Editor’s Note: This is part two in a four-part series. For part one, click here!
(G) is for GERVONTA DAVIS
Tank Davis is a star – there can be no denying this. He ticks most boxes, grabs sell-out attention and, as he fervently believes himself, is approaching his peak.
But Davis is 28 years old and the hunger for a career-defining fight is still burning. Ryan Garcia should be his dance partner this term and, if he isn’t, then we can point our fingers in all the normal directions.
Davis himself is under pressure to stay out of the headlines for the wrong reasons. If he can, the next level of stardom awaits.
(H) is for HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BOB ARUM!
Bob Arum will celebrate his 92nd birthday at the end of this year and the Top Rank CEO is still knee deep in the sport that has defined his life since the early 1960s.
Whatever your opinions on the brash New Yorker, Arum’s longevity in a sport that is well documented to taking years off the lives of those involved, is nothing short of remarkable.
He’ll be heavily involved in the potential Oleksandr Usyk vs Tyson Fury showdown if it materialises this year, underlining the unwaning of his promotional powers.
(I) is for IGNORING ALPHABET TITLES
I understand the hypocrisy of following on from a segment discussing a potential four-belt undisputed heavyweight fight, but 2023 needs to be the year where we further dissolve the power that the sanctioning bodies have in the sport.
The WBC, IBF, WBO and WBA play by their own rules, all claiming to throw sixes each time by manipulating rankings to maximise profit.
I get it – every boxer dreams of becoming a ‘world champion’, but as these accolades are slowly diluted by the growth of secondary titles, extra weight classes and bodged rankings, then maybe it’s time for fighters to aim higher.
Independant ranking systems – like the Transnational Boxing Rankings or even ours at Bad Left Hook – help us navigate the constant minefield of ‘success’ and should be used to explain to casual fans when they are hoodwinked by the allure of a fake world title fight.
(J) is for JAKE PAUL’S CEILING
I’m not a paid up member of the Jake Paul fan club, but I certainly won’t be sending letters to the local council for it to be shut down.
The Youtuber-cum-boxer has made a positive impact on the women’s side of the sport as a promoter and continues to dip his toe in the professional game himself.
I am genuinely intrigued how far he can go in the sport as a fighter. As boxing fans we have been groomed into believing that a fighter has to have grown up the hard way, in poverty, and found the sport as a means of survival.
But what if a multi-millionaire, with unlimited resources and access to facilities dedicates himself to the craft? The Tommy Fury debacle has slowed down his progress, but that remains a fight I would be interested – okay, more curious – in seeing.
I am still convinced that I have paid good money to see worse boxers than Jake Paul over my years of attending cards.
(K) is for KNOCKING ON THE DOOR
A couple of years have gone since the 2021 Olympics, meaning that the cycle of talent on show in Tokyo will be edging towards bigger opportunities in the pro game.
Of course, some are moved quicker than others. Galal Yafai, Ben Whittaker and Frazer Clarke (from Great Britain) are 9-0 combined as professionals and all look like making a mark on their chosen divisions.
Adam Azim didn’t feature in Japan, but won my PROSPECT OF THE YEAR title in 2022 and is one to keep close tabs on – alongside Caroline Dubois, Azim will take on Santos Reyes in the headline fight at Wembley Arena on 11 February.
Keyshawn Davis, Duke Ragan and Richard Torres are also unbeaten and gaining different levels of attention.
(L) is for LIES, LIES, LIES
Boxing seems to be the only sport where lies are tolerated. Name me another sport where the, arguable, biggest star is able to lie to consistently without any ramifications or scrutiny.
Tyson Fury isn’t the only guilty party.
Promoters will tell you they “bend the truth” rather than lie when trying to feed you whatever they are selling that week, but it’s swallowed by enough punters to make it worth their while repeating the tactic.
Lewis Watson is a sports writer from London, UK, and a member of the BWAA. Follow or contact him on Twitter @lewroyscribbles