I’ll start off by wishing you all a warm welcome into the New Year.
Following on from a year of unprecedented grandeur in 2015, this year already has a lot to live up to. With history making contests of the magnitude of Mayweather Pacquiao, a Las Vegas show down between Cotto and Canelo tantalising our big fight senses and Gennady Golovkin continuing on his sheer demolition of the 160 pound division, last year gave us a certain amount to be thankful for.
Naoya Inoue made a triumphant and spectacular return on December 30, with a two round blowout against Warlito Parrenas; one can only hope the talented junior bantamweight title holder can kick on into bigger fights in 2016, possibly against pound-for-pound Phenom Roman Gonzalez or possible unification fights with any of Cuadras, Kono or Arroyo.
Keeping the subject, well…light, I was pleased to see Akira Yaegashi gain a portion of the junior flyweight world title on the same card, at 32, you would have to think his days are numbered. Many assumed the now three weight world champion was on borrowed time after being narrowly beaten by 9-0, Kazuto Ioka back in 2012 – well we all know what they say about assumptions!
I was privileged enough to be ringside in Manchester for a fantastic card headlined by Billy Joe Saunders’ successful tilt at the WBO middleweight title against Andy Lee just before Christmas; we were treated to a great night of action, the card itself had it all.
On the subject of Billy Joe, I think it’s right what we’re seeing and hearing from the Hatfield man at present. Saunders has made it clear to one-and-all that he will fight any other man on the planet weighing in at middleweight. He’d be entering into a fight with highly rated Golovkin at long odds against, so is well within his right to demand as much as possible from any purse attached to the contest.
Amounts of $6 million seem a little bit far-fetched, but the high-balling figures will likely buy Saunders enough time to acclimatise to this championship, and possibly rack up a couple of defences before a huge fight where all will likely be on the line later in the year.
Remember, if Saunders can hold off the advances from GGG and his team, Golovkin will be mandated to fight Canelo Alvarez post May 31. Should GGG or even Canelo emerge victorious from that fight, purses backed by HBO will likely be higher, all four world titles would be on the line and Saunders could potentially unify for all the baubles in one hit in late 2016. Whether the winner is Golovkin or Canelo, that man will be an absolutely huge pay-per-view star Stateside. Can you smell money? I smell money.
Will Amir Khan fight at all in 2016? Fighters normally have a long list of people to point their accusing finger at should they be subjected to a long spell on the side lines. Amir Khan needn’t. He should curl that index finger firmly back at himself – and rightly so.
After employing failed attempts to woo both Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao into the ring over the past two years, the Bolton man is at risk of ruining his own career. Whilst double world titles at super lightweight is commendable, the growing concern is that Khan will likely never scale those heights again if his part-time boxing career continues.
“Take the fight with Kell Brook”, I hear the public scream, and I can’t help but agree with them. Take the fight, take the chance at a world title, take the big money, just don’t take any more time out of your career in a wasteful pursuit of some greater good.
I’d hate to see Amir Khan fade off into irrelevance in the UK, but it’s looking increasingly likely with every month which passes by.
Gary Mushrow is InstantBoxing.com’s Editor, follow his weekly Monday column here, or check out his tweets online @Gary9690.