Opinion | Jan 03 2017

Canelo, Khan, Mayweather and more – seven questions for 2017

What lies ahead for Canelo, Pacquiao and more? John Dennen ponders the big questions for 2017
Canelo
Gennady-Golovkin-vs-Canelo-Alvarez  |  Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports

WILL Kell Brook fight Amir Khan?

Will they? Won’t they? It’s been a topic that’s rumbled on and on. Instead of fighting each other last year they took doomed but high profile shots at bigger men (Canelo for Khan, Gennady Golovkin for Brook). Talks have been reignited but stumbling blocks still haven’t disappeared. After recovering from a broken eye socket, Brook would have to get back down to welterweight, that will be a struggle and he’ll have to deal with mandatory challenger Errol Spence. Other options will open up for Khan. Will for instance he want to stay fighting in the USA, will the winner of Keith Thurman-Danny Garcia appeal to him?

How long will the David Haye-Tony Bellew fight last?

Tony Bellew vowed implacably that David Haye will not be taking him out in the first round. But he is going into the fight outgunned. It wasn’t too long ago that Tony stepped up from to light-heavyweight to cruiser and now he goes all the way into the heavyweight division. Haye was once a cruiser but a long time ago. Bellew has power but Haye’s chin might not be as weak as advertised. His stoppage defeats are much talked about, less so the fact that he did go 12 rounds with Wladimir Klitschko. Whatever happens this will surely be explosive, and will surely end quickly.

Does Anthony Joshua beat Wladimir Klitschko?

Many, perhaps most, will be tipping Anthony Joshua to beat Wladimir Klitschko when they meet at Wembley Stadium on April 29. Joshua is younger, more powerful and has momentum on his side. Klitschko meanwhile is coming off a loss and a long lay-off, as well as having to contend with own advancing years. But there is a huge gulf in experience. Klitschko was a dominant champion for years and, with underrated footwork, knows full how to control the pace of a 12 round fight. He seems full of confidence too ahead of boxing Joshua. I think Klitschko has miscalculated but do not write off the veteran.

Who’s going to watch the Chris Eubank Jr fight?

It’s a strange one. ITV Box Office, a new pay-per-view platform will launch with Chris Eubank Jr versus … Renold Quinlan. Who he, you might ask. He’s a little known IBO super-middleweight titlist from Australia who isn’t expected to trouble Eubank Jr. It’s a curious move, given if Eubank was on free to view terrestrial TV he would no doubt generate great numbers and set himself up for a big fight in the summer. Now you wonder what Eubank’s strategy is for his career. I’m sure all will be revealed and ITV do have a massive audience to advertise him to. Boxing connoisseurs will be harder to convince to part with their money. We polled the readers of Boxing News Online, only 10% said they would buy the fight, 85% said they wouldn’t (5% were undecided).

How long will Manny Pacquiao keep going?

In 2016 Manny Pacquiao retired and promptly unretired, and looked spritely enough defeating Jessie Vargas. He can’t pull the same gambit this year but will need to work his way to build up a major fight. Pacquiao isn’t the force of old and will want a signing off bonus as his career winds down. Top Rank might angle for Terence Crawford or even Vasyl Lomachenko to move up to face him. But Pacquiao himself might want the windfall of a Floyd Mayweather rematch.

Speaking of which, is Floyd Mayweather going to come back?

He doesn’t need the money, he’s made a scarcely comprehensible fortune. Yet rich men tend to enjoy expanding their wealth. If Mayweather is going to come back, he can’t leave it too much longer than 2017. Going to the 50-0 milestone must be tempting. The back and forth about Conor McGregor seems little more than a publicity stunt but the testiness of some of Mayweather’s responses suggests that he still has the fighting pride of old.

 Will Canelo fight Golovkin?

This is the big fight. The perfect set up would be Canelo Alvarez stepping up to middleweight, trying to wrest the WBO middleweight title from Billy Joe Saunders in May to set up a mega unification with Gennady Golovkin. But that could be too good to be true. This is boxing after all. Canelo may be tired of being asked constantly about Golovkin but he hasn’t bestirred himself yet to force the fight. It is frankly a smart piece of work for Canelo’s team to adopt the ‘make ‘em wait, make ‘em pay’ approach. Mayweather-Pacquiao did show that an interminable wait may be bad for the quality of fight, it doesn’t half maximise earnings. Plus, with youth on Alvarez’s side, letting Golovkin age would presumably advantage the Mexican. The hope is that Golovkin looks less than stellar against Danny Jacobs in March, Canelo’s team is emboldened and, with added pressure from HBO, who televise both, both sides realise they don’t want miss out on this particular bonanza.

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