Predictions are made by RING staff members Mitch Abramson, Doug Fischer, Brian Harty and Michael Rosenthal
ANTHONY JOSHUA VS. WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO
Date: April 29
Location: Wembley Stadium, London
Division: Heavyweights (for Joshua’s IBF and vacant WBA titles)
RING Ratings: Klitschko No. 1; Joshua No. 5
TV: Sky Box Office (U.K.)
Watchability rating (up to five stars): *****
Also fighting: Katie Taylor vs. TBA, lightweights.
Significance: This fight could determine the immediate future of the division. If Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs) wins, a new era will have begun in earnest. If Klitschko (64-4, 53 KOs) wins, the division will look a lot like it did for a decade. Joshua has rolled over his foes but has never faced anyone near Klitschko’s ability. Klitschko looked his age in a one-sided loss to Tyson Fury in his last fight, in November 2015. That’s a long layoff, particularly for a 41-year-old.
Prediction: Rosenthal – Joshua KO 7; Fischer – Joshua SD; Harty – Klitschko SD; Abramson – Joshua KO 5
APRIL 8 – Vasyl Lomachenko (No. 1, No. 6 P4P) vs. Jason Sosa (No. 10), junior lightweights (for Lomachenko’s WBA and WBO titles, Oxon Hill, Md. (HBO). Also, Oleksandr Usyk (No. 1) vs. Michael Hunter, cruiserweights (for Usyk’s WBO title), and Oleksandr Gvozdyk (No. 8) vs. Yunieski Gonzalez, light heavyweights.
APRIL 8 – Terry Flanagan (No. 2) vs. Petr Petrov (No. 10), lightweights (for Flanagan’s WBO title) Manchester, England. Also, Liam Williams vs. Liam Smith (No. 8), junior middleweights; Zolani Tete (No. 8) vs. Arthur Villanueva, bantamweights; and Jack Catterall (No. 7) vs. Martin Gethin, junior welterweights.
APRIL 9 – Josesito Lopez vs. Saul Corral, welterweights, Los Angeles (Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes).
APRIL 9 – Nehomar Cermeno vs. Shun Kubo, junior featherweights, Osaka, Japan.
APRIL 14 – Dmitry Bivol vs. Samuel Clarkson, light heavyweights, Oxon Hill, Md. (Showtime).
APRIL 14 – L.A. Fight Club: Ivan Delgado vs. Charles Huerta, junior lightweights, Los Angeles (RingTV.com; Estrella TV).
APRIL 15 – Ricky Burns (No. 4) vs. Julius Indongo (No. 6), junior welterweights (for Indongo’s IBF and Burns’ WBA titles), Glasgow, Scotland (Sky).
APRIL 20 – Michael Perez vs. Marcelino Lopez, lightweights, Verona, New York (ESPN2/ ESPN Deportes).
APRIL 22 – Oscar Valdez (No. 7) vs. Miguel Marriaga, featherweights (for Valdez’s WBO title), Carson, California (Top Rank Pay-Per-View). Also, Gilberto Ramirez (No. 3) vs. Max Bursak, super middleweights (for Ramirez’s WBO title), and Jessie Magdaleno (No. 2) vs. Adeilson Dos Santos, junior featherweights (for Magdaleno’s WBO title).
APRIL 22 – Shawn Porter (No. 3) vs. Andre Berto, welterweights, New York (Showtime). Also, Jermell Charlo (No. 4) vs. Charles Hatley, junior middleweights (for Charlo’s WBC title).
APRIL 22 – Arthur Abraham (No. 8) vs. Robin Krasniqi, super middleweights, Germany.
APRIL 22 – Avtandil Khurtsidze (No. 8) vs. Tommy Langford, middleweights, Leicester, England.
APRIL 23 – Kazuto Ioka (No. 1) vs. Noknoi Sitthiprasert, flyweights (for Ioka’s WBA title), Osaka, Japan. Also, Marlon Tapales (No. 5) vs. Shohei Omori, bantamweights (for Tapales’ WBO title).
APRIL 29 – Adonis Stevenson vs. Sean Monaghan, light heavyweights (for Stevenson’s WBC title), Long Island, N.Y.
APRIL 29 – Donnie Nietes (No. 3) vs. Komgrich Nantapech, flyweights (for vacant IBF title), Cebu City, Philippines.
CANELO ALVAREZ VS. JULIO CESAR CHAVEZ JR.
Date: May 6
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
Division: Super middleweights (catchweight of 164.5 pounds)
RING Ratings: Alvarez C middleweight, No. 1 junior middleweight, No. 8 P4P
TV: HBO Pay-Per-View
Watchability rating (up to five stars): *****
Also fighting: David Lemieux vs. Marcos Reyes, middleweights; Lucas Matthysse vs. Emmanuel Taylor, welterweights; Joseph Diaz Jr. vs. Manuel Avila, featherweights.
Significance: Canelo (48-1-1, 34 KOs) sets up a showdown with Gennady Golovkin if he beats his Mexican rival in a huge fight among Mexican fans. And most believe he will. Canelo has all the advantages except size. Chavez (50-2-1, 32 KOs) is not known for his work ethic but he’ll be motivated for this one. A victory would turn his career completely around.
Prediction: Rosenthal – Alvarez KO 9; Fischer – Alvarez UD; Harty – Alvarez KO 9; Abramson – Alvarez UD
MAY 5 – Golden Boy on ESPN (ESPN/ESPN Deportes).
MAY 6 – Joseph Parker (No. 6) vs. Hughie Fury, heavyweights (for Parker’s WBO title), Auckland, New Zealand.
MAY 6 – Zou Shiming (No. 8) vs. TBA, flyweights (for Zou’s WBO title), Macao, China.
MAY 13 – Khalid Yafai vs. Suguru Muranaka, junior bantamweights (for Yafai’s WBA title), Birmingham, England.
MAY 13 – Josh Warrington vs. Kiko Martinez, featherweights, Leeds, England.
MAY 18 – Golden Boy on ESPN (ESPN/ESPN Deportes).
MAY 20 – Terence Crawford (C, No. 8 P4P) vs. Felix Diaz, junior welterweights (for Crawford’s RING, WBC and WBO titles), Newark, New Jersey (HBO).
MAY 20 – Noel Gevor vs. Krzysztof Wlodarczyk, cruiserweights, Poznan, Poland.
MAY 20 – Gervonta Davis (No. 6) vs. Liam Walsh, junior lightweights (for Davis’ IBF title), London.
MAY 27 – Kell Brook (No. 2) vs. Errol Spence Jr. (No. 7), welterweights (for Brook’s IBF title, Sheffield, England (Showtime).
MAY 27 – Gary Russell Jr. (No. 2) vs. Oscar Escandon, featherweights (for Russell’s WBC title), Oxon Hill, Md. (Showtime).