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. WBA “Regular” Junior Welterweight Championship: Marrio Barrios (c) (25-0) vs. Ryan Karl (18-2)

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

Competitiveness: 4
Excitement: 5
Juice: 1
Prestige: 4: I’d hoped that the WBA’s “Regular” world titles were a fading trend, but now that the WBC is coming out with their stupid-ass “Franchise” championships, it appears we’re heading in the wrong direction.
Viewing Ease: 2: The card is legitimately four-deep, but seventy-five bucks is a big hit, especially when we just got Lomachenko vs. Lopez for free.

Total: 16

 

4. ONE Middleweight Championship: Aung La N Sang (c) (26-10) vs. Reinier De Ridder (12-0)

When/Where: Friday, 7:30am, ONE App

Competitiveness: 4
Excitement: 5: In his twelve wins, De Ridder has slapped on five different submissions to earn a tap.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 3
Viewing Ease: 5: If you’ve got the intestinal fortitude to get up this early, it’s there for you for free.

Total: 18

 

3. WBO World Female Junior Lightweight Championship: Ewa Brodnicka (c) (19-0) vs. Mikaela Mayer (13-0)

When/Where: Saturday, 7:30, ESPN+

Competitiveness: 5
Excitement: 2: Brodnicka is a fine technical boxer, but good golly is she light-punching, and Mayer isn’t a ton better.
Juice: 3: Brodnicka has held this title for over three years, and is making his sixth defense, but Mayer is her toughest test to date.
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 19

 

t1. WBA Super/IBF World Bantamweight Championships: Naoya Inoue (c) (19-0) vs. Jason Moloney (21-1)

When/Where: Saturday, 7:30, ESPN+

Competitiveness: 3
Excitement: 5: Inoue may be the most fun fighter currently, in any weight, in any combat sport.
Juice: 3: Inoue makes his American main event debut, as him being a newly minted Top Rank fighter will open him up for a big swath of the viewing audience who hasn’t seen him live before.
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 20

 

t1. WBA “Regular” World Lightweight/WBA Super World Junior Lightweight Championships: Gervonta Davis (c) (23-0) vs. Leo Santa Cruz (c) (37-1-1)

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

Competitiveness: 5: I admire Davis going back down in weight to challenge a four-division world champ and LSC for challenging himself and going for a fifth world championship.
Excitement: 4
Juice: 4: The ultra-rare bout where two belts IN TWO WEIGHT CLASSES are up for grabs.
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 2

Total: 20

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