With Canelo Alvarez suing his promoter, Golden Boy, and broadcast partner DAZN, chances are we won’t see the middleweight champion in the ring the rest of the year. And that puts a third fight against Gennadiy Golovkin at risk.
The first fight in 2017 ended in a controversial split draw, and in the rematch a year later, Canelo edged out GGG in a majority decision. Will they complete the trilogy in 2021 and decide who is the best middleweight in the world?
And talking about middleweights, WBC titlist Jermall Charlo shares the big stage with his twin brother, Jermell Charlo, a WBC junior middleweight titleholder, on Sept. 26. Both are among the best fighters in their respective division, but who’s the better Charlo in the ring?
Speaking of being the best, the lightweight unification fight between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez Jr. is only a month away, and the younger Lopez has a good chance of defeating Lomachenko, the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Will he?
Former world champions Timothy Bradley Jr., Sergio Mora and John Ruiz, and ESPN boxing experts Ben Baby and Cameron Wolfe, share their opinions on what’s real or not.
Real or not: Canelo Alvarez and Gennadiy Golovkin will complete their trilogy in 2021
Sergio Mora, former WBC junior middleweight titlist and current DAZN boxing analyst: As a fighter, yes, I do believe these two will fight each other and settle the score next year. There’s too much bad blood and pride on the line. These two were meant for a trilogy. There was no clear winner in two fights, 24 hard-fought rounds and you can debate the result of both fights. And because of that, I think that a third fight will happen, business aside, legalities aside, they do want to settle the score.
As an analyst, I can say that usually there’s always a clear winner in third fights in trilogies. If you look at the history of trilogies, the ones off the top of my head, [Arturo] Gatti-[Micky] Ward, [Sugar Ray] Leonard-[Roberto] Duran, even [Riddick] Bowe-[Evander] Holyfield, there are so many trilogies out there, Rafael Marquez-Israel Vazquez is another good one — in the third fight [there] is a clear winner, because they know each other so well, stylistically.
If these two fight again, I think they are smart enough to know each other’s style and mentality and how they fight, that they know in the third fight somebody is gonna get either hurt, stopped or convincingly win in a physical fight.
I can’t say [who wins] but I can tell you it will be a knockout, I don’t think it will go to a decision. I think one of these guys will get knocked out because of familiarity, because of their age, Golovkin is a little older, Canelo is a little older, fresher than Golovkin, but ring age, having 56 fights, he has a lot of miles in his tank, too, so I think it will be a decisive winner in the third fight. With power you never know, it can be the younger guy or it can be the older guy. With power you can end the fight with one punch.
Real or not: Teofimo Lopez Jr. will beat Vasiliy Lomachenko
Teofimo Lopez says his long layoff from the ring will be beneficial and result in him getting a knockout win over Vasiliy Lomachenko.
Timothy Bradley Jr., former two-division world titlist and current ESPN boxing analyst: Look, there is a real possibility that this young, strong kid could beat Lomachenko. I’ve been in boxing for 26 years and upsets happen. We always seemingly glorify one particular fighter because of his special talent inside the ring, but we forget about the other fighter like he has no advantages or talent. Lopez is bigger in size because he is a natural lightweight, whereas Lomachenko is not.
Lopez has a significant reach advantage also, plus hand speed is about equal between both men. Punching power favors Lopez immensely. Footwork, of course, belongs to Lomachenko, [but that] can be exposed with timing. Lopez has tremendous timing with explosive power. We have seen Lomachenko struggle against fighters who use their reach and maintain distance. Jose Pedraza and Luke Campbell gave [Lomachenko] issues earlier in fights because Loma needs to be close to have success.
In conclusion, it’s been over a year since Lomachenko has been inside the ring, so ring rust could be a factor. Teofimo Lopez Sr. has been extremely vocal about this fight for an extended amount of time. He has predicted everything else in his son’s career, which has come true. It’s hard not to believe him. No one believed Buster Douglas would beat Mike Tyson or Antonio Tarver would knock out Roy Jones Jr., so I believe Lopez can do it.
Real or not: Tyson Fury will KO Deontay Wilder in their third match
Ben Baby, ESPN boxing contributor: This is more real than Fury’s lineal heavyweight title. In the second matchup between both fighters, Fury was utterly dominant and had no issues with Wilder. The Briton was the aggressor and prevented Wilder from getting comfortable enough to land the most thunderous right hand in combat sports. In the past, Wilder has effectively deployed that power punch to overcome his technical flaws. Fury’s clean and powerful punches kept the Alabama native off balance in more ways than one.
Wilder’s flaws have been notable since he started to gain traction in the heavyweight division. He was able to climb the ranks despite those shortcomings, overwhelm opponents with power and pick up knockout victories. As we saw with the first two fights, Fury is easily Wilder’s toughest opponent. And against someone of Fury’s caliber, it’s going to take a lot more than one punch to earn a win.
Real or not: Mike Tyson will KO Roy Jones Jr.
Roy Jones Jr. says a match vs. Mike Tyson is the only one he’d come back for, then breaks down how he thinks the exhibition will go.
John Ruiz, former heavyweight world titlist: Real. Somehow I believe Tyson still wants to prove something. He left a bad taste in the way he left boxing. I honestly feel he’s really into this fight, he really wants to go out there and basically KO Jones and put a final statement in his career. Even though Tyson had a great career, sometimes when you leave with a bad taste in your mouth, it sours the way your career went. I guarantee you he’s probably training twice as hard than Jones for this. Tyson is all in and I think he’ll KO Jones because Jones is not as mobile as he once was.
The whole thing with Tyson is, we all knew he was a one-round fighter, he would KO people in one round or three rounds. If people survived three rounds against Tyson, it was anybody’s game. I honestly feel that Tyson will get Jones in the first three rounds.
Real or not: Jermall Charlo is the best Charlo brother in boxing
Cameron Wolfe, ESPN boxing contributor: Real. Look, Jermall Charlo’s respect will come if he can beat (and especially if he knocks out) Sergiy Derevyanchenko in his WBC middleweight world title defense on Sept. 26, but the power is real. This comes down to Jermall being a more physically gifted and talented boxer than his twin brother, Jermell, the WBC junior middleweight titlist. Jermall’s got more offensively — power, jab, timing — than his brother. Jermall can get a little sloppy defensively and winded like he did in his win over Austin Trout in 2016, which is where Jermell has the biggest edge over his brother. But on a given fight night the larger twin brother just gives you more to worry about and fear.
Sometimes the eye test just decides a close decision for you. And it is close, as Jermell’s heart, speed and defense gives him an edge in some categories, but Jermall is a tick ahead at this point in their careers. Jermall’s fifth-round KO over Julian Williams is the best victory either boxer has on their resume right now. Plus, he’s the only one of the twins who is still undefeated. I know they’ve said they will never fight each other but boy, would that be a fun one.