Floyd Mayweather is again! Or one thing like that.
On Sunday, Mayweather introduced that he’s returning to the ring for a “super exhibition” fight in opposition to YouTube sensation Logan Paul on Feb. 20. Is that stunning? Not likely, contemplating the success of the current exhibition match between former champions Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. And Mayweather is arguably an even bigger star than these two.
And speaking about stars, Errol Spence Jr. returned to the ring for the primary time in over a yr on Saturday and confirmed why he is one of many prime pound-for-pound fighters on the planet with a dominant victory over Danny Garcia. However can he beat Terence Crawford … if they really combat? Whereas Garcia was a strong opponent, Crawford is on a unique degree and opened in some sportsbooks in Las Vegas as the favourite if a megafight had been to occur.
And the way about Anthony Joshua? Will we see him in opposition to Tyson Fury if he defeats Kubrat Pulev this Saturday? Ought to Billy Joe Saunders push for a combat in opposition to Canelo Alvarez after his successful super middleweight title defense this previous weekend?
ESPN’s boxing consultants share their ideas on these matters and extra.
Actual or not: I am excited to see Floyd Mayweather field once more
Ben Child: Not actual. I am unable to keep in mind the final time I used to be excited to see Floyd Mayweather within the ring. The intense counterpunching Mayweather used and the shortcoming to ever harm fighters as a welterweight by no means suited my palate. One of many causes I by no means loved Mayweather is that he was a fighter who by no means appeared to take huge dangers — in fact, he not often wanted to as a result of he usually stumped opponents. Loads of folks loved Mayweather fights. I used to be not certainly one of them.
Mayweather’s biggest abilities as a prizefighter had been his nostril for big-money fights and his marketability. It is why his ultimate skilled combat — a gussied-up exhibition in opposition to former UFC champion Conor McGregor to place him at 50-0 as a professional — completely embodied Mayweather. It was a combination of a massive payday coupled with an opponent who by no means actually had a shot of beating him.
This newest endeavor in opposition to YouTuber Logan Paul is an instance of Mayweather’s enterprise acumen. He is in all probability going to make some huge cash to do little to no work. It is laborious to argue in opposition to that logic.
Whereas it is certainly a farce, this exhibition will doubtless be extra entertaining than lots of Mayweather’s fights towards the tip of his profession as a result of, in Paul, he’ll have an opponent he can actually look nice in opposition to for informal followers.
A humorous factor about this combat, although. Why is not this one sanctioned, like Mayweather’s combat in opposition to McGregor? Paul really has an official professional boxing match on his file — a split-decision loss to YouTuber KSI in a cruiserweight bout final yr. McGregor was making his professional debut when he fought “Cash” Mayweather in 2017. Though McGregor was an precise fighter, it took simply a few rounds to spotlight the ridiculousness of that occasion. I think about the identical factor will occur in February when Mayweather steps into the ring to face Paul.
This is the rub of all of it. Boxing followers could not be capable of abdomen Mayweather becoming a member of within the present pattern of exhibitions masquerading as pugilism. It is not going to matter as a result of we reside in a world the place a few of boxing’s greatest sights are YouTubers and retired fighters.
And the place there is a market, there is a payday available.
Actual or not: The Errol Spence Jr. who fought on Saturday beats Terence Crawford
Errol Spence Jr. is again after dominating Danny Garcia in a unanimous resolution victory to retain his welterweight titles.
Cameron Wolfe: Not actual. Spence’s aggression, jab and exercise had been simply an excessive amount of for a counterpunching Danny Garcia, who’s a step under in school. However Crawford affords a lot extra in challenges for Spence, together with extra energy and a capability to match his pace and timing. This model of Spence loses to Crawford.
This was Spence’s first combat again after his automobile accident, and Garcia uncovered some flaws in Spence’s protection that Crawford would leap on. Crawford is not flat-footed like Garcia and he will not permit Spence to dominate the tempo both. Spence-Crawford is the quintessential 50/50 combat, however Crawford’s intelligence within the ring and talent to regulate are why he deserves the slight edge proper now. However as we have mentioned time and time once more, we are able to solely hope these fighters could make this bout occur.
Actual or not: Anthony Joshua will KO Kubrat Pulev, then face Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder III winner subsequent
Anthony Joshua explains why he is extra more likely to combat Oleksandr Usyk than Tyson Fury in 2021.
Nick Parkinson: Not (certain). Count on to see Joshua knock out Pulev in a return to explosive kind. Nonetheless, there may be nonetheless quite a lot of uncertainty as to what 2021 appears to be like like for AJ.
There’s enormous demand in the UK, and past, for Joshua to face English rival and fellow world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury for all 4 main titles after Pulev, however there are issues in that combat changing into a actuality as Joshua’s first bout in 2021.
Wilder is insisting he’s contractually due a 3rd combat with Fury first, and if Wilder wins an arbitration listening to, Fury must both quit the WBC crown to make a combat with Joshua or combat Wilder first, which might push again a doable combat with Joshua to summer season 2021 on the earliest. Joshua, assuming he will get previous Pulev, additionally must resolve the calls for of a WBO necessary protection in opposition to Oleksandr Usyk, who desires his shot at AJ. And if Fury isn’t accessible till later in 2021, then AJ will combat Usyk first.
All of it will depend on Joshua first beating Pulev, then the result of the arbitration listening to, and at last what Fury decides to do if the listening to doesn’t go his method.
Actual or not: Shakur Stevenson will face Miguel Berchelt for the WBC junior light-weight title in his subsequent combat
Wolfe: Not actual. After I talked to Stevenson final week, he had his 2021 plan largely mapped out along with his eyes on the winner of Jamel Herring vs. Carl Frampton being his subsequent opponent, within the spring. Stevenson is the necessary for whoever walks away from the Herring-Frampton bout with the WBO title, and he intends on holding the winner to it.
After that, Stevenson says, he desires the winner of Miguel Berchelt-Oscar Valdez for the WBC belt in the summertime. Then he desires to complete off his yr going through IBF champion JoJo Diaz. What a 2021 that may be for Stevenson if plans come true. However this situation would place the bout with Berchelt two fights away on his calendar.
Actual or not: Billy Joe Saunders ought to push for a combat in opposition to Canelo Alvarez subsequent
Parkinson: Actual. Saunders fights sizzling or chilly, and he has been inconsistent in recent times regardless that he has efficiently stepped up in weight to turn into a two-division world champion.
Saunders could have been important of himself after his show in opposition to Martin Murray, but he won by wide scores (120-109, 120-109 and 118-110). He seemed sharp and match and threw a wide range of photographs and combos. It was the proper warm-up for an Alvarez bout, shaking off some ring rust and constructing momentum towards the large one.
Afterward, Saunders urged promoter Eddie Hearn to match him in a giant combat subsequent. None come any larger than Alvarez, and it almost occurred this yr.
“When he is on kind like this, it is essential we do not waste the chance,” Hearn mentioned. “I do know Canelo desires to combat him, so does Callum Smith. The Canelo combat [versus Saunders] solely fell by means of due to the pandemic.”
If Canelo beats Smith on Dec. 19, Saunders will likely be seen as an excellent choice for Canelo within the first half of 2021, whereas crowds are nonetheless restricted as a result of efforts to gradual the pandemic. At 31, it is now or by no means for Saunders.
Actual or not: Edgar Berlanga’s first-round KO streak will proceed on Saturday
Edgar Berlanga, the 23-year-old bruiser from Brooklyn, has 13 profession wins, all by first-round stoppage. Try Berlanga’s spotlight reel as he seeks to enhance to 14-0 vs. Eric Moon.
Child: Actual. There isn’t any purpose to assume Berlanga’s first-round knockout streak will cease in opposition to Ulises Sierra. Sierra has an excellent file, however upon additional inspection, it seems to be quite a lot of window dressing, which provides him many issues in frequent with Berlanga’s earlier opponents.
In some unspecified time in the future, Berlanga and Prime Rank must determine if the marketability of the first-round knockout streak is value sacrificing the rounds of ring expertise Berlanga wants if he desires to turn into a champion.
Do not get me mistaken. Berlanga is enjoyable, and knockouts are certainly one of boxing’s biggest appeals. However when somebody resembling Berlanga will get to a sure degree, it stops changing into entertaining and morphs into one thing barely annoying. If Berlanga retains the streak rolling, the following combat needs to be the one which pushes him into the second spherical. Which will likely be an excellent factor.