There are some interesting stories in the boxing world with fights coming together for 2022. While boxing had a very weak start to the year the second quarter has been picking up and news is circulating of even more interesting fights and updates surrounding existing fights:
Canelo Alvarez to face Golovkin in Third fight
After Dmitry Bivol dominated Alvarez in a one sided unanimous decision at light heavyweight Alvarez initially declared that he wanted a rematch. Rumors began about Alvarez facing Bivol at 168 lbs. for Alvarez’s title belts. These rumors have proven false as Alvarez has decided to go ahead with the Golovkin trilogy which was the plan all along though Alvarez did not win the Bivol fight. Overall I think this is good for two reasons; Golovkin is getting old now and the time to finalize the third fight is waning, second, Bivol against the Joe Smith Jr vs Artur Beterbiev winner for all of the belts at light heavyweight is a terrific fight. In all honesty I would rather see Golovkin unify at middleweight against a guy like Jermall Charlo or Demetrius Andrade while Canelo fights David Benavidez with the light heavyweights unifying. However, boxing fans do want to see clarity and many also want to see Golovkin get revenge off the two controversial decisions he had against Alvarez or see Alvarez put this to bed. My initial gut prediction is Alvarez by decision, some think he will stop a slowed down Golovkin but I just don’t see it.
Anthony Joshua Hires Robert Garcia for July Rematch with Oleksandr Usyk
Anthony Joshua lost his unified heavyweight belts back in October of 2021 by a decisive decision to Ukrainian cruiserweight king Oleksandr Usyk. Usyk used his speed, work rate, foot work, and incredible conditioning to overcome a significant height, reach and weight disadvantage and out boxed the British champion and had him out on his feet late in the fight. The loss spoiled the Tyson Fury total unification match and most observers give Joshua little chance to avenge the defeat. The choice to hire Robert Garcia is an interesting one as Garcia is an expert trainer at welterweight and below but has not had much success training the upper weights and I struggle to think of a big name heavyweight he has trained. Joshua did try to box Usyk and never sold out completely for the KO or attempted to impose his size on Usyk. Some think the thirty-two year old Brit is too far along to learn new tricks but the fight does take place in Saudi Arabia and that is where he did avenge the Andy Ruiz loss by reinventing himself. Robert McCracken his ex-trainer was with him in the Olympics and his entire professional career and though many said he should have been fired after the Ruiz debacle they stuck together and won the rematch. I understand leaving a coach when you feel you can longer grow and need a change for a big fight but I just am not sure it is going to make a big difference. Usyk has been in Ukraine during the war and could be distracted by that and it could effect the outcome of the fight. I do not give Joshua much of a chance here but he could always cash in on big right hand. I predict another Usyk victory likely lopsided on points.
Women’s Boxing has two Unification Bouts
Claressa Shields faces Savannah Marshall for all of the titles at middleweight while Mikaela Mayer and Alycia Baumgardner unify three belts at super feather weight. Shields versus Marshall is interesting as Marshall is the only woman to defeat Shields, that was in the amateurs a decade ago. Marshall holds the WBO belt and has ten knockouts in twelve fights and can match the size and physicality of Shields. Shields carries herself as the GWOAT, Greatest Woman of All Time, and many of viewed Marshall as a perfect foil some even felt she would swerve this fight. Well the fight is a done deal for September of this year. Marshall has the punch, Shields has the experience of going ten rounds in big fights. Shields is also entering off the back of an MMA defeat in the PFL and it will be interesting to see how she goes from the cage back to the ring. Alycia Baumgardner shook up the boxing world with an early stoppage win over Terri Harper to win the WBC belt in Harper’s backyard. She has since elevated to a popular status for female fighters and takes on fellow champion Mikaela Mayer. Mayer is a fighter I have written about plenty of times and he has a solid fundamental style and though she is not a KO puncher she has power. This is a very interesting fight between two accomplished American fighters. Women’s boxing has really been stepping it up in the last few years with champions unifying and the best fighting the best. Also, many of these big women’s fights have delivered in entertainment as well which is a good thing. Many high profile men’s fights have been duds over the years but these women have been making the fights and delivering at the highest stage. I look forward to seeing what happens in both matchups.