2017 has been a huge year so far in the world of boxing, where there have been a number of memorable bouts that will be remembered for many years to come. Back in May, Anthony Joshua defended his world heavyweight title in front of 80,000 people at Wembley Stadium, Errol Spence Jr defeated Kell Brook in the welterweight division in Sheffield, while Danny Jacobs almost pulled off a huge win against Gennady Golovkin in Madison Square Garden, New York.
Here is a look at three huge fights we still have to look forward to this summer on both sides of the Atlantic.
Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor
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Boxing meets the UFC when two of the biggest names in their respective sports clash at the T-Mobile Arena on August 26. Floyd Mayweather has been retired since he beat Andre Berto in September 2015 where he claimed his 49th professional victory, but has been tempted to make a return to take on Conor McGregor in what is set to be a hugely lucrative contest for both men.
Money is a five-weight world champion and considered one of the greatest the sport has ever seen. Whatever happens against the Irishman, it is unlikely to make or break his legacy. He has had wins against some of the biggest names of the last two decades including Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Shane Moseley and Manny Pacquaio.
With very little experience under his belt in a boxing ring, the bookmakers have made McGregor a big outsider for the fight, with Oddschecker finding best odds of 11/2 for him to beat Mayweather. Despite the betting, McGregor has been backed by many UFC punters who feel the Irishman will be too quick against his 40-year-old opponent.
McGregor made his debut in the welterweight division in UFC in March 2016 where he lost to Nate Diaz by submission. He gained revenge for that loss later that year as he received the majority decision following five tough rounds with the American fighter. The last time McGregor fought in the Octagon was last November where he beat Eddie Alvarez by TKO.
McGregor has been involved in a 12-week training programme for this fight and has been trying to transfer his skills in MMA to boxing. If he is able to shock Mayweather, it is likely to send shockwaves around the boxing world and could inspire more UFC fighters to have a go at the sport against the biggest names.
Gennady Golovkin vs. Saul Alvarez
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Golovkin and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez are considered the two best middleweights in boxing today and a clash between the two men has been discussed for a number of years now. The two boxers finally agreed to meet each other earlier in 2017 with the winner taking the first step towards unifying the division.
Triple G is unbeaten in 37 fights and will be defending his WBA (Super), WBC and IBF titles on the night in Las Vegas. In 2016 he had wins over Dominic Wade and Kell Brook, while earlier this year he defeated Jacobs on points in what was arguably Golovkin’s toughest test to date.
The man from Kazakhstan has stopped 33 of his 37 opponents so far in his career as the majority of them have been unable to handle his power in the middleweight division. Jacobs ended Triple G’s record of 23 consecutive victories by KO or TKO when he took him to 12 rounds back in March.
Canelo goes into this fight with Golovkin with just the one defeat next to his name, a loss came against Mayweather back in 2013. Since then he has won seven straight fights and claimed world titles in the middleweight and light-middleweight divisions.
In 2015, the Mexican won the WBC middleweight belt against Miguel Cotto. He then defended his title against Amir Khan where he knocked out the British boxer in the sixth round. At the back end of 2016, Canelo dropped down to the light-middleweight division to face Liam Smith for the WBO crown. Once again, it was Alvarez who was too powerful and he ended the fight in the ninth round.
The bookmakers make Golovkin the marginal favourite at 7/10, while Canelo is 6/5 to inflict the first defeat on the Kazakhstan boxer’s career. If there is very little between the two men on the night in Vegas, they could do it all over again early in 2018, while a trilogy has already been discussed before they have even met in the ring.
Joseph Parker vs. Hughie Fury
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Joseph Parker is set to defend his WBO world title against Hughie Fury in Manchester on September 23, where if the New Zealand-born champion comes through the test against Tyson Fury’s cousin, he could set up a clash with Anthony Joshua in a unification contest later in 2017.
Parker is unbeaten in 23 fights and became New Zealand’s first heavyweight world champion when he defeated Andy Ruiz last December. He was set to meet Fury earlier this year, but the British boxer was forced to pull out of the fight due to an injury, so Razvan Cojanu stepped in but ultimately lost on points to the champion.
The WBO title holder is the youngest of the three world champions in the heavyweight division. Both Joshua and Deontay Wilder will be keen to make a fight with Parker if he comes through this latest test.
Parker has won by either KO or TKO against 18 of his 23 opponents during his professional career. He stopped Germany’s Alexander Dimitrenko in the third round last October, while two months earlier, he impressed against Solomon Haumono, winning the contest by TKO in the fourth round.
This fight is a big opportunity for Fury to step out of his cousin’s shadows and prove that he is also a world-class boxer. The 22-year-old has had health problems which have slowed down his progress in the division. A victory over Parker would help put all that behind him.
Fury earned a shot at the WBO title when he beat Fred Kassi last year. In his most recent fight, he took on Kamil Sokolowski in an exhibition contest at the Copper Box Arena in London to warm up for Parker.
Parker is rated as the 4/6 favourite to win this intriguing contest, while Fury can be backed at 6/5. In the method of victory market, Parker is 6/5 to win on points and 13/5 to do so by stoppage.
Keep an eye out for all the boxing news over the next few weeks as even more big fights could be set for 2017 including a Joshua-Klitschko rematch, a potential Tony Bellew clash with either Andre Ward or David Haye, while Pacquaio could face Khan in the Middle East in December.