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. WBO European Welterweight Championship: Lewis Crocker (c) (12-0) vs. Deniz Ilbay (22-2)

When/Where: Friday, 2:00pm, ESPN+

Competitiveness: 3: Crocker won the European championship in just his 11th pro fight, he’s on a solid trajectory.
Excitement: 3
Juice: 1
Prestige: 3
Viewing Ease: 3: I, for one, am a fan of the weekly Friday afternoon boxing.

Total: 13

 

t3. Lion Fight North American Super Cruiserweight Championship: Steve Walker (c) (8-0) vs. Brian Collette (27-5)

When/Where: Friday, 7:30pm, UFC Fight Pass

Competitiveness: 5: Undefeated hard-hitting champion on a rocket of momentum against a Glory veteran.
Excitement: 4
Juice: 1
Prestige: 2: It’s a secondary title from Lion Fight, but these are main-event fighters. Collette is a Glory fighter with wins over Warren Thompson and Randy Blake amongst others.
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 16

 

t3. WBA Super World Junior Flyweight Championship: Hiroto Kyoguchi (c) (14-0) vs. Axel Aragon Vega (14-3-1)

When/Where: Saturday, 8:00pm, DAZN

Competitiveness: 3: Vega got stopped by Wilfredo Mendez challenging for the Minimumweight championship two fights ago, now he comes up to 108 to try his luck again. He’s only 20, so a world title might be in his future, but it doesn’t look like it’ll be this time out.
Excitement: 3
Juice: 1
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 4: DAZN rules the roost this weekend, and the next time I have a streaming problem with them will be the first time.

Total: 16

 

2. WBA/WBC/WBO/IBF/IBO World Female Welterweight Championships: Jessica McCaskill (c) (9-2) vs. Cecilia Braekhus (36-1)

When/Where: Saturday, 8:00pm, DAZN

Competitiveness: 5: Was McCaskill’s win a fluke? Did Braekhus have an off night? Or is McCaskill truly Cecilia’s equal? Or, Matt Hughes had Dennis Hallman, Ali had Ken Norton, most fighters have that one fighter that gives them fits, is this McCaskill?
Excitement: 2
Juice: 4: The biggest upset in women’s boxing history gets run back, as Braekhus tries to reclaim her spot on the throne.
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 20

 

1. WBA Super/WBC World Junior Bantamweight Championships: Juan Francisco Estrada (c) (41-3) vs. Roman Gonzalez (c) (50-2)

When/Where: Saturday, 8:00pm, DAZN

Competitiveness: 5
Excitement: 5: Neither one of these two are really capable of a boring fight.
Juice: 4: After suffering two losses, including a crushing knockout at the hands of Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in 2017, Chocolatito has crawled his way back, become a world champion, and is now rematching Estrada nine years later in an attempt to keep unifying the division. What a story.
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 23

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