The Ecstasy of Gold: 5 Best Title Fights of the Weekend

The Ecstasy of Gold: 5 Best Title Fights of the Weekend

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The Ecstasy of Gold: 5 Best Title Fights of the Weekend

 

The championship fight. The pinnacle of achievement across combat sports for centuries. A premiere attraction that draws millions every year. But not all title bouts are created equally.

So which title bouts every week are the ones to watch? We’ll look over every title fight from across the combat sports landscape and give you the five best based on five criteria:

 

  • Competitiveness: Is this an even matchup? Or just a warm body to throw at a champion? It’s a title fight, so we want the best possible at that division in that promotion.
  • Excitement: How exciting will this fight be? A clash of two elite talents throwing everything they have at each other in an attempt to win the gold? Or a half-dead plod-fest devoid of action or risk?
  • Juice: A sort of catch-all term for all the factors behind the matchup. Is there a story leading up to the match? A true rivalry? Anticipated rematch? Do the fighters dislike each other? Were the circumstances leading to the fight extraordinary, or was it just a promoter putting two names against each other? Is there a lot of excitement or hype going into it?
  • Prestige: Applies to the belt itself, but also to the fighter wearing it. Is this a long-tenured champion defending? Is this an interim title or one that was vacated? Has the champion increased the prestige of the title or is this a fight that will increase the prestige of it?
  • Viewing Ease: We all don’t mind suffering for our art (or hobbies), but sometimes paying twenty dollars for a choppy stream, or searching your cable plan for a channel you’re pretty sure was just invented three days ago in the 6000s isn’t the best of times. How easy, affordable, and stress-free is this bout to watch?

 

So here are your five best gold options for the weekend.

 

1. WBC World Junior Bantamweight Championship: Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (c) (44-4-1) vs. Juan Francisco Estrada (36-2)

When/Where: Saturday, 9:30pm, HBO

Competitiveness: 5: Two-division flyweight champ in Estrada making the jump up to challenge the reigning king of 115, the man who dethroned the former king, Chocolatito, the man known as Srisaket.
Excitement: 5
Juice: 3
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 3: HBO is rocking an absolutely stacked card, and if any even casual boxing fan has even the change at accessing it, by legel means or otherwise, you owe it to yourself.

Total: 21

 

2. IBF World Flyweight Championship: Donnie Nietes (c) (40-1-4) vs. Juan Carlos Reveco (39-3)

When/Where: Saturday, 9:30pm, HBO

Competitiveness: 5
Excitement: 4: This will still be a fun time, but oh man, five years ago…
Juice: 3: Good story, here. Reveco was the longtime WBA flyweight champ until it was taken by Kazuto Ioka, then couldn’t take it back in the rematch. Since then he’s ran off three wins and two belts to get another crack at a world title. Nietes, meanwhile, was the undisputed king at minimumweight from 2007-2010 and then ruled junior flyweight with an iron fist until 2017. Now, he’s on his third-division world championship and looking to cement his place in the P4P ranks.
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 3

Total: 20

 

3. Vacant WBA World Flyweight Championship: Artem Dalakian (15-0) vs. Brian Viloria (38-5)

When/Where: Saturday, 9:30pm, HBO

Competitiveness: 5
Excitement: 4: There’s a shitload of power between these two flyweights. Dalakian has 11/15 win by KO, and Hawaiian Punch, even at 37, still has some serious pop. This should be fantastic.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 4: Well, the belt does lose a little shine, seeing as how the previous champion, Kazuto Ioka, had to give it up because he wasn’t ready to train yet after his wedding.
Viewing Ease: 3

Total: 17

 

t4. Fight To Win Black Belt Heavyweight No-Gi Championship: Rafael Lovato Jr. (c) vs. Tim Spriggs

When/Where: Friday, 8:00pm, FloGrappling

Competitiveness: 2: Spriggs is a fine grappler, a black belt in the Lloyd Irvin system, but Lovato is a legend.
Excitement: 4
Juice: 1
Prestige: 3: F2W’s titles are pretty scattershot and are approaching Mid-80s NWA-level of subdivisions, but Lovato’s is legit and has defended his before.
Viewing Ease: 3

Total: 13

 

t4. Vacant Cage Warriors Female Flyweight Championship: Bryony Tyrell (6-1) vs. Molly McCann (4-1-1)

When/Where: Saturday, 4:00pm, UFC Fight Pass

Competitiveness: 5
Excitement: 2
Juice: 1
Prestige: 2: New weight class in a mid-level promotion isn’t exactly worth its name in marquee lights, but Cage Warriors does pump out a ton of talent, and the UFC’s female flyweight division needs it.
Viewing Ease: 3: UFC’s now in the boxing promoting business, first with Roy Jones’s retirement bout, and starting next week, muay thai, with New York’s Friday Night Fights. Just more reasons to subscribe to one of the only things the UFC is doing right lately.

Total: 13

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