Top Boxing Predictions for 2020 – Here’s What Fans Can Expect
2019 was a solid year for boxing, but certainly not one that will stick in the mind as one of the best of the decade thus far.
The biggest story of the year was Anthony Joshua getting knocked out by Andy Ruiz Jr. in May. Joshua would go on to beat Ruiz in the rematch, however, ending the year as he had started it.
But it just seemed that we were missing some of the big fights that we had been promised at the end of 2018.
For example, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury’s rematch. What the hell happened there?
Well, you might be happy to learn that 2019’s losses could end up being 2020’s gains. Below, I’m going to walk you through my top boxing predictions for 2020 and what you can expect in what should be a big year for boxing.
Wilder and Fury Will Fight – At Least Once
Note: Wilder vs. Fury 2 has officially been announced! I’ve put together a Wilder vs. Fury 2 preview to get you ready for this bout, and you can check out my full breakdown here.
As I write this, the world is still yet to step into the year 2020. In fact, it will only be a couple of days before we do.
But we are still yet to have Wilder vs. Fury 2 officially announced.
Sure, things can happen pretty fast in boxing, but it is leaving it a little late, right? For those who are painfully waiting for the most eagerly anticipated rematch in boxing, the best thing that can happen is to have things wrapped up as soon as possible.
But even if Wilder and Fury cannot get nailed down for February 22 — which is the date the second fight between the two is expected to go down — you can expect the WBC and lineal champions to lock horns in 2020.
At least once, I might add.
Now, we have had Fury’s promoter, Frank Warren, claim that these two could even fight twice in 2020. That would certainly be music to the ears of heavyweight boxing fans across the world.
Once the two giants deal with their business for the second time, we can re-evaluate and start to get a little greedier. It would be very surprising to see these two fight twice in one year, but it is far from impossible.
We just have to wait and see how the rematch goes, because that will determine everything that follows.
Terence Crawford’s Frustrations Will Continue
You might be thinking, what does Terence Crawford have to feel frustrated about? The guy is one of the best fighters on the planet. He is a multiple weight world champion. And probably has a couple of spare dollars in his bank account.
Well, if you have been following Crawford’s career over the past couple of years, you will find that the guy just cannot seem to consistently land big fights.
The Nebraskan was the undisputed light welterweight champion of the world before winning the WBO world championship in his first fight at 147. In that bout, he took the title off of Jeff Horn, and fans were delighted at the prospects of him facing some of the big names at welterweight.
But in over 18 months, Crawford is yet to fight any of the elite names in the division. Unfortunately, you can only fight what is in front of you, and Crawford has stopped the likes of Horn, José Benavidez Jr., Amir Khan, and Egidijus Kavaliauskas.
What we want is to see Terence Crawford vs. Errol Spence Jr. That is the best matchup in boxing today. But we’re not going to get it in 2020.
Canelo vs. Golovkin 3 Will Happen in 2020
Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin 3 in 2020.
As much as I hate to say it, that doesn’t have the same ring as Golovkin vs. Canelo in 2015, or even 2016. When these two went at it for the first time in September 2017, it was exciting, but it should have happened a couple of years prior.
GGG will likely be 38 by the time the trilogy fight is made, while Canelo will have just turned — or will be very close to turning — 30 years old.
Given the controversial nature of both Golovkin vs. Canelo fights, a third one is not a hard sell. In fact, there are still many boxing fans that think it is one of the best fights to make in the sport.
I am not too sure about that. Golovkin has looked faded since the second fight, struggling against a personal trainer in Steve Rolls and arguably losing his last bout to Sergiy Derevyanchenko.
Sure, you can say Golovkin’s change of trainer, personal issues, new broadcaster, or even a bout of flu have contributed to his decline in skills. But his age and years of wear and tear have likely caught up with him.
If you’re looking forward to Canelo vs. Golovkin 3, you should be pleased in 2020. Well, by the fact that the fight gets made. Anything after that is subjective.
Oleksandr Usyk Will Win a Heavyweight Title
It is fair to say that the heavyweight division has been pretty hit and miss since the early 2000s.
But the emergence of Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua meant that some fans were beginning to get excited by watching them go at it. When Tyson Fury made a miraculous return to the ring in 2016 — going to earn a draw with Wilder at the end of 2018 — suddenly, the division was alive and kicking.
Now, with former unified cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk in the mix, the division has not been as strong in years.
With Usyk set to embark on an ambitious run at heavyweight, there is every chance that he could establish himself at the top of the tree.
As it stands, Usyk is the mandatory for Anthony Joshua’s WBO title. But I’m not too sure that the Brit will be excited at the prospect of taking the Ukrainian on. Both men know each other very well, sure, but I don’t think 2020 is the year when they fight.
So, at the very least, you can expect Usyk to have that WBO strap around his waist at some point in the year.
Anything better than that will depend on the strength of his team’s matchmaking and his ability to convince at heavyweight.
Anthony Joshua Will Have a Fairly Quiet Year
So, if Joshua does decide to vacate his WBO strap, then that would all but spell the end to any chance of him fighting Usyk in 2020.
With Wilder and Fury set to equal the score — or at least attempt to do just that — Joshua is unlikely to get a look in with either of these two. You could say that there is plenty of time in 2020 for him to potentially fight one of the two, but this is modern-day boxing.
As you have probably noticed over the past few years, there is something of a pattern when it comes to heavyweight boxers. If they are involved in a big fight, they will usually get a free pass with a couple of smaller bouts the following year.
Let’s say that this is true. Joshua is leaving the toughest year of his career behind. He lost his first fight against Andy Ruiz Jr. before coming back to beat Ruiz in a high-pressure rematch.
Some might say that a risky bout against someone like Usyk, Wilder, or Fury would be the worst thing for his career. Instead of fighting any of those guys, he would probably be better suited to trying to rebuild his brand to the pre-Ruiz levels.
If this is the case, expect Joshua to be matched up against weaker opposition.
Aside from answering the mandatory to Usyk, Joshua will also be required to defend or vacate his IBF crown against Kubrat Pulev.
If you think about this objectively, who will he choose to fight in April? Usyk or Pulev?
There’s your answer.
I am certain that Joshua will be too good for Pulev. I think he will probably fight once more in 2020, but don’t expect it to be against any of the big names in his division.
Floyd Mayweather Will Fight Again in 2020
Whether you love him or hate him, Floyd Mayweather will back in the ring in 2020.
Now, don’t expect Mayweather to be challenging the likes of Terence Crawford or Errol Spence — because there is no way he is motivated by titles — but an exhibition bout is surely on the cards.
Well, it would be either an exhibition bout or a rematch with Manny Pacquiao.
Yup. As much as you probably don’t want to hear it — and I am not exactly thrilled about writing it — there is a huge chance of Mayweather and Pacquiao fighting a second time.
I’m not saying that there will be many fans demanding that fight. In fact, no objective boxing fan would want to see it, surely. But with the amount of money that could be made from Mayweather vs. Pacquiao 2, it just might happen.
If it doesn’t, Mayweather just might look at other options to add to his vast wealth.
Look, “Money” has long given up pretending that he is driven by anything other than paper. So, why would he walk away when he can still make a hell of a lot more than most other prizefighters?
Naoya Inoue Will Gain His Revenge
I have been a huge fan of Japanese star Naoya Inoue for a good few years now. So it is nice to see him finally starting to get the recognition that he deserves.
Having signed a bumper deal with Bob Arum’s Top Rank, Inoue will now have his fights broadcast by ESPN. To say that Inoue’s star is about to get a lot brighter would be an understatement.
Having gone at with Nonito Donaire in the World Boxing Super Series: bantamweight final — a contest that should go down as the fight of the year — Inoue will need to let his fractured eye socket heal before he steps back through those ropes.
But when he comes back, he is sure to show the world what he can do. In the United States, no doubt.
There is a slight question mark over what weight Inoue will compete at when he does come back. In my opinion, there is absolutely no doubt that he will stick at bantamweight in order to take on the division’s WBC champion, Nordine Oubaali.
You know, that guy who handed Naoya’s brother, Takuma, the first defeat of his professional career.
Look, we know Bob Arum loves a grudge match. Or, in the absence of a grudge match, a fight that has a big, juicy storyline that you can get your teeth stuck into.
Man, if Inoue does fight Oubaali and James Brown’s “The Payback” isn’t the soundtrack to his ring walk, someone has to get fired.
Errol Spence Will Not Get the Major Fights in 2020
Stop right there.
I’m not saying Errol Spence Jr. is going to actively avoid the big fights in 2020. I don’t believe the guy is afraid of anyone in the welterweight division.
But I have a feeling that we are not going to see Spence in there with Terence Crawford. If you know your boxing, I’m pretty certain that you will share my anxiety in this regard.
But with Crawford out of the way, there are other names out there for Spence. Sure, there isn’t anyone that is an unbeaten, established champion at welterweight, but I would still class the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Keith Thurman, and Danny Garcia as top draws.
In fact, when you look at Errol Spence’s resume, there is a clear absence of welterweight standouts. Sure, he beat Shawn Porter earlier this year, but that was the first top-ranked welterweight he has faced — who has been in their prime, no doubt — ever.
Spence fought former lightweight champion Mikey Garcia before then.
The American has the tools to take the welterweight division hostage for some time. But there is no doubt that he needs to fight the big boys before he can claim to be the best.
So, please prove me wrong, Errol…
There Will Be Controversy
And finally, the boxing world in 2020 is going to have some serious controversy.You just know it, don’t you?
You can feel it in your bones.
Results will go the other way on account of judges suddenly losing their senses of sight. Fighters will be accused of ducking competitors, while others will go completely missing when it is their turn to sign contracts.
There will be surprises, too. Belts will change ownership, possibly on account of fighters being knocked out, outclassed, or simply outpointed.
2020 promises to be a huge year in boxing, but if we don’t see at least one super fight along the lines of Wilder vs. Fury 2, Canelo vs. Golovkin 3, or, more tentatively, Spence vs. Crawford, we’re not going to be happy, are we?
But we will still keep tuning in. We will still be looking to clear our schedules and get our wagers down on the top boxing betting sites. We will continue to be boxing fans.
After all, where would we be without this terribly beautiful sport?