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.

 

t5. WBA World Female Featherweight Championship: Erika Cruz Hernandez (c) (13-1) vs. Melissa Esquivel (12-1-1)

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

Competitiveness: 3: Esquivel was a decent fighter at junior featherweight, but now she’s coming up a weight class to challenge a world champion in Hernandez.
Excitement: 2: Not a hell of a lot of pop between those two ladies.
Juice: 2
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 16

 

t5. WBA Gold Junior Welterweight Championship: Ismael Barroso (c) (23-3-2) vs. Ohara Davies (22-2)

When/Where: Friday, 11:00am, ESPN+

Competitiveness: 5
Excitement: 4
Juice: 1
Prestige: 2: Pretty much a nonsense belt, and that’s saying something for the WBA.
Viewing Ease: 4: Black Friday early afternoon boxing?? Yes, please.

Total: 16

 

3. WBA Super/IBF/WBO World Lightweight Championships: Teofimo Lopez (c) (16-0) vs. George Kambosos Jr. (19-0)

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

Competitiveness: 3: Kambosos is a mandatory, and isn’t a bad fighter, but he’s going against a former Fighter of the Year who dismantled Vasyl Lomachenko.
Excitement: 4
Juice: 2: The only juice is the hysterically-prolonged ordeal this goddamned fight has gone through. Different dates, different delays, different promoters, different platforms, etc…
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 18

 

2. Vacant IBF World Junior Lightweight Championship: Azinga Fuzile (15-1) vs. Kenichi Ogawa (25-1-1)

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

Competitiveness: 5
Excitement: 3
Juice: 3: Ogawa briefly held this title in 2017 before it was stripped after testing positive for Androstanediol after his split-decision win over Tevin Farmer.
Prestige: 4: Joseph Diaz lost this title on the scale, so it’s up to Fuzile and Ogawa to bring this strap back up.
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 19

 

1. WBC/WBO World Junior Featherweight Championships: Brandon Figueroa (c) (22-0-1) vs. Stephen Fulton (c) (19-0)

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

Competitiveness: 5
Excitement: 4
Juice: 3: Bragging rights for being the top dog at 122lbs are on the line, in addition to a second world title.
Prestige: 5: IT’S THE WINTER OF TITLE UNIFICATIONS!
Viewing Ease: 3

Total: 20

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