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Jake Paul celebrates after winning his boxing pro debut on Jan. 30, 2020. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)
January 5th, 2022
Boxing had a great year in 2021, and 2022 is already rife with intriguing storylines that are set to play out in the ring. Let's examine the five biggest burning questions in the fight game.
After becoming the undisputed champion at super middleweight, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez’s next move is anyone’s guess. Talks of a potential jump to cruiserweight to face limited champion Ilunga Makabu started after his win over Caleb Plant, but so has the possibility of a return to light heavyweight. It isn’t out of the question that Alvarez could topple each of the champions there and make a run to unify in another division. What is becoming increasingly unlikely is Alvarez facing off against his biggest threat, David Benavidez, for the time being.
Boxing’s biggest fight at the moment is Spence vs. Crawford, a fight that has been marinating for way too long, thanks in part to Crawford’s ties with promoter Bob Arum. Following Crawford’s 10th round TKO stoppage of Shawn Porter, it was revealed that Crawford is now a free agent and is gunning for Spence.
Spence has been out of the ring since beating Danny Garcia in December 2020, but is set to face off against Yordenis Ugas in the spring. If Spence gets past Ugas, the stage will be set for these two to meet by year’s end.
Fury closed the book on his rivalry with Deontay Wilder courtesy of a right hand that could have killed a rhino, cementing his status as the main man at heavyweight. Following Oleksandr Usyk’s upset of Anthony Joshua, it does look like Fury will reign unchallenged in the year ahead. Should Usyk defeat Joshua in their upcoming rematch, he might be the only real threat to Fury’s reign.
The YouTuber remains a hot button topic in boxing, but he’s going into 2022 needing to make up some lost ground after his pay-per-view rematch with Tyron Woodley reportedly sold a pathetic 65,000 buys.
All signs indicate that Paul is only pushing forward in the sport, allegedly courting former middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. for a "freak vs. freak" fight that will undoubtedly dominate the news cycle.
2021 was highlighted by multiple upsets that ranged from shocking to unbelievable, but no two disrupted the business more than Anthony Johsua’s loss to Oleksandr Usyk and George Kambosos Jr.’s win over Teofimo Lopez. Joshua and Lopez saw their value diminish overnight, and the nature of their defeats suggests that they will have a lot of work to do to get back on track. Joshua will face Usyk again in the coming months, and Lopez will move up in weight to test the waters at junior welterweight. Either way, things aren’t looking good for either fighter in 2022.
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