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

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

Combat

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

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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?

 

5. WBA/WBC/IBF/WBO World Female Lightweight Championships: Katie Taylor (c) (16-0) vs. Miriam Gutierrez (13-0)

When/Where: Saturday, 2:00pm, DAZN

Competitiveness: 4
Excitement: 2: At 37, Guitierrez isn’t exactly adding more pop to her repertoire, and Taylor’s technically proficient style is great for winning medals, but not incredibly exciting.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 5: Gutierrez is the interim WBA champion and the last pothole before completely lording over the lightweight division.
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 16

 

4. WBO World Welterweight Championship: Terence Crawford (c) (36-0) vs. Kell Brook (39-2)

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

Competitiveness: 3: Brook is still a big name, but what was his last big win? Shawn Porter. In August of 2014. Six damned years and change ago. When he stepped up in competition? Back to back knockouts at the hands of GGG and Errol Spence.
Excitement: 4: Brook could very well land a Hail Mary punch, but there’s a much better chance of him getting posterized.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 17

 

t2. WBA “Regular” World Junior Bantamweight Championship: Joshua Franco (c) (17-2) vs. Andrew Moloney (21-1)

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

Competitiveness: 5
Excitement: 3
Juice: 3: Moloney lost his title to Franco as a -1400 favorite in June, now he returns as the underdog to try and reclaim it
Prestige: 4: Ugh, death to WBA “Regular” championships.
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 19

 

t2. Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship Lightweight Championship: Luis Palomino (c) vs. Jim Alers

When/Where: Friday, 8:00pm, BareKnuckle.tv

Competitiveness: 5: Alers is 4-0 in Bare Knuckle with three knockouts. He’s as deserving a challenger as they have.
Excitement: 5: It’s fucking bare knuckle boxing. Regardless of what you may think of the morality of it, it’s damned entertaining.
Juice: 2
Prestige: 3
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 19

 

1. Bellator Featherweight Championship/Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix Quarterfinals: Patricio Freire (c) (30-4) vs. Pedro Carvalho (11-3)

When/Where: Thursday, 7:00pm, CBS Sports

Competitiveness: 4
Excitement: 5
Juice: 3: A title fight, and also a Grand Prix quarterfinal bout, featuring the top dog in Bellator.
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 3: It’s good for Bellator that they’re on a dedicated sports network, and have Thursdays all to themselves.

Total: 20

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