If we lived in an ideal world, we would get both super-fights in 2021: Tyson Fury Vs. Anthony Joshua and Errol Spence Vs. Terence Crawford. One fight would be for all the heavyweight marbles. One fight would be the biggest, most important welterweight showdown since the epic Sugar Ray Leonard-Thomas Hearns battle of 1981. But as we fight fans know only too well, we do not live in an ideal world. Heck, we might not even get to see either fight next year (although from what Eddie Hearn has been saying, the all-British heavyweight collision could happen in May or June).
But if you, a hardcore boxing fan, could click his or her fingers and turn just one of these two absolute super-fights into reality, which would it be? It’s a tough one, no doubt. For as much as the heavyweights still capture our collective imagination like no other fighters, and as such a Fury-Joshua fight is one almost everyone is talking about, the sheer class that would be on display in a 147 pound showdown between Crawford and Spence, along with the fact that the two best of their generation at the weight would be going at it, cannot in any way be looked at as a small thing.
Both fights, AJ-Fury and Spence-Crawford, are pretty much 50/50 affairs or pick ’em fights. And both fights would almost certainly deliver in terms of action, excitement and, more so in the case of the welterweight clash, boxing brilliance. Fury is undefeated whereas Joshua has lost one fight, which he quickly avenged. Fury is the lineal champion as well as the WBC boss, while Joshua holds three major belts with the WBA/IBF and WBO. Both men are hugely popular and both men have an absolute army of supporters who insist their hero will win if and when they fight.
Spence and Crawford are both unbeaten and together they hold three welterweight titles. Here too, there is an army of fans on both sides. Quite worryingly though, is the fact that neither 147 pounder has appeared as bothered about having the fight we are all so desperate to see; with Spence saying he may move up in weight, and with Crawford saying he doesn’t need the fight for his legacy. In this regard, the heavyweight fight looks more likely, as both men are at least actively calling for it.
What a year it would be if we did get both mega-fights in 2021, but from the time of writing it does look as though the heavyweight fight is more realistic. If Fury-Joshua does happen, the casuals will be tuning in and everyone, from the guy in the bar/pub to the cab driver, to the man in the street, will be talking with authority about the sport we have been following with passion for many a year. And this will be a good thing – the more attention brought to the finest sport in the world the better.
But for plenty of other fans, those who fully understand how good, how special Spence and Crawford are, there will be one big thing missing in 2021 if the most evenly matched welterweight rivalry of the last four years is not settled.
Ask yourself, if YOU could watch just one of these two fights next year – Fury-Joshua or Crawford-Spence – which would you pick?