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

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

Combat

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

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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.

 

5. WBC World Heavyweight Championship: Deontay Wilder (c) (40-0-1) vs. Dominic Breazeale (20-1)

When/Where: Saturday, 9:00pm, Showtime

Competitiveness: 2: No. The WBC is pissing me, and a lot of boxing fans off by making Breazeale the mandatory challenger instead of Dillian Whyte, the actual WBC secondary title holder, who desperately wants Wilder and has turned down other world title fights to pursue the WBC. Absolute bullshit. Breazeale’s biggest win is what? Amir Mansour? Eric Molina? Come the fuck on.
Excitement: 3
Juice: 1
Prestige: 5: Despite Breazeale not being close to the best challenger, Wilder has improved the prestige of the WBC title for the crown jewel division in boxing.
Viewing Ease: 3

Total: 14

 

4. Glory Lightweight Championship: Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong (c) (137-17-2) vs. Marat Grigorian (56-11-1)

When/Where: Friday, 3:00pm, UFC Fight Pass

Competitiveness: 4
Excitement: 2: Sitthichai is your typical Thai fighter. Some feeling out, lots of counterstriking. It’s certainly not everyone’s cup of tea.
Juice: 4: Sitthichai is Grigorian’s white whale. He’s lost to him four times since 2015. However, all have been close decisions. Is this the time, his FIFTH match with Sitthichai, that he finally slays his dragon?
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 2

Total: 17

 

3. Glory Middleweight Championship: Alex Pereira (c) (39-6) vs. Jason Wilnis (31-9-1)

When/Where: Friday, 3:00pm, UFC Fight Pass

Competitiveness: 5
Excitement: 3
Juice: 4: In Pereira’s six career losses, two of them have been handed to him by Jason Wilnis. One, in 2015, at Glory 20, the other, in 2010 for It’s Showtime in a title fight. Now, Pereira is the champion, much like the Sitthichai-Grigorian fight, can he finally vanquish his toughest foe?
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 2: Well, 3 in the afternoon on a Friday isn’t exactly viewer-friendly, which knocks this down a couple points.

Total: 19

 

2. IBF World Junior Welterweight/WBC Silver Junior Welterweight Championships/World Boxing Super Series Semifinals: Ivan Baranchyk (c) (19-0) vs. Josh Taylor (c) (14-0)

When/Where: Saturday, 2:30pm, DAZN

Competitiveness: 5: Taylor will have the size and power advantage, but has promised to outbox Baranchyk, as well. This is a much more even fight than the other WBSS semifinal.
Excitement: 4
Juice: 3
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 4: DAZN is really ramping it up this summer. Anthony Joshua and GGG in just back-to-back weeks in June, alone.

Total: 21

 

1. IBF World Bantamweight/WBA Regular World Bantamweight Championships/World Boxing Super Series Semifinals: Emmanuel Rodriguez (c) (19-0) vs. Naoya Inoue (c) (17-0)

When/Where: Saturday, 2:30pm, DAZN

Competitiveness: 5
Excitement: 5
Juice: 3: I am a sucker for a tournament. The winner goes on to face Nonito Donaire in the finals, who has Mr. Magoo’ed his way into the finals.
Prestige: 5: WBA “Regular” titles are the bane of my existence, even worse than interim titles, but the IBF, to me, is the most legit governing body. Easy five-spot here.
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 22

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