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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. WBC World Junior Middleweight Championship: Jermell Charlo (c) (29-0) vs. Erickson Lubin (18-0)

When/Where: Saturday, 10:00pm, Showtime

Competitiveness: 5: Ohhhh man, this is fun. Charlo, the undefeated champion in his prime at only 27, and Lubin, the amateur wunderkind, who has rocketed up the ranks at age 22 and fighting for his first title. Is Lubin biting off more than he can chew this early? Or will it be an early coronation, dethroning a champion who seemingly gets better and hits harder with every fight. Just tremendous.
Excitement: 5:
Juice: 4: Just sheer excitement for the matchup, bereft of any manufactured drama.
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 3

Total: 22

 

 

2. IBF World Junior Middleweight Championship: Jarrett Hurd (c) (20-0) vs. Austin Trout (30-3)

When/Where: Saturday, 10:00pm, Showtime

Competitiveness: 4
Excitement: 3: Hurd has been throttling opponents and has finished every one since he got out of the six-rounders, and the hard-nosed veteran Trout has never been finished. Unstoppable vs. Immovable, you know how it goes.
Juice: 3: The longtime former WBA Junior Middleweight champ attempts to become a world champ again for the first time in four and a half years, possibly for the final time, after failing to capture that very same IBF title in his last bout against Jermall Charlo.
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 3

Total: 18

 

 

3. WBA Super World Featherweight Championship: Leo Santa Cruz (c) (33-1-1) vs. Chris Avalos (27-5)

When/Where: Saturday, 7:30pm, FOX

Competitiveness: 2: In his last five fights, Avalos has been stopped three times, each by a lesser opponent. Earning a stoppage over Miguel Flores (even though it was on a cut) is a fine win, but he shouldn’t be headlining a network world title card.
Excitement: 3: It really does depend on which Santa Cruz shows up. But even if he’s not as his rip-roaring Carl Frampton level, Avalos can be picked up.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 5

Total: 16

 

 

4. Glory Middleweight Championship: Simon Marcus (c) (47-3-2) vs. Alex Pereira (36-6) [Glory 46]

When/Where: Saturday, 8:00am, ESPN3

Competitiveness: 3: Not sure why Marcus wasn’t slated to fight Yousri Belgaroui, seeing as how he, you know, actually won the contender’s tournament, beating Pereira in the finals.
Excitement: 2
Juice: 2
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 3: 4 for easy access, but 2 for the time. 8 on Saturday morning. HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT, SOLDIER?!

Total: 15

 

 

5. WBA/IBO World Junior Middleweight Championship: Erislandy Lara (c) (24-2-2) vs. Terrell Gausha (20-0)

When/Where: Saturday, 10:00pm, Showtime

Competitiveness: 3
Excitement: 2: Gausha was a longtime amateur, and he’s brought that technical, point-based style with him to the professional ranks. Lara, is, well, Lara.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 5: Although it’s the weakest of the tripleheader, all three are for legitimate world titles, and kudos to PBC and Showtime for delivering a true must-see, deep-as-hell card.
Viewing Ease: 3

Total: 14