This past Saturday night featured what was arguably one of the biggest fights in boxing history. When the so-called “pride of Mexico” Saul “Canelo” Alvarez took on the WBC/WBA/IBF/IBO middleweight champion, Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, in Las Vegas, boxing fans were treated to a classic, and promoters enjoyed what will likely be the most profitable fight of the year, non-Mayweather/McGregor division.
The outcome may not have been what anyone was hoping for, but we still saw what could be a candidate for fight of the year. While the whole world will be talking about this fight–and the likely rematch that the draw left open–in the weeks and months ahead, there are some other exciting fights involving Latino boxers as 2017 draws to a close. Here are five fights in particular to check out over the next few months. These fights may not generate the media coverage that Saturday’s fight had drawn, and chances are that most of these fights won’t be on pay-per-view. But they’ll definitely be worth watching.
Gilberto Ramirez vs Jesse Hart (September 22)
The 26-year-old Ramirez isn’t exactly at Canelo’s level just yet, but he’s definitely carving out his own legacy as one of Mexico’s top fighters. The Mazatlán boxer (35-0, 24 KO’s) will defend his WBO super middleweight title against undefeated USBA super middleweight champion Jesse Hart (22-0, 18 KO’s) on September 22. This will be a huge test for Ramirez but if he passes it, it could open up potential high-profile unification bouts with WBC champion David Benavidez and IBF champion James DeGale.
Cuba’s Erislandy Lara vs Terrell Gausha (October 14)
Lara’s reign as junior middleweight champion has been impressive. The 34-year-old Cuban has held the WBA title for 1,557 days. He’s also been hanging onto the IBO version of the title for 824 days. Lara (24-2-2) has won five consecutive fights since losing to Canelo Alvarez back in 2014, but on October 14 he’ll face what could be his toughest challenge since
Enter Terrell Gausha (20-0), the undefeated Cleveland native who’s not only fighting for his first championship, but is also taking a step-up in competition. While all signs point to a likely win for Lara, Gausha is an upcoming talent who shouldn’t be underestimated.
Luis Ortiz vs WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder (November 4)
This matchup could determine a new course for the heavyweight division. On November 4th, Wilder will defend his WBC heavyweight title against the Cuban-born Ortiz. Both men are among those being credited for resurrecting the heavyweight division, and both men need this fight for different reasons.
Ortiz is looking for his first championship since being stripped of the WBA title in early 2015 for failing a drug test. Wilder needs this fight to quash the notion that he dodges big name fighters. Both head into his fight evenly matched for the most part; they were champions as amateurs, they’re undefeated as pros, they’re both power punchers who easily win by knockout, and both fighters are promoted by Haymon Boxing.
Ortiz is another Cuban athlete who defected from the island and found success in the United States. Becoming champion again will accomplish two things; end Wilder’s unbeaten streak, while putting at the forefront of the weight class. The winner of this fight could go on to face the winner of October’s contest between WBA, IBF, IBO champion Joshua Wilder and Kubrat Pulev as the heavyweight division moves closer towards championship unification.
WBA Super Bantamweight Champion Guillermo Rigondeaux vs Vasyl Lomachenko (December 9)
Don’t sleep on this match or else you’ll regret it. Rigondeaux, who’s one of the best boxers to ever defect from Cuba, is stepping up in weight class to challenge the Ukrainian Lomachenko for his WBO junior lightweight championship. While the final details are still being sorted out, this fight is pretty much booked for December 9th. “El Chacal,” as Rigondeaux is known, already has impressive victories over the likes of Nonito Donaire, Roberto Marroquin, and Ricardo Cordoba. But Lomachenko will be the biggest challenge of his career.
“Hi-Tech” has been red hot from the start. Aside from the title he’s defending against Rigondeaux, the 29-year-old is also the WBO featherweight champion, which he won in just his third professional fight. His hand speed, toughness, and propensity for knockouts is more than enough to give Rigondeaux his first career loss. At the same time, Rigondeaux has held his belt for 2,495 days for a reason; he’s simply one of the best fighters in the world.
Miguel Cotto’s Retirement Fight (December?)
When Puerto Rico’s only four-division world title holder soundly defeated Japan’s Yoshihiro Kamegai back on August 26, he proved that he still has fuel left in the tank. And while he claimed the WBO junior middleweight belt in the process, Cotto says that his very next fight will be his last. While the details still have yet to be worked out, the 36-year-old Cotto (41-5, 33 KO’s) says that his swan song will take place in December.
While some reports had Cotto looking to finish his career against the winner of the Canelo/GGG fight, that may not happen if those two fighters rematch, as is expected. Another possibility could be former IBF, NABF, NABO middleweight champion David Lemieux. Either way, Cotto deserves all the respect in the world for choosing to go out against top-tier competition. There’s no doubt about his place in the Hall of Fame.