2018 is done and dusted, so now it’s time to look forward to a punchy 2019.
Why worry about New Year’s resolutions, when we can dream about the five super fights we want to see in the next 12 months?
Here’s my top picks for this year:
1. Anthony Joshua versus Deontay Wilder (and the winner faces Tyson Fury)
Yes, technically, it’s two fights, and, to be honest, I don’t really mind which order the three best heavyweights in the world fight it out, but I want to know who’s the boss!
Paddy already has his mind made up, with AJ odds-on to beat either of the other two.
Joshua-Wilder will be the most explosive of any of the potential match-ups, but the most likely bout is the rematch between Wilder and Fury. I am sure the promoters, managers and matchmakers have been as busy as Santa over the festive period.
If the heavyweight unification fight happens it will be the boxing showcase of the year and the winner will move on to a new set of opponents – Dillian Whyte is a worthy contender, Oleksandr Usyk is the cruiserweight supremo and all four 2016 Olympic super heavyweight medallists have looked impressive so far.
2. Vasyl Lomachenko versus Mikey Garcia
The winner of Lomachenko-Garcia would be the pound-for-pound king, no question. We’re talking about a double Olympic champ and three-weight titleholder in the professional ranks against a four-division governor.
Loma has taken on the best, and for the most part he hasn’t been dodged, but there’s been a snag in getting the Garcia fight. The Mexican-American is chasing a legacy-defining welterweight belt – two weight classes above where he normally operates.
Garcia’s 147lb debut is against the prodigious Errol Spence and if he wins he may decide he can do without the diet and the Lomachenko scrap. If he loses, he’ll blame the weight, and boxing the Ukrainian will be the biggest contest, in terms of money and prestige, going.
3. Terence Crawford versus Errol Spence
The fight we really want to see at welterweight is between three-weight kingpin Crawford and unbeaten champ Spence. These two are the best in one boxing’s glamour divisions and the beef is simmering nicely already.
If Garcia beats Spence in March it will wipe millions off the table for Crawford-Spence, and the dust-up probably won’t happen in 2019.
If Spence wins there’s a great chance we could have this massive all-American match in the summer.
4. Callum Smith versus Canelo Alvarez/Gennady Golovkin
Smith beat George Groves to win the World Boxing Super Series and the WBA belt back in September, now his issue is finding a high-profile opponent.
Fortunately, the man who just picked up the secondary title in that organisation is called ‘Canelo’.
Alvarez made the move to super middle in December, having beaten his long-term rival Golovkin earlier in the summer.
The Mexican loves smashing Brits, but if he decides to move back down to middleweight to defend his trinkets then the next biggest brawl for Smith is with ‘Triple G’.
5. Amir Khan versus Kell Brook
Hear me out – I know both are in their 30s, they’ve been well beaten at the top level, and they’ve been uninspiring in their comeback fights – but imagine the banter, the agro and the drama.
Khan showed this year that he still has the speed, and his jaw is as glassy as ever.
Khan is not going to fight above welterweight again, so would a weight drained, 32-year-old Brook have the snap and the engine to catch and stop Khan? I don’t know, but I would love to find out.
Now that Josh Warrington has disposed of Carl Frampton his plan is to chase unification fights in the US. A contest with former Frampton opponent, and rival featherweight champ, Leo Santa Cruz would probably break records for the most non-stop action in a boxing match.
In 2019, we have to see if American star Gevonta Davis and British big shot Kal Yafai are good enough to go from being regular champions to unified, elite fighters in their respective divisions.
Potential household names can be made by winning the WBSS, with Josh Taylor in the super lightweight division and Naoya Inoue in the bantamweight competition in prime position.
The one man I really don’t want to see in a ring in 2019 is Floyd Mayweather. You’ll only find ‘Money’ in exhibition fights or shams against non-boxers he knows he can beat easily – not interested.