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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. Titan Fighting Championship Bantamweight Championship: Farkhad Sharipov (c) (17-7) vs. Jose Torres (4-0)

When/Where: Friday, 7:00pm, UFC Fight Pass

Competitiveness: 5
Excitement: 4
Juice: 3: The Titan bantamweight champ takes on the Titan flyweight champ, as Torres tries to become a two-division champ.
Prestige: 3
Viewing Ease: 4: Obligatory plug for Fight Pass. Hell, two of the title fights mentioned here are on Fight Pass this weekend, not to mention Invicta’s event.

Total: 19


t2. IBF Junior Lightweight Championship: Gervonta Davis (c) (17-0) vs. Liam Walsh (21-0)

When/Where: Saturday, 6:00pm, Showtime

Competitiveness: 3: Walsh is a fine UK boxer, but he hasn’t had any big name wins and his last win is over a downhill Andrey Klimov.
Excitement: 5: Davis has some absolute lead in his hands for a 130lber, finishing his last eight fights, and Walsh isn’t afraid to trade, either.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 18


t2. WBC World Featherweight Championship: Gary Russell Jr. (c) (27-1) vs. Oscar Escandon (25-2)

When/Where: Saturday, 6:00pm, Showtime

Competitiveness: 4: More than you think. That TKO over Robinson Castellanos is looking mighty good after the pounding Castellanos put on Yuriorkis Gamboa a couple of weeks ago.
Excitement: 4
Juice: 1
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 4: How cool is it that we have world-title fights on both HBO and Showtime on Saturday and they don’t overlap each other at all??

Total: 18


4. Vacant Glory Featherweight Championship: Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao (156-35-2) vs. Robin van Roosmalen (48-16-3) [Glory 41]

When/Where: Saturday, 1:30pm, UFC Fight Pass

Competitiveness: 3
Excitement: 3
Juice: 2: Van Roosmalen tries to win his title back that he never technically lost.
Prestige: 4: If RVR was actually defending and didn’t lose his title on the scales last fight due to not making weight, this would be a 5. Alas.
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 16


5. WBC/WBO Junior Welterweight Championship: Terence Crawford (c) (30-0) vs. Felix Diaz (19-1)

When/Where: Saturday, 10:15pm, HBO

Competitiveness: 3: Diaz is no slouch, and is an Olympic gold medalist, but he’s going up against the P4P king.
Excitement: 2: Diaz, as a former gold medalist, has a very Olympic-style. Methodical, accuracy-based, and not entirely crowd-friendly.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 15