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

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


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



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. Bellator Middleweight Championship: Gegard Mousasi (c) (47-7-2) vs. John Salter (18-4)

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

Competitiveness: 3: Salter has won three in a row technically, but the “biggest” win was over Chidi Njokuani.
Excitement: 3: Will sleepy Gegard show up? Will it be five rounds of Salter looking for a submission that Mousasi lazily bats away?
Juice: 1
Prestige: 4
Viewing Ease: 3

Total: 14


4. Interim WBA World Bantamweight Championship: Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-2) vs. Gary Antonio Russell (18-0)

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

Competitiveness: 5
Excitement: 4
Juice: 1
Prestige: 3: In related news, the WBA wants to do away with their numerous titles. Sure.
Viewing Ease: 3: Why the shit doesn’t PBC put these loaded cards on FOX??

Total: 16


t2. WBO World Bantamweight Championship: John Riel Casimero (c) (30-4) vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux (20-1)

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

Competitiveness: 5: This is Casimero’s toughest test to date, and for Rigo, his toughest matchup since his 2017 loss to Vasyl Lomachenko.
Excitement: 2: Well, it’s Rigondeaux, so your mileage may vary based on what you think of him.
Juice: 2
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 3

Total: 17


t2. WBO International Welterweight Championship: Vergil Ortiz Jr. (c) (17-0) vs. Egidijus Kavaliauskas (22-1-1)

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

Competitiveness: 5: Samuel Vargas to Maurice Hooker to Kavaliauskas. The gatekeepers keep getting tougher and tougher.
Excitement: 5: Ortiz is an absolute monster. All 17 men have fallen by knockout.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 2
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 17


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

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

Competitiveness: 5: 114-113, 114-113, and 115-112 were the scores of their first bout. So, yeah, very tight.
Excitement: 3
Juice: 4: A razor-thin decision in June 2020, an accidental headbutt causing a no-decision in November, and here we are, their third clash.
Prestige: 4
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 20

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