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?

 

 

1. 2018 NCAA Wrestling Championships

When/Where: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, ESPN/ESPN3

Competitiveness: 5
Excitement: 3
Juice: 3
Prestige: 5: Short of an Olympic gold medal, when you have your first match on a dank mat, this is what you strive for.
Viewing Ease: 4: Pretty much all day, all weekend long all over ESPN3.

Total: 20

 

2. Vacant WBC World Junior Welterweight Championship: Amir Imam (21-1) vs. Jose Carlos Ramirez (21-0)

When/Where: Saturday, 8:00pm, ESPN/ESPN3

Competitiveness: 3
Excitement: 3
Juice: 2: The winner of the vacant title is set to take on Regis Prograis for the undisputed WBC Junior Welterweight title after absolute flattening Julius Indongo with four knockdowns.
Prestige: 4: This is going on four weeks in a row of the 140lb division trying to unfuck itself after Bud Crawford mined it for gold and left.
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 16

 

3. Vacant WBA World Junior Flyweight Championship: Carlos Canizales (19-0-1) vs. Reiya Konishi (15-0)

When/Where: Sunday, Untelevised

Competitiveness: 3
Excitement: 4: Canizales is one hell of a fun fighter to watch, I just wish WE HAD AN OUTLET TO WATCH THIS. I digress.
Juice: 3: Two undefeated Japanese fighters, both going for their first world titles in Kobe. Canizales had a crack at this very title on New Year’s Eve 2016, but could only manage a split-draw against Ryoichi Taguchi. Konishi ruled over the Japanese middlweight scene before moving up.
Prestige: 4
Viewing Ease: 1

 

t4. Interim WBC World Light Heavyweight Championship: Mehdi Amar (34-5-2) vs. Oleksandr Gvozdyk (14-0)

When/Where: Saturday, 8:00pm, ESPN/ESPN3

Competitiveness: 2: Not much. The Eastern Bloc Gentlemen Of Heavier Weight Classes ™ roll on, here.
Excitement: 3: Gvozdyk has some serious power, but Amar is game enough to hang in. It’ll be a blowout, but I don’t think Amar gets KO’d here.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 4
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 14

 

t4. WBO World Minimumweight Championship: Ryuya Yamanaka (c) (15-2) vs. Moises Calleros (28-7-1)

When/Where: Sunday, Untelevised

Competitiveness: 3
Excitement: 3
Juice: 3: Yamanaka defeated Tatsuya Fukuhara for the WBO title, the same belt that Calleros lost a razor-thin decision to a little over a year ago.
Prestige: 4
Viewing Ease: 1: Late Saturday into early Sunday is prime Japanese boxing time. Dammit, Fite.tv, get on it, boo.

Total: 14

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