We got some exciting fights in 2015, but this was also a noticeable year for the fights that didn’t happen. Here are the bouts promoters and networks couldn’t get done and hopefully will in 2016.
5. AMIR KHAN VS. KELL BROOK
For two elite welterweights, Amir Khan and Kell Brook didn’t do much in 2015. Khan fought once, beating Chris Algieri, and spent the rest of the year playing his usual role of bridesmaid in the Mayweather and Pacquiao sweepstakes. Brook had two outings against overmatched foes in Jo Jo Dan and Frankie Gavin.
What made this so infuriating is the two didn’t need to wait for Pacquiao or Mayweather. The realistic superfight to be made was between them. Over the last few days, reports have circulated the two rivals have started light negotiations to meet in the summer. Maybe they’ve finally smartened up.
4. SERGEY KOVALEV VS. ADONIS STEVENSON
Another year has passed without the best fight at light-heavyweight being made. The two had a brief face to face meeting ringside during November’s James DeGale-Lucian Bute card. A few weeks ago, Kovalev’s Main Event’s promoter Kathy Duva disclosed she sent a contract to Stevenson’s promoter Yvon Michel for a June bout with a 50/50 split.
Don’t hold your breath on this one happening.
3. VASYL LOMACHENKO VS. NICHOLAS WALTERS
How this fight fell apart soured me a bit on Lomachenko. Back in June, both fighters were featherweight titlists and under Top Rank, making a unification clash between two undefeated champions a no-brainer. But Walters, who hadn’t fought since October 2014, came in overweight for a his June defense against Miguel Marriaga.
Lomachenko’s team used that to declare they we no longer interested in facing Walters since he lost his title on the scales and wouldn’t entertain a catchweight. Oddly, they are still pursuing a catchweight bout against a smaller fighter in Guillermo Rigondeaux, who also has no belt in Lomachenko’s featherweight division.
Belt or no belt, Lomchenko and Walters are each other’s biggest threat. It’s a shame we’ll probably never see it.
2. KEITH THURMAN VS. SHAWN PORTER
This orchestrated staredown in a press room was the closest we got to Shawn Porter and Keith Thurman squaring off in 2015. Every week, it the proposed dates changed. First they were negotiating for a September clash. Then by the end of the year. Now February. No, scratch that, it’s possibly March. Madness!
Wake me up when the fight is signed.
1. ROMAN GONZALEZ VS. JUAN FRANCISCO ESTRADA II
Can we get a return bout between two of the top Pound 4 Pound fighters in the world? In 2012, the two fought a highly competitive bout which Gonzalez took by unanimous decision. There is a minority of observers who believe Estrada should have won. Even more intriguing is both men have improved tremendously since that fight (especially Estrada).
In October, Gonzalez went on record stating he wanted at least $1 million for the Estrada rematch. Skill-wise, it’s worth that and then some. But let’s keep our fingers crossed that both men are realistic in their actual market value and make this superfight happen in 2016.