Here’s a hot dozen of bakers our guy would love to see next year

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 20: Tyson Fury during the Tyson Fury Press Conference at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on October 20, 2022 in London, England.  (Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Tyson Fury will fight Derek Chisora ​​on December 3 but there are many great options for him in 2023. (Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside via Getty Images)

The level of talent in boxing is extraordinary, and at one point it hasn’t been seen in a quarter of a century, maybe longer. There are big-name fighters who are good enough to stand up to the best in history. And there are talented young fighters on the rise who promise a lot.

But while most of the fights that fans want to see are put together in a short amount of time on the women’s side, it’s quite different on the men’s side, where a number of factors converge to make it difficult to put together decent fights.

Here are a dozen baker fights I’m excited about that have yet to be fought and my analysis of how likely we’ll see them in the next 12 months.

The big boys in the heavyweight division

It used to be said that, like heavyweight, it’s the same with boxing. That’s no longer true, although there are five heavyweight fights that could be exceptional.

1. Tyson FuryWBC Heavyweight Champion, versus Oleksandr UsykIBF WBA WBO Champion

Why I want to see it: First, it would be for both the straight title and the undisputed title. There would be an undoubted champion. And it would be an intriguing fight given the styles of the 6-9 Fury and the 6-3 Usyk.

Chances it occurs in 12 months: 3-1.

He appears optimistic. Fury has wavered on whether to continue fighting or withdraw but has previously challenged Usyk but grew impatient waiting for a deal to be struck. There shouldn’t be any major obstacles and the fight should take place in the first half of 2023.

2. anger versus Anthony Joshua

Why I want to see it: They are two of the greatest great men in football history, the rivalry runs deep and UK fans would go mad. It would be a mighty battle between two giants with great skill.

Chances it occurs in 12 months: 10-1.

If negotiations fizzle out for Fury and Usyk, this will be the next fight. Both fighters want it and they almost agreed on a fight in December. This could happen after Fury-Usyk if Fury wins. If he loses, it will be longer.

3. Deontay Wilder versus Joshua

Why I want to see it: Two of the biggest punchers in heavyweight history? Yes, please.

Chances it occurs in 12 months: 15-1.

Wilder and Joshua orbited each other for years, but when Joshua was the champion and had the juice due to his huge British fan base, he was in no rush to make it happen. Now it’s a fight he’d love to get. There aren’t any major obstacles, although on TV it’s a PBC vs. DAZN thing that could get tricky.

4. Joshua versus Joe Joyce

Why I want to see it: This would be sort of a mini Wilder Joshua match and a mini Fury Joshua match combined. Joyce can hit despite not being the fastest guy out there. And they’re both from the UK with rabid fan bases. It was going to be a fun, rockin’, socky fight.

Chances it occurs in 12 months: 50-1.

comment: Joyce doesn’t have the profile and there are other options for Joshua so I think that’s very unlikely as much as I’d like to see it.

5. savage verus Joyce

Why I want to see it: Another bomb battle between two mighty heavyweights. You have to think someone will be blown away here. Wilder has the Speed/Quickness advantage, but if he gets hit in the chin by Joyce, watch out.

Chances it occurs in 12 months: 25-1.

Wilder wants big fights and that would be a big one, although again Joyce doesn’t have Wilder’s profile. Not as difficult to put together as Joshua-Joyce, but Wilder will look for bigger names first.

The child’s play

There are so many great non-heavyweight fights to put together. These next few seem to be the ones that are obvious to everyone.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 18: Artur Beterbiev celebrates after defeating Joe Smith Jr. during their light heavyweight title fight at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on June 18, 2022 in New York City.  The fight was stopped in the second round.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Unified light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev (L) is a great brawler and a fight with super boxer Dmitry Bivol would be of great importance to the sport. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

6. Artur BeterbiewIBF WBC WBO Champion versus Dmitry BivolWBA champion

division: Light heavyweight.

Why I want to see it: It would produce an undisputed champion. More than that, it’s the prototypical boxer vs. thug match. Beterbiev is a big knockout puncher and Bivol is an exceptional boxer. Both are close to making the pound-for-pound top 10.

Chances it occurs in 12 months: 10-1.

It’s no slam dunk, and if Canelo Alvarez makes a lucrative offer to Bivol to fight for the undisputed super middleweight title, that could be a problem. But Bivol made it clear he’s a light heavyweight after his win over Gilberto Ramirez on Saturday, saying legacy is more important than money. There are no obvious obstacles, although Beterbiev has a defense ahead of him against Anthony Yarde (yawn!).

7. Terence CrawfordWBO Champion, versus Errol Spence JrIBF WBA WBC Champion

division: Welterweight.

Why I want to see it: This might be the best fight you could put together in boxing. They are two of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport, both unbeaten and both in their prime. This could be a fight for eternity.

Chances it occurs in 12 months: 20-1.

The negotiations went badly from the start. The PBC recently signed Spence and Crawford to newcomer to boxing, BLK Prime. The fight is lucrative, although probably not as big PPV wise as many think. So, financial demands might be difficult to satisfy. But I think both fighters want it and when that’s the case it usually gets done despite the obstacles.

8th. Ryan Garcia versus Gervonta Davissecondary WBA champion

division: Super light.

Why I want to see it: Exceptional matchup between two young stars in their prime, both possessing speed and power. That has what it takes to be one Sort of a fight between Arguello and Pryor.

Chances it occurs in 12 months: 35-1.

Problems abound. Garcia is with Golden Boy and Oscar De La Hoya, CEO of Golden Boy, doesn’t work well with PBC’s Al Haymon. Broadcasting rights are also an issue as Showtime has Davis and DAZN Garcia. Davis may also face jail time for leaving the scene of the accident. There are many problems to overcome for such a great fight.

The rest would be junk

Those five fights I think make a lot of sense and would be fun, but they’re not the focus right now.

9. devin haney, undisputed champion, versus Shakur Stevenson

division: Easy.

Why I want to see it: They are two of the best fighters in the world with everything anyone would want to see in a fight. It’s one of the best fights you can do in boxing.

Chances it occurs in 12 months: 15-1.

Both are with Top Rank so it should be easy to do. But Haney will fight Vasiliy Lomachenko next, so who knows what will happen.

10. iSaac “Pitbull” Cruz versus Wilhelm Zepeda

division: Easy.

Why I want to see it: They are aggressive, outgoing fighters looking to establish themselves in the division. Both would try and it could be a wild fight.

Chances it occurs in 12 months: 50-1.

Cruz is with PBC. Zepeda is with Golden Boy. Haymon vs. De La Hoya. Enough said.

Japanese boxer and WBA and IBF bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Yokohama, near Tokyo on November 23, 2021.  He is praised as one of the best

A fight featuring unified bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (above) versus unified super bantamweight champion Stephen Fulton would be a huge fight in a division that doesn’t often get much attention. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

11. Naoya Inoue versus Stephen Fulton

division: super bantamweight

Why I want to see it: Best Bantamweight vs. Best Super Bantamweight? Oh yeah. Inoue is a big puncher. Fulton is a great boxer. Both have upcoming fights, but this is a fun fight that would draw a lot of attention.

Chances it occurs in 12 months: 20-1.

Inoue’s main promoter is Teiken Promotions in Japan, but the fight would take place in the US with Top Rank as Inoue’s promoter on ESPN. That would lead to a fight between ESPN and Showtime since Fulton is on PBC. But they’ve worked together before and this would be a big money fight in a weight class that doesn’t typically have big money fights.

12. Jaron Ennis versus Virgil Ortiz

division: Welterweight.

Why I want to see it: Two of the best in the world with nothing at stake but pride. It’s a mighty battle between two of the best in the world.

Chances it occurs in 12 months: 100-1

Fantastic fight in the ring but Haymon and De La Hoya are involved and unlikely without a title.

13. Teofimo Lopez versus JoshTaylorWBO Champion

division: Super light.

Why I want to see it: A former undisputed lightweight champion versus a former undisputed super lightweight champion would be a treat. Both have fights planned, but if they could fight next, that would be great.

Chances it occurs in 12 months: 15-1.

If they both win their fights, their match is a match that could be made, but more likely in the second half of 2023.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - AUGUST 13: Teofimo Lopez celebrates after defeating Pedro Campa during their NABF & WBO International Junior Welterweight Fight at Resorts World Las Vegas on August 13, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Former undisputed lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez (above) vs former undisputed super lightweight champion Josh Taylor would be a mighty fight in 2023. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

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