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The Sports Daily > Undercard Superstar
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. IBF/IBO/WBA Super/WBC World Middleweight Championships: Gennady Golovkin (c) (37-0) vs. Saul Alvarez (49-1-1)

When/Where: Saturday, 9:00pm, Pay-Per-View

Competitiveness: 5: This is literally the middleweight May-Paq, and while it’s not happening right when it should have, it’s close enough to both of their primes.
Excitement: 5
Juice: 5
Prestige: 5: The undisputed middleweight champion of this world. Marvin Haglar, Tommy Hearns, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Roberto Duran would approve.
Viewing Ease: 3

Total: 23

 

 

t2. Interim WBA World Featherweight Championship: Claudio Marrero (22-1) vs. Jesus M. Rojas (25-1-2)

When/Where: Friday, 9:00pm, ESPN3/ESPN Deportes

Competitiveness: 5
Excitement: 5: For featherweights, these two have a ton of power in their hands. Six out of their last seven wins have been to TKO/KO.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 3: Ugh, I cannot fucking stand interim titles. It devalues the title, the fighters, and the fight. The fact that the WBA has two world titles in and of itself is adding to the madness.
Viewing Ease: 5

Total: 19

 

 

t2. WBO World Middleweight Championship: Billy Joe Saunders (c) (24-0) vs. Willie Monroe Jr. (21-2)

When/Where: Saturday, 5:30pm, YouTube

Competitiveness: 3
Excitement: 4
Juice: 2: The last-minute “heated confrontations” don’t do much for me.
Prestige: 5: Seeing as how it’s on the same night as the biggest middleweight fight in decades, it won’t shine as bright, but it’s a legit world title, and the only one that won’t be in the possession of either Canelo or GGG.
Viewing Ease: 5

Total: 19

 

 

4. Cage Warriors Bantamweight Championship: Nathaniel Wood (c) (11-3) vs. Josh Reed (7-0)

When/Where: Saturday, 1:00pm, UFC Fight Pass

Competitiveness: 4
Excitement: 5: These boys sure do love to scrap and finish early.
Juice: 2
Prestige: 3: Cage Warriors have been kingsmakers since long before McGregor.
Viewing Ease: 3

Total: 17

 

 

5. NABF Junior Featherweight Championship: Randy Caballero (c) (24-0) vs. Diego De La Hoya (19-0)

When/Where: Saturday, 9:00pm, Pay-Per-View

Competitiveness: 5
Excitement: 3
Juice: 1
Prestige: 3: NABF is the junior varsity/intercontinental version of the WBC world title, which the winner will be playing for sooner than later.
Viewing Ease: 3: 80 bucks is no cheap date, but if you chose to pay $100 for May-Mac and skip this card, you chose poorly.

Total: 15