Predictions for boxing in 2016


The heavyweight division won’t get exciting just yet

We have a new heavyweight champion after a decade of Klitschko dominance, so things are about to get interesting, right? Sadly, no. Batman () is set for an April or May rematch with Wladimir Klitschko, a fight he is not certain to win. American hope on Saturday, but I doubt they’ll be taking him and his precious belt anywhere near a live body anytime soon. Meanwhile, David Haye is having a comeback against a nobody on a TV channel that advertises itself as “”, and youngsters Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker aren’t quite ready for the big time. The heavyweight division is definitely going to heat up, but not until 2017.

Gennady Golovkin will continue to wait

Gennady Golovkin catches David Lemieux in the second round of their middleweight title fight in New York in October 2015. Photograph: Rich Schultz/AP

Poor old GGG: always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Rumour has it that will face either Gabe Rosado or Willie Monroe Jr in May. Now, where do I remember those names from? Oh, that’s right, they’re famous for being wrecked by Golovkin. The Mexican might be keen, but his team will want nothing to do with Golovkin in 2016, so the Kazakh killer will be forced to tread water for yet another year.

Oleksandr Usyk will become the next cult star

Oleksandr Usyk waits to be presented with his gold medal at the 2012 Olympics. Photograph: Damir Sagolj/Reuters

With his pay-per-view debut last year, street art tributes and even , Golovkin is beginning to lose his cult status. Enter 2012 Olympic gold medalist, Cossack-dancing, forelock-sporting, one-time ice cream vendor Oleksandr Usyk. He’s big, he’s bad and he has a (as well as a mandatory shot at the belt held by No1 cruiserweight contender Krzysztof Glowacki).

Ike Ibeabuchi will disappoint

Ike Ibeabuchi in 1999. Photograph: Ring Magazine/Getty Images

OK, you don’t exactly need a crystal ball for this one. One-time heavyweight hope Ibeabuchi is 43 and hasn’t had a fight in 17 years. The idea that he could pick up where he left off in the late 1990s is fanciful, but, like Agent Fox Mulder, it seems a lot of people want to believe. He looks likely to appear on the undercard in April, pending commission approval, so we’ll find out then.

Nothing will happen at light heavweight

Andre Ward catches Arthur Abraham during their WBA super middleweight bout. Photograph: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

I know, I know. Andre Ward has signed a deal to meet Sergey Kovalev later in the year. I just can’t bring myself to believe it will be that easy. Something will go wrong, whether it’s business-related, injury-related or some other kind of entirely new snafu.

Adrien Broner will do something dumb

Yeah I know. Call me Nostradamus.

Román González v Francisco Estrada II will be worth the wait

All signs point to the little dudes finally making it happen (again) in 2016. “Chocolatito” is fighting Giovanni Segura in March (a bit of a “meh” fight) but he’s talking the talk about the rematch after previously demanding more money. It might not move the needle much for casuals, but hardcore fans will go wild. In terms of technique, offence and skills, it just doesn’t get any better.

We haven’t heard the last of Manny and Floyd

Floyd Mayweather throws a left at Manny Pacquiao during their fight in May 2015. Photograph: Al Bello/Getty Images

With Manny Pacquiao set to retire after and Floyd Mayweather already out to pasture (at least officially), you could be forgiven for thinking that boxing is on the cusp of a new era. Not quite. There will be much speculation about a September return for Mayweather and a rematch with Pacquiao is even a possibility. Let me put it this way: if both men stay retired, I will walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge naked.

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