Naoya Inoue vs. the Winner of Juan Francisco Estrada vs. Wisaksil Wangek
Entering 2018, the super flyweight division is one of boxing’s hottest neighborhoods. Thailand’s Wingsaksil Wangek emerged from obscurity, edging Roman Gonzalez in a Fight of the Year quality war in March and knocking him out in the September rematch. In February he faces Juan Francisco Estrada, who was a dominant belt-holder at flyweight.
The winner of this battle absolutely needs to face Japanese phenom Naoya Inoue. It would be a true superfight and establish a legitimate world champion.
Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Mikey Garcia
In December, Vasyl Lomachenko defeated Guillermo Rigondeaux with ease. It gave him his first victory over another top-10, pound-for-pound star. But here’s the thing–Rigondeaux is a much older, smaller opponent. Lomo deserves credit for the win, but the question remains: how would he handle another great fighter who is also the same size he is, or even a bit bigger?
Mikey Garcia is the perfect opponent to answer that question. Garcia has defeated top stars from 126 to 140 pounds. In 2017, he re-established himself as a top-10, pound-for-pound fighter. This would be a legacy defining fight for both men.
Errol Spence Jr. vs. Keith Thurman
Both of these men have alphabet-soup recognition as world champions are welterweight. But the truth is that the Welterweight Championship of the World has remained vacant since Floyd Mayweather retired in 2015. This fight would determine a new champ.
Both Spence and Thurman need this fight, if either wants to reach his full potential.
Sergey Kovalev vs. Adonis Stevenson
This fight should have taken place in 2014. But Stevenson has seemed to want no part of the Russian wrecking machine. Despite holding the lineal title at 175 pounds, Stevenson was pushed into the background over the past few years, as the two-fight rivalry between Kovalev and Andre Ward took center stage.
With Ward now retired, it’s time to start beating the drum again for Kovalev vs. Stevenson.
Anthony Joshua vs. the winner of Deontay Wilder vs. Luis Ortiz
I’ll be sad indeed if this fight does not materialize before the end of 2018. To my eyes, Joshua looks like the emerging superstar at heavyweight–exactly the fighter the sport needs. But the winner of Wilder and Ortiz will deserve a shot at the distinction, as well.
In a perfect world, Joshua would fight Joseph Parker while waiting for a winner between Wilder and Ortiz.