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. Glory Lightweight Championship: Marat Grigorian (c) (58-11-1) vs. Elvis Gashi (23-0)

When/Where: Saturday, 7:00am, UFC Fight Pass

Competitiveness: 3: Gashi got on the map by knocking out Josh Jauncey in his Glory debut, but Grigorian is fighting the best of his career. Gashi isn’t on his level, yet.
Excitement: 3: These two are the same, they can outpoint their way to a win, but can also get mighty creative and violent when they want to be. Still, pressure is the name of the game, especially for Marat.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 4
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 15

 

4. IBF World Junior Bantamweight Championship: Jerwin Ancajas (c) (31-1-2) vs. Miguel Gonzalez (31-2)

When/Where: Saturday, 9:00pm, ESPN+

Competitiveness: 3: Gonzalez will be game, he’s a fine technical boxer, but he just doesn’t have the horses to keep up with Ancajas.
Excitement: 3
Juice: 1
Prestige: 5: This is Ancajas’s EIGHTH title defense of his IBF title. He’s been the champ for over three years. It’s truly becoming a title associated with one man.
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 16

 

t2. WBO World Junior Featherweight Championship: Emanuel Navarrete (c) (29-1) vs. Francisco Horta (20-3-1)

When/Where: Saturday, 9:00pm, ESPN+

Competitiveness: 2: Horta’s a fine club fighter, but he’s only had one fight over eight rounds, and he won by majority decision.
Excitement: 5: Navarrete’s a killer. He can knock you out in the early rounds, or in the twelfth, and he’ll bring pressure every single round.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 17

 

t2. WBC World Middleweight Championship: Jermall Charlo (c) (29-0) vs. Dennis Hogan (28-2-1)

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

Competitiveness: 4: Hogan gave Jaime Munguia everything he could handle and should have won that fight and that championship. Charlo is bigger, stronger, and hits harder, can he bring his game up to Charlo, too?
Excitement: 3
Juice: 3: After getting absolutely robbed against Jaime Munguia, Hogan moves up a weight class and gets another crack at gold.
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 2

Total: 17

 

1. WBA Super/IBF/WBO/IBO World Heavyweight Championships: Andy Ruiz Jr. (c) (33-1) vs. Anthony Joshua (22-1)

When/Where: Saturday, 3:00pm, DAZN

Competitiveness: 5: It was Joshua early, Ruiz late, with both fighters looking up at different times.
Excitement: 5
Juice: 4: Just one of the most shocking upsets for world championships in the biggest marquee division in combat sports.
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 23

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