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Bad Left Hook’s boxing March Mania: A fantasy tournament in a time of too much reality

17 divisions. Eight fighters per division. You make the call.

With all the cancellations and the fact that boxing is looking pretty much barren through at least April (fingers crossed!), we’re going to be trying to give you some different ways to discuss the sport and stay engaged.

Another sports casualty of the COVID-19 outbreak was the NCAA’s March Madness basketball tournaments. So 1+1 = a fantasy boxing tournament. And you’ll be voting on who wins the whole shebang(s).

Welcome to our version of Selection Sunday. I mean, it’s Tuesday, but folks are gettin’ bored out here.

All 17 weight classes, eight fighters per division, seeded by the latest Bad Left Hook rankings. I realize my rankings are not what everyone would agree on, but the NCAA tournament brackets are never what everyone would agree on, either. Nobody’s rankings are what everyone would agree on. I did consider expanding it to 16 fighters per division, but you might be surprised how terribly thin a lot of divisions get after the top 10 at best.

A few notes on placement of fighters:

Canelo Alvarez v Sergey Kovalev Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images
  • I decided that anyone who has a world title (WBC, IBF, WBO, and whatever the top awarded WBA title is in a division, be it super world or world), no matter how “paper” any of us might consider it, gets an automatic in, like winning a conference tournament in college basketball. This only played into one division as far as knocking someone out who would have been in otherwise. At junior middleweight, WBO titleholder Patrick Teixeira is currently ranked No. 10 but gets the eight seed here instead of Michel Soro. A tough break for an imaginary version of Michel Soro.
  • I currently have Canelo Alvarez ranked at both super middleweight (3) and middleweight (1). All appearances are that Alvarez will be fighting at super middleweight from now on, so I decided to put him in the super middleweight field instead of middleweight. Considering his last fight was at 175, where he’s not going to be fighting any time soon, it wasn’t like I could just go by his last fight on the choice.
  • Fighters we know are intending to move up in weight (Kosei Tanaka, Kal Yafai, Charlie Edwards, Isaac Dogboe, etc.) are seeded at the weight they’re ranked at now, with a lone exception: Luis Nery. In Nery’s case, I decided to take him out of the bantamweight field, where he would have been the two-seed. I then imagined where I’d have ranked him at junior featherweight had he beaten Aaron Alameda as expected on Mar. 28. I probably would’ve had him No. 6. And then I decided to just leave Nery out, because I’m not the WBC and I don’t have to be nice to him.

The voting schedule:

  • First round (heavyweight, 175, 160, 147, 135, 126, 118, 112, 105) - Thursday, Mar. 19
  • First round (cruiserweight, 168, 154, 140, 130, 122, 115, 108) - Friday, Mar. 20
  • Semifinals (heavyweight, 175, 160, 147, 135, 126, 118, 112, 105) - Monday, Mar. 23
  • Semifinals (cruiserweight, 168, 154, 140, 130, 122, 115, 108) - Tuesday, Mar. 24
  • Finals (all divisions) - Friday, Mar. 27

Voting for every set of matchups will be open for exactly two days, from Noon ET on the voting day until Noon ET two days later. Results posts will come in the afternoon or evening of those days. So, for example, the first round matchups that open on Mar. 19, results will be posted in the afternoon or evening on Mar. 21. The exception will be the final fights, which we’ll give from Friday, Mar. 27 at Noon ET until Monday, Mar. 30 at Noon ET. The final results post will come in the afternoon or evening on Monday, Mar. 30.

The idea behind how to vote:

Obviously I can’t make you vote any which way, but the idea is to assume everyone is in their best condition, nobody struggled to make weight, nobody’s out of shape, nobody’s got any injuries. Imagine everyone being the best fighters they can be as of right now, whatever that means to you.

The first round matchups:


Deontay Wilder v Tyson Fury Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images
  • (1) Tyson Fury vs (8) Kubrat Pulev
  • (4) Andy Ruiz Jr vs (5) Dillian Whyte
  • (3) Deontay Wilder vs (6) Luis Ortiz
  • (2) Anthony Joshua vs (7) Alexander Povetkin


  • (1) Mairis Briedis vs (8) Lawrence Okolie
  • (4) Ilunga Makabu vs (5) Kevin Lerena
  • (3) Krzysztof Glowacki vs (6) Noel Mikaelian
  • (2) Yuniel Dorticos vs (7) Arsen Goulamirian

Light Heavyweight

  • (1) Artur Beterbiev vs (8) Badou Jack
  • (4) Sergey Kovalev vs (5) Eleider Alvarez
  • (3) Oleksandr Gvozdyk vs (6) Jean Pascal
  • (2) Dmitry Bivol vs (7) Marcus Browne

Super Middleweight

  • (1) Callum Smith vs (8) Anthony Dirrell
  • (4) Caleb Plant vs (5) Billy Joe Saunders
  • (3) Canelo Alvarez vs (6) John Ryder
  • (2) David Benavidez vs (7) Daniel Jacobs


Gennady Golovkin v Sergiy Derevyanchenko Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images
  • (1) Gennadiy Golovkin vs (8) Matt Korobov
  • (4) Jermall Charlo vs (5) Ryota Murata
  • (3) Sergiy Derevyanchenko vs (6) Rob Brant
  • (2) Demetrius Andrade vs (7) Chris Eubank Jr

Junior Middleweight

  • (1) Jermell Charlo vs (8) Patrick Teixeira
  • (4) Jarrett Hurd vs (5) Erislandy Lara
  • (3) Julian Williams vs (6) Brian Castano
  • (2) Jeison Rosario vs (7) Tony Harrison


  • (1) Errol Spence Jr vs (8) Sergey Lipinets
  • (4) Shawn Porter vs (5) Keith Thurman
  • (3) Manny Pacquiao vs (6) Danny Garcia
  • (2) Terence Crawford vs (7) Yordenis Ugas

Junior Welterweight

  • (1) Josh Taylor vs (8) Eduard Troyanovsky
  • (4) Maurice Hooker vs (5) Ivan Baranchyk
  • (3) Regis Prograis vs (6) Viktor Postol
  • (2) Jose Ramirez vs (7) Kiryl Relikh


Vasiliy Lomachenko v Luke Campbell - WBC, WBA, WBO and Ring Magazine Lightweight World Title Fight Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
  • (1) Vasiliy Lomachenko vs (8) Javier Fortuna
  • (4) Luke Campbell vs (5) Richard Commey
  • (3) Devin Haney vs (6) Gervonta Davis
  • (2) Teofimo Lopez vs (7) Jorge Linares

Junior Lightweight

  • (1) Miguel Berchelt vs (8) Rene Alvarado
  • (4) Joseph Diaz Jr vs (5) Oscar Valdez
  • (3) Jamel Herring vs (6) Tevin Farmer
  • (2) Leo Santa Cruz vs (7) Carl Frampton


  • (1) Josh Warrington vs (8) Mark Magsayo
  • (4) Kid Galahad vs (5) Xu Can
  • (3) Shakur Stevenson vs (6) Tugstsogt Nyambayar
  • (2) Gary Russell Jr vs (7) Jessie Magdaleno

Junior Featherweight

  • (1) Rey Vargas vs (8) Brandon Figueroa
  • (4) Daniel Roman vs (5) Ryosuke Iwasa
  • (3) Murodjon Akhmadaliev vs (6) Isaac Dogboe
  • (2) Emanuel Navarrete vs (7) Stephen Fulton Jr


Naoya Inoue v Nonito Donaire - WBSS Bantamweight Final Photo by Toru Hanai/Getty Images
  • (1) Naoya Inoue vs (8) Zolani Tete
  • (4) John Riel Casimero vs (5) Guillermo Rigondeaux
  • (3) Nonito Donaire vs (6) Emmanuel Rodriguez
  • (2) Nordine Oubaali vs (7) Jason Moloney

Junior Bantamweight

  • (1) Juan Francisco Estrada vs (8) Francisco Rodriguez Jr
  • (4) Kazuto Ioka vs (5) Jerwin Ancajas
  • (3) Roman Gonzalez vs (6) Andrew Moloney
  • (2) Srisaket Sor Rungvisai vs (7) Kal Yafai


  • (1) Kosei Tanaka vs (8) Jay Harris
  • (4) Artem Dalakian vs (5) Charlie Edwards
  • (3) Moruti Mthalane vs (6) Angel Acosta
  • (2) Julio Cesar Martinez vs (7) Andrew Selby

Junior Flyweight

  • (1) Kenshiro Teraji vs (8) Tetsuya Hisada
  • (4) Felix Alvarado vs (5) Elwin Soto
  • (3) Carlos Canizales vs (6) Sho Kimura
  • (2) Hiroto Kyoguchi vs (7) Edward Heno


  • (1) Wanheng Menayothin vs (8) Vic Saludar
  • (4) Wilfredo Mendez vs (5) Pedro Taduran
  • (3) Jose Argumedo vs (6) Simpiwe Konkco
  • (2) Knockout CP Freshmart vs (7) Byron Rojas

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