Boxing at the Barclay’s- Will the Standard for 2017 be Set?
By: Daxx Khan – January 9, 2017
At the end of 2016, NYSAC with their newly implemented insurance requirements, had boxing in New York at a standstill. That didn’t stop the UFC, boxing’s biggest competitor in terms of popularity. The organization, not only met NYSAC’s insurance requirements, they sold out Madison Square Garden, in record time. On January 14th at the Barclays Center, Mayweather promotions and DiBella Entertainment, join forces for the first major card of 2017. If all goes well, the event could not only reboot boxing in New York, it will set the bar, in terms of standards for 2017.
The main event between, WBC title holder Badou Jack and IBF champion James DeGale, could be the divisions most significant showdown, since boxing’s “Super Six” tournament. They are similar in age, Jack at thirty-three years and DeGale thirty, each has a slight physical advantage over the other, yet neither is enough to tip the scales in either fighter’s favor. DeGale an inch in reach and Jack an inch in height. As both seek their third world title defense, the path that brought them here is similar.
They possess four common opponents, George Groves, Lucian Bute, Marco Antonio Periban and Rogelio Medina with mixed results. The duo even won their titles, a month apart, in the same year and against a Dirrell brother. In May of 2015 James DeGale defeated Andre for the vacant IBF title, in April 2015 Badou Jack defeated Anthony for the WBC belt.
Having two world class champions, taking part in a fight of this caliber, minus an extended build-up, delays due to contract negotiations, tune ups and postponements, speaks volumes on the efforts of both promoters. The other two world title fights scheduled, hold just as much and possibly even more fan appeal.
The nights co-feature, an IBF super featherweight title showdown, between undefeated champion Jose Pedraza and undefeated challenger Gervonta Davis, is the type of bout that’s virtually unheard of these days. While the title at stake obviously holds value, what follows for both fighters win or lose, so long as they produce a quality bout, will be the real reward. As of right now, despite one holding a title belt and both being undefeated, neither fighter is a mainstream attraction. There are two other men at the weight, Vasyl Lomachenko and Francisco Vargas, who are not only mainstream names, they will be seeking opponents sooner than later. One is arguably boxing’s best fighter pound for pound, the other its most exciting. Should either Pedraza or Davis, be mentioned as possible opponents either, their careers will automatically reach new heights. Even if a fight against Lomachenko or Vargas never takes place.
Last summer at the Barclays center, Heather Hardy and Shelly Vincent, gave fans a new appreciation for female boxing. On Saturday two other ladies will step into the ring, looking to duplicate or surpass of Hardy and Vincent’s performance. In a female “Puerto Rico vs Mexico” rivalry, Amanda Serrano defends her WBO female super bantamweight title against, multi-division world champion Yazmin Rivas. These two fighters are examples, of the best in female boxing, neither have delivered a disappointing performance before and I highly doubt this weekend will be any different.
In the spring, Gennady Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs will meet in a middleweight unification bout, Saturdays showdown between, Levgen Khytrov and Immanuwel Aleem, should interest them both. They are two hard hitting undefeated middleweights, looking to claim the vacant WBC Silver middleweight title. Whoever wins between these two, is in position to face whoever comes out on top between Jacobs and Golovkin. While they might not be well known, I can assure you neither should be taken lightly.
Throw in the return, of a very popular Thomas Dulorme, a heavyweight showdown and three undefeated upstarts, next Saturday is a stacked card from top to bottom. Exactly how much quality is involved? The best way to determine, is going behind the numbers and looking a bit deeper at the eighteen fighters. In total, there are five, current or former world champions, one former world title challenger and eight of the eighteen fighters are undefeated. Their combined resumes, total 264-23-8, with 149 of those wins coming by knockout.
In 2016 boxing took a beating, with Pay-Per-View sales to enforce the opinion, next week’s card in Brooklyn could be the beginning of a bounce back year. It might even happen without Pay-Per-View.