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?

 

t5. Interim WBC World Lightweight Championship: Luke Campbell (20-3) vs. Ryan Garcia (20-0)

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

Competitiveness: 4: The Ryan Garcia hype train hits its toughest crossing to date.
Excitement: 3
Juice: 2: At 33, Campbell is attempting to win world title gold for the third time. Is he going to have a career similar to recently-retired fellow Brit Martin Murray? Chasing gold over and over but never attaining it?
Prestige: 3
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 16

 

t5. WBA Regular World Junior Lightweight Championship: Rene Alvarado (c) (32-8) vs. Roger Gutierrez (24-3-1)

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

Competitiveness: 3
Excitement: 3
Juice: 2: The shoe is on the other foot now for Alvarado, who was a 4.5-1 underdog in capturing the title from Andrew Cancio and now sits at a -625 favorite.
Prestige: 4: Death to the WBA and their “Regular” world championships. They have three goddamned champions at 130lbs. Absurd.
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 16

 

t5. Submission Underground Absolute Championship: Mason Fowler (c) vs. Ryan Bader

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

Competitiveness: 4: Bader doesn’t have nearly the submission acumen that Fowler has, but his wrestling chops will always keep him in any grappling contest.
Excitement: 3
Juice: 1
Prestige: 4: God bless Chael, he’s working his ass off getting this title over, having in defended on every card against huge names.
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 16

 

2. IBF World Junior Flyweight Championship: Felix Alvarado (c) (35-2) vs. DeeJay Kriel (16-1-1)

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

Competitiveness: 3
Excitement: 5: For being 108lbs, these two have tons of dynamite in their fists.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 4: This card going three-deep on world title fights, gotta love it.

Total: 18

 

1. WBO World Junior Bantamweight Championship: Kazuto Ioka (c) (25-2) vs. Kosei Tanaka (15-0)

When/Where: Thursday, BoxNation (UK)

Competitiveness: 5
Excitement: 5
Juice: 5: There is so much at stake here. So, so much. These are the two best Japanese boxers going toe-to-toe. Ioka is the first Japanese fighter who win world title gold in four weight classes, and for Tanaka, he could become the fastest boxer in history to reach world titles in four weight classes with a win. This is simply enormous.
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 1: Absolutely absurd that we can’t get a stream in the States for what could be the best P4P matchup of 2020. It’ll be available on BoxNation in the UK, so you can probably find it via nefarious means.

Total: 21

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