Boxing — Dan Rafael’s wish list for 2018


The new year is upon us, so here is what I want to see in boxing in 2018:

• Anthony Joshua vs. Deontay Wilder. Obviously.

• Gennady Golovkin vs. Canelo Alvarez II, May 5 in Las Vegas. And for somebody to score a KO so we don’t have to rely on the pitiful judges who got it so wrong last time.

• No more boxers vs. MMA fighters. Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor was more than enough.

• A real challenge for the brilliant Vasiliy Lomachenko.

• Mikey Garcia vs. Jorge Linares at lightweight.

• A return to form for Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez.

• Fights between the best fighters from the Top Rank, Golden Boy and Premier Boxing Champions stables. Make some trades if necessary but stop depriving the fans of many of the best fights.

• For Keith “One Time” Thurman to fight at least two times a year for a change and to fight Errol Spence Jr. sooner rather than later.

• A big fight for Terence Crawford at welterweight.

• For a major American TV network to buy the semifinals and finals of the cruiserweight and super middleweight World Boxing Super Series tournaments.

• For Roc Nation Sports to do the right thing for a change and help its injured fighter, Daniel Franco, with his massive medical bills.

• I say this every year: A presidential pardon for Jack Johnson.

• No more ducking.

• It’s past its expiration date, but Kell Brook vs. Amir Khan. Where else can they make a big fight and big money at this point?

• The green card for Raymundo Beltran that he so desperately wants and deserves.

• For the Feb. 24 Srisaket Sor Rungvisai-Juan Francisco Estrada fight to be as good as I think it can be.

• Oscar Valdez vs. Carl Frampton in the fall.

• Billy Joe Saunders vs. Daniel Jacobs with the winner guaranteed the next fight against the GGG-Canelo II winner.

• A Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez-David Benavidez super middleweight unification fight. There’s no chance it would be anything less than excellent.

• Ditto for a Jermell Charlo-Jarrett Hurd unification fight at junior middleweight.

• More title unification fights.

• Fewer interim titles.

• No more WBA, which should be disbanded after years as an embarrassment to boxing.

• For Tyson Fury to do more fighting in the ring than on Twitter.

• A regular U.S. television outlet for overseas fights.

• For fighters to stop missing weight.

• Success for Evander Holyfield’s promotional company.

• An overhaul of the International Boxing Hall of Fame election system so that fighters are elected with 75 percent of the vote rather than the top three vote-getters automatically being elected each year.

• For Regis Prograis to get a title shot.

• For Gervonta Davis to grow up and fulfill his considerable potential.

• For most of Al Haymon’s fighters to be more active.

• A Francisco Vargas-Orlando Salido rematch.

• For one of the major sports card companies to produce a set of boxing trading cards.

• For Erickson Lubin to rebound.

• The continued development of exciting prospects Ryan Garcia, Teofimo Lopez Jr., Jon Fernandez, Vergil Ortiz Jr., Shakur Stevenson and Michael Conlan, among others.

• Every major fight to have random drug testing conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association.

• An automatic two-year ban for drug cheats.

• Zolani Tete to defend his bantamweight title against Naoya Inoue.

• For the U.K.’s BoxNation channel to be available in the United States.

• A new batch of “Legendary Nights” episodes on HBO. Start with an episode on the Bernard Hopkins-Felix Trinidad fight.

• For sanctioning body division rankings to be based in reality.

• Standardized medical requirements for getting a boxing license. It shouldn’t be easier to be licensed in Arkansas than it is in California or harder to be licensed in Nevada than it is in Tennessee.

• A four-man light heavyweight tournament with Adonis Stevenson, Sergey Kovalev, Dmitry Bivol and Artur Beterbiev.

• A four-man heavyweight tournament featuring Alexander Povetkin, Luis Ortiz, Lucas Browne and Shannon Briggs in which PEDs are allowed!

• Happy retirement for Wladimir Klitschko, Andre Ward, Miguel Cotto, Timothy Bradley Jr., Shane Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez and Robert Guerrero, all of whom called it a career in 2017.

• For Roy Jones Jr. to join them in retirement.

• Retirement for judge Adalaide Byrd as well and the rest of the judges who turned in unacceptable scorecards that did not reflect the fight they were being paid to score.

• For the once-great boxing city of Atlantic City to have big fights again.

• For Fight Freaks everywhere, great fights all year long.

• And, as usual, for peace on Earth, but not inside the ring.

Happy New Year.

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