Unlike most other pro sports, the schedule for boxing matches isn’t finalized on a computer program and released to the public months in advance. Promoters try to work out the details as far ahead of time as possible to allow the boxers ample time to train and of course to give them time to market the event. We know some bouts several months in advance while others are announced just a few weeks before the opening bell.
What we have here is a list of the top-10 scheduled fights between now and September. As the weeks go by more top-notch contests will be scheduled and announced. But for the moment, these are 10 of the best upcoming bouts and dates that boxing fans can circle on their calendars.
10. Adonis Stevenson vs Andrzej Fonfara
This is a rematch of their 2014 bout which saw WBC Light Heavyweight Champion Stevenson (28-1, 23 Ko’s) beat Fonfara (29-4, 17 Ko’s) by unanimous decision. The fight is June 3rd and like the original bout, will be taking place at the Bell Centre in Montreal. The 39-year-old Stevenson was born in Haiti and fights out of La belle province while the 29-year-old Fonfara’s a native of Poland and fights out of Chicago. Stevenson won the title in June, 2013 when he smoked former champ Chad Dawson in just 76 seconds. He’s defended it seven times against some notable boxers such as Tavoris Cloud, Tony Bellew, Sakio Bika, Tommy Karpency and of course Fonfara. He had his hands full with Fonfara three years ago in a contest which saw Fonfara dropped twice and Stevenson once. Fonfara beat Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Nathan Cleverly following his loss to Stevenson, but was then stopped in the first round by Joe Smith Jr. before rebounding against Dawson in March. This has the potential to be better than their first fight especially with both men having questionable chins.
9. Eleider Alvarez vs Jean Pascal
This light heavyweight tilt is on the undercard of the Stevenson vs Fonfara fight in Montreal on June 3rd. It’s interesting since both the 34-year-old Pascal and 33-year-old Alvarez fight out of Quebec and will be looking for a title shot against the winner of the main event. Pascal (31-4-1, 18 Ko’s) hails from Haiti and the undefeated Alvarez (22-0, 11 Ko’s) was born in Colombia and this fight is for the WBC Silver Light Heavyweight Title. Pascal was the WBC world champ back in 2009 and defended the crown five times and also added the IBO belt. He’s beaten the likes of Chad Dawson and Lucian Bute, but has lost to Bernard Hopkins, Carl Froch and twice to Sergey Kovalev, with Kovalev stopping him both times. Alvarez owns impressive victories over Isaac Chilemba, Edison Miranda and Bute. His career appears to be on the upswing at the moment while Pascal’s is on the downswing so they’ll be meeting somewhere in the middle in this crossroads fight.
8. Joe Smith Jr. vs Sullivan Barrera
Light heavyweight Joe Smith Jr. of Long Island, New York proved he wasn’t just an average Joe in the ring when he demolished Andrzej Fonfara in just 152 seconds last June. He proved it wasn’t a fluke by knocking former long-time world champ Bernard Hopkins clear out of the ring in the eighth round just six months later in Hopkins’ swansong. The 27-year-old Smith (23-1, 19 Ko’s ) is ready to entertain the fans with his 79 per cent knockout ratio once again when he takes on 35-year-old Sullivan Barrera (19-1, 14 Ko’s) of Cuba on July 15th. The bout for Smith’s WBC International Light Heavyweight Title is in Inglewood, California and on the undercard of the Miguel Cotto vs Yoshihiro Kamegai fight. Smith basically became an overnight sensation last year while Barrera didn’t turn pro until he was 27 following an extensive amateur career. Barrera’s lone loss was to Andre Ward by unanimous decision and he’s beaten the likes of Karo Murat, Vyacheslav Shabranskyy and Jeff Lacy. Smith’s one and only defeat was to Eddie Caminero by fourth-round TKO in 2010. Another big performance by Smith should soon lead to a world title shot.
7. Miguel Berchelt vs Takashi Miura
Perhaps only hardcore boxing fans know who Miguel Berchelt (31-1, 28 Kos) and Takashi Miura (31-3-2, 24 Ko’s) are, but those who watch the sport casually may want to tune in as this could be a candidate for fight of the year. These two bruisers will also be getting it on in Inglewood, California on July 15th where Berchelt will be defending his WBC Super Featherweight Title. The 25-year-old champ from Mexico and the 33-year-old Miura of Japan have both been involved in a ‘fight of the year’ in the past due to their never-say-die attitudes. These guys just don’t quit as they keep coming forward even when continuously getting nailed on the way in. The fact that both of them have chins of granite means this could very well be a brutally-punishing war of attrition. To see what these two are all about, do a quick search for Berchelt and Miura’s fights against Francisco Vargas as well as Miura vs Miguel Roman. Like those three slugfests, this could also be a classic.
6. Manny Pacquiao vs Jeff Horn
Manny Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 Ko’s) will head down under on July 1st to take on Australia’s Jeff Horn (16-0-1, 11 Ko’s) in front of 55,000 fans in Brisbane. Yes, the 38-year-old Pacquiao’s not the boxer he used to be and the 29-year-old Horn’s a bit of an unknown quantity, but the implications of a Pacquiao win could lead to much better things. If the Filipino southpaw can retain his WBO Welterweight Title in impressive fashion it could lead to a mega fight with unbeaten WBO and WBC Super Lightweight Champion Terence Crawford. However, trainer Freddie Roach recently stated that Pacquiao has a lot of work to do in training camp as his timing’s way off. In addition, Horn has power and the champ is susceptible to a strong right hook. The Pac Man will need to utilize his boxing skills, footwork and speed in this fight as he hasn’t knocked anybody out since Miguel Cotto in 2009. As for Horn, he’s taking a huge step up in class since his biggest wins have been against lesser-lights such as Randall Bailey and Ali Funeka.
5. Miguel Cotto vs Yoshihiro Kamegai
Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 Ko’s) of Puerto Rico is the island’s only four-weight-division world champion, but at the age of 36 he’s just past his prime. He’s still got enough in the tank to earn another title though and he’ll get a shot at one when he meets Japan’s Yoshihiro Kamegai (27-3-2, 24 Ko’s ) for the vacant WBO Junior Middleweight Championship in Carson, California on August 26th. Cotto hasn’t fought since November, 2015 when he dropped a unanimous decision to Canelo Alvarez. In the meantime, the 34-year-old Kamegai was involved in two entertaining battles with Jesus Soto Karass, earning a draw and an eighth-round stoppage. Like Takashi Miura, Kamegai is another exciting, relentless Japanese boxer with amazing willpower and a solid chin, but he doesn’t possess the greatest boxing skills. He doesn’t usually need to though since 24 of his 27 wins have been by KO. Cotto, a future hall of famer, is going after a sixth word title belt here while Kamegai is seeking his first.
4. Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs Conor McGregor
Okay, this fight isn’t set in stone, but there’s a 50/50 chance it’ll happen. Boxing purists may not be thrilled about it, but it can’t be any worse than the Muhammad Ali vs Antonio Inoki farce of 1976. If mixed martial artist McGregor (24-3, 18 Ko’s) does meet the undefeated Mayweather (49-0, 26 Ko’s) of Grand Rapids, Michigan it’s likely going to be a straightforward boxing match. The 28-year-old McGregor of Dublin, Ireland is the UFC’s Lightweight Champ and previously held the organization’s featherweight title while the 40-year-old Mayweather’s considered one of the greatest boxers ever. Let’s face it, this fight will rake in millions of dollars on pay-per-view as both UFC and boxing fans will end up tuning in. McGregor has the same chance of outboxing Mayweather as Adam Sandler has of winning an Oscar, but if he goes hell bent for leather and lets his hands go in search of a knockout…well anything could happen.
3. Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward
There’s another highly-anticipated light heavyweight rematch on the books when American Andre Ward (31-0) and Sergey Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 Kos) of Russia will be battling it out in Las Vegas on June 17th for Ward’s WBA, IBF and WBO world titles. The 34-year-old Kovalev lost those belts to 33-year-old Ward last November in a hotly-disputed unanimous decision by scores of 114-113 across the board. The fight was a tale of two halves as Kovalev got off to a great start and dropped the former super middleweight king in the second round. However, he made a mistake by not going for the knockout and Ward recovered by the next round. Ward then started using his superior boxing skills and had a far better second half of the fight, but it’s arguable he did enough to win the bout. We know Kovalev can’t outbox Ward so fans should be in for a treat as he goes for a knockout this time around.
2. Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko
To be honest, 41-year-old Wladimir Klitschko (64-5, 53 Ko’s) of Ukraine came within a whisker of stopping England’s Anthony Joshua (19-0, 19 Ko’s) in the sixth round at Wembley in April. The former unified heavyweight champ let him off the hook though and ended up paying for it when the 27-year-old stopped him in the 11th round to retain his IBF, IBO and WBA (Super) World titles. It was one of the most dramatic heavyweight title fights in the past 50 years with both men displaying tremendous heart and sportsmanship. This fight isn’t scheduled yet, but there’s a good chance Klitschko will invoke the rematch clause in his contract, and why not? A second fight will likely smash the box-office records the first one set and the outcome is still a tossup. There’s no bad blood between these two as they genuinely like each other, but they were all business once the bell rang. Klitschko was lean and mobile in the first fight, but would be well-advised to put at least five pounds back on for a rematch.
1. Gennady Golovkin vs Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez
The fight all boxing fans are anxiously waiting for is the Gennady Golovkin (37-0, 33 Ko’s) vs Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 Ko’s) clash on September 16th in Las Vegas. The bout is for Golovkin’s IBO, IBF, WBC and WBA (Super) Middleweight Titles and has the potential for fireworks. The 35-year-old ‘Triple G’ of Kazakhstan had his hands full with Gary Jacobs in March, but still won a unanimous decision and the 26-year-old Alvarez of Mexico struggled with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on his way to a unanimous decision on May 6th. They’ll both have to be at their best in Sin City though if they want to cement their legacies. Golovkin is basically a natural middleweight while Canelo has fought at catch weights, as a junior middleweight and as a welterweight. However, he did weigh 164 lbs. against Chavez. Fans will be debating the outcome of this fight until the cows come home and fortunately, those cows will be returning to their place of residence on September 16th.