The way the boxing schedule petered out down the stretch of 2022, combined with fights that weren’t made to close the year, has everyone who follows the sport in a bit of a funk.
The first half of the year was much better than many remember it, but once we got to the dog days of summer, the sport hit a dry patch. Maybe we’ve been spoiled the last chunk of years by the way boxing has closed with a banging schedule that had something to do with it. On boxing Twitter and across the YouTube/Podcasting boxing world, it’s been mostly doom and gloom. It also didn’t help that in 2022; we got bombarded with pay-per-views one after another. Making matters worse, several of those main events didn’t pass the eye test as it pertains to quality.
The string of PPVs won’t slow down all that much, but it does appear we will get more Gervonta Davis vs. Ryan Garcia and Deontay Wilder vs. Andy Ruiz topping the cards rather than Keith Thurman vs. Mario Barrios or Tyson Fury vs. Dillian Whyte among a few others not quite worth it. Currently, deep in the winter months makes it difficult to produce hype or anticipation for boxing events, with the Super Bowl being just around the corner. However, boxing fans and the media wake up from your hibernation because the spring schedule has sprung with more to come in the way on intriguing and meaningful matchups, mixed with some can’t-miss scraps. Let’s start with February, which is under the radar but full of interesting bouts.
This Saturday, streaming lives on DAZN, Amanda Serrano and Alycia Baumgardner return in separate undisputed bouts, along with a solid step-up fight for Arnold Barboza Jr. facing off against veteran Jose Pedraza as the co-feature on ESPN Friday. PBC/Showtime and Matchroom/DAZN will announce in the coming weeks as many bouts have been teased as part of a schedule drop. I won’t keep mentioning the broadcasters or promoters at this point, but here’s a list of fights in somewhat order by date, not importance, that have this boxing hardcore very excited.
-Rey Vargas vs. O’Shaquie Foster
-Leiner Pero vs. Viktor Vykhryst
-Luis Nery vs. Azat Hovhannisyan
-Leigh Wood vs. Mauricio Lara
-Subriel Matias vs. Jermias Ponce
-Elvis Rodriguez vs. Joseph Odorno
-Mark Magsayo vs. Brandon Figueroa
-Tim Tszyu vs. Tony Harrison
-Lawrence Okolie vs. David Light
-Evelin Bermudez vs. Tania Enriquez
-Christian Mbilli vs. Carlos Gongora
-David Benavidez vs. Caleb Plant
-Jesus Ramos vs. Joey Spencer
-Seniesa Estrada vs. Tina Rupprecht
-Robeisy Ramirez vs. Isaac Dogboe
-Shakur Stevenson vs. Shuichiro Yoshino
-Jessie Rodriguez vs. Cristian Gonzalez
-Joe Joyce vs. Zhilei Zhang
-Gervonta Davis vs. Ryan Garcia
-Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov vs. Joe Cordina
-Vergil Ortiz vs. Eimantas Stanionis
-Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk
Before you say it (probably already said it aloud), I’m fully aware several fights didn’t make the list, or the exact date hasn’t been announced on a few. This list is simply an example of a pretty damn good string of fights coming our way. The rest of the 2nd quarter has plenty of potential with Devin Haney vs. Vasiliy Lomachenko, Naoya Inoue vs. Stephen Fulton, Deontay Wilder vs. Andy Ruiz, and Errol Spence vs. Keith Thurman. Depending on this weekend’s results Katie Taylor vs. Amanda Serrano 2, Emanuel Navarrete vs. Oscar Valdez, and lots of other scraps on the undercards or yet to be rumored.
Like everyone else, I want to see Spence/Crawford or Beterbiev/Bivol, but let’s be fair about it; this year is looking really good so far. Hopefully, boxing doesn’t take a nose dive to close the year in the last few months as it did in 2022. My fellow boxing degenerates, here’s hoping for an eventful and entertaining 2023 boxing year.
Written by Chris Carlson, Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio