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Talking Boxing

Interviews, opinions, features and news from the greatest sport in the world!

December 17, 2016

Reasons to be cheerful

Joe Gallagher

The Frampton-Santa Cruz rematch in January is one of many great fights to have been made next year.

by Shaun Brown

A lot of fighters will tell you, “I just take it one fight at a time”. To look beyond the next opponent, the next goal can be complacent, unprofessional and can take those feet, which should be planted, slightly off the ground.

Boxing fans try not to get carried away, too. They don’t like to look ahead at what dreamy match-ups might be getting be made behind closed doors, because more often than not they don’t. A boxing fan is used to disappointment. If the sport was a fan's other half it would likely say, “Not tonight, darling”.

2016 has been like that. A year that’s been washing its hair quite often, has had several headaches and has just not been in the mood.

2017 is looking a lot different. The enthusiasm, the desire to keep you entertained is back and will have you coming back for more. This was cemented furthermore with the news that Gennady Golovkin and Danny Jacobs will face each other in the ring on March 18 inside the mecca of boxing; Madison Square Garden, New York.

The IBF, WBC and WBA middleweight titles on the line in a fight that promises much more intrigue, and raises just a smidgeon of doubt, more than his last (insert number here) opponents, around the invincibility of ‘GGG’.

Whatever your thoughts are about this genuine middleweight match-up, they can be put to one side for the time being because that’s not all you have to look forward to in the first quarter of 2017.

The first three months of 2016 gave us the likes of Danny Garcia v Robert Guerrero, Ola Afolabi v Marco Huck part IV, Felix Sturm v Dmitry Chudinov, Shinsuke Yamanaka v Libero Solis. Let’s not forget that we also got Carl Frampton v Scott Quigg, but it turned out to be a fight to forget. At least it got made though, right?

One 'marquee' fight in three months may not set the tone for a year but it doesn’t exactly give fans reasons to be cheerful.

Whatever has happened, whoever has listened, 2017 has decided to go the opposite way.

Erislandy Lara-Yuri Foreman aside, the following fights are locked in with dates, venues etc etc.

James DeGale vs. Badou Jack
Carl Frampton vs. Leo Santa Cruz 2
Dejan Zlaticanin vs. Mikey Garcia
Francisco Vargas vs. Miguel Berchelt
Tony Bellew vs. David Haye
Danny Garcia vs. Keith Thurman
Gennady Golovkin vs. Daniel Jacobs

Seven reasons to be cheerful at a time of year when we should be. For boxing fans even more so when you look at that list. Yes, there will be some of you that will find flaws in that list but what we have there are reasons for optimism. Reasons to believe that 2017 could be a vintage year. Obviously the fights have to deliver drama and excitement, Kovalev – Ward levels minimum, but the aftermath of each of these fights could yet snowball into even more big name match-ups being made that quickens boxing’s pulse even more.

The winner of DeGale – Jack is mandated to defend their WBC super middleweight title against Callum Smith. We may end up with Frampton – Santa Cruz 3, the winner of Zlaticanin – Garcia could face Jorge Linares should the Venezuelan beat Anthony Crolla a second time (another fight which looks like being slotted in for the first quarter of 2016).

The second quarter already has Joshua – Klitschko signed, sealed and delivered. We await news on the returns of guys like Roman Gonzalez (who could rematch Carlos Cuadras), Deontay Wilder, the cruiserweight division will deliver as always in 2017, Ward, Kovalev, Canelo, Brook, Khan, Spence Jr, Crawford, Flanagan, Lomachenko, Selby, Yamanaka, N Inoue, K Yafai, Casimero, Taguchi, Menayothin….

January to March 2017 is getting our hopes up, and after the odd high and many lows of 2016 you would
have every right to get carried away.