The terrific battle super super-middleweights James DeGale and Badou Jack put on last night in New York may have exceeded expectations. Fans expected a good fight, but they arguably got a great one. The drawn verdict aside – a draw rarely pleases in boxing – we want to see more of what we were privileged to have seen last night.
And the way 2017 is shaping up, with a number of potentially great match-ups already confirmed and others likely to be announced over the coming months, fight fans might just get one of the best years in a long time.
The Keith Thurman-Danny Garcia clash set for March, like last night’s fight, a unification showdown, has can’t-miss written all over it (could this one also end up being a draw!), as does the recently announced Canelo Alvarez-Julio Cesar Chavez Battle of Mexico (a catch-weight fight no-one is too unhappy about).
Gennady Golovkin is set, according to plenty of good judges, for the toughest test of his pro career against Danny Jacobs, also in March, and Jacobs is surely one of the most live and dangerous 8/1 underdogs you could care to mention. This fight too has fireworks all but guaranteed.
At heavyweight we have Anthony Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko and David Haye-Tony Bellew; while we might also get Deontay Wilder-Joseph Parker, the winner of that one against the Klitschko-Joshua winner, Luis Ortiz-Jarrell Miller, Dereck Chisora-Dillian Whyte II (surely the right result for the December 10 epic would have been a draw?) and the return of Tyson Fury as well as Hughie Fury getting a title shot.
Vasyl Lomachenko promises to dazzle us in his 2017 outings, as do Terence Crawford, Oleksandr Usyk, Artur Beterbiev and new champ/star Gervonta Davis, amongst others. A week on Saturday we could get another classic from Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz, the February showdown between Miguel Cotto and James Kirkland might prove far better and more evenly fought than most expect, while the big one we all want, in GGG-Canelo, could finish the summer in grand style.
Jack and DeGale set the standard last night, and it’s now up to the other stars and rising stars to follow suit. If they do, the fans will be the real winners – even if we do get another big-fight draw or two this year.