sanctioning bodies existed, winning a world title remains the initial goal of all boxers without a belt. At present, the following Filipinos are world champions: Manny Pacquiao (World Boxing Organization welterweight champion); Marlon Tapales (WBO bantamweight champion); Jerwin Ancajas (International Boxing Federation junior bantamweight champion); Johnriel Casimero (IBF flyweight champion); Milan Melindo (interim IBF junior flyweight champion); and Rey Loreto (International Boxing Organization junior flyweight champion). All of them are ranked by The Ring magazine in their respective divisions.
Filipinos ranked by The Ring but are without a world championship are light flyweight Randy Petalcorin, two-division champion Donnie Nietes who is campaigning at flyweight, multi-division champion Donaire at junior featherweight; and Genesis Servania also at junior featherweight. Any of them can become world champions in 2017.
I thought hard on what else should be on my wish list for 2017 and I came up with two more: Mayweather stay retired; and Pacquiao retiring for good so he can concentrate on his duties as Senator.
So that means a second clash between Mayweather and Pacquiao is not on my wish list for next year. I need not say more.