With so many great fights to be made in boxing right now, here's our top 5 match-ups for 2021

The ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic has produced a string of cancellations and postponements, leading fight fans to look to next year in the hope that we might see some of the mega-fights that we thought we'd get in 2020.

Several stacked divisions mean there are a host of excellent fights waiting to be made - In this article we've outlined our top 5, some of which are more likely than others.

Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury

The top 2 heavyweights in the world battling it out to unify the division - it's quite possibly the biggest fight that can be made right now. 

A showdown between Fury (30-0-1) and Joshua (23-1) would crown the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis and in many peoples eyes would decide the best heavyweight on the planet.

What's the likelihood of it happening?

Despite the hype, the chances of this taking place early in 2021 are slim, with both men having other obligations. If it does take place, it's more likely to happen later in the year.

Fury still has to get through the third meeting with Wilder, a man whose right-hand alone has the potential to scupper any plans for a Fury-Joshua unification.

If Fury does come through the Wilder fight unscathed, he would then surely have to face long-standing WBC mandatory Dillian Whyte, another man perfectly capable of upsetting the applecart.

Joshua has obstacles of his own to overcome. Firstly, there is IBF mandatory Kubrat Pulev, a man whose only loss came at the hands of a prime Wladimir Klitschko and who has since amassed a streak of 8 wins.

Should Joshua get through Pulev, he'll likely find WBO mandatory Oleksandr Usyk waiting next in line. Usyk, who is widely regarded as one of the pound for pound best boxers of all time, could prove to be the biggest threat to the fighters who currently sit at the top of the heavyweight division.

Of course, there is always the chance that these mandatories will accept payments to step aside allowing the unification to happen much earlier, but personally, I would at least like to see Dillian Whyte get his shot before any talk of Fury vs AJ gets underway.

Josh Taylor vs José Ramírez

Another Unification, this time in the light welterweight division, would see Scotland's Josh Taylor (16-0) take on Mexico's José Ramírez (25-0) in a battle to become undisputed at 140lbs.

In a division stacked with talent, Taylor who holds the IBF and WBA titles and Ramírez who holds the WBO and WBC titles, currently sit at the top of the pile.

Taylor boasts the more impressive record with wins over Viktor Postol, Ivan Baranchyk and, most notably, Regis Prograis.

While Ramírez' record may not include as many big names, he is unbeaten in 25 fights, with his last win coming by way of a clinical stoppage against Maurice Hooker.

What's the likelihood of it happening?
With both men signed to Top Rank, and both seemingly wanting the fight above any other, this should be a relatively easy one to make.

Assuming Ramírez gets through his next outing against mandatory challenger Viktor Postol, and Taylor is successful in his next defence which is expected to be against IBF mandatory Apinun Khongsong, we could see this one in the first half of the year.

Terrence Crawford vs Errol Spence Jr.

Yes, both men are world champions, yes this fight would see three of the four major belts unified at welterweight, and yes the winner could go on to unify all 4 belts in a super-fight against the legendary Manny Pacquiao, but that's not why we want this one.

We want this fight to find out just how good Terrence Crawford (36-0) is. He was a world champion at lightweight, he dominated and became undisputed at super lightweight, and now holds the WBO world title at welterweight.

For many observers (us included), Crawford sits amongst the pound for pound top 3 fighters in the world. So how far can he go? He hasn't yet faced and elite fully-fledged welterweight. Would he find his ceiling in Spence Jr. (26-0), arguably the best welterweight on the planet?

What's the likelihood of it happening?
With Spence Jr. and Crawford under different promotional banners who in turn have different network affiliations, this doesn't look like a fight we'll be seeing anytime soon.

Crawford is currently signed to Top Rank while Spence Jr. fights under PBC. PBC, with a stable of star welterweights that they can pitch against each other, essentially have the power to sideline Crawford from big fights at welterweight.

The good news is that, as is often the case in boxing, promotional and networks issues can be overcome where a fight has the potential to generate enough revenue. We're all tired of hearing "it will happen when the money is right", but unfortunately, in this case, that statement very much applies.

Vasyl Lomachenko vs Teófimo López

Since his sole professional defeat to a far bigger Orlando Salido back in 2014, Lomachenko 14-1) has looked almost unbeatable.

I say almost because he was dropped on the way to stopping Venezuelan-great Jorge Linares and then in 2019, although winning comfortably, was given a tough 12 rounds by British fighter Luke Campbell who had patches of success.

These glimpses of vulnerability (however slight) make any potential match-ups with the other elite fighters in and around Loma's weight class even more intriguing.

Lomachenko has stated in the past that he won't be moving up to 140lbs, believing that the 135lbs division is his natural limit, so if we're considering a potential challenger we needn't look any higher than lightweight.

Thankfully, you could pick any one of the top names at 135 right now to throw in with Lomachenko and you'd have a huge PPV event on your hands.

Our favourite of the bunch would be IBF champ Teófimo López (15-0) and with talks already well underway it looks like we'll be getting our wish.

What's the likelihood of it happening?
In boxing, you can never be too sure, but with both men contracted to Top Rank and talks already underway, it should be a done deal.

Back in June, Promoter Bob Arum was eyeing up a date for September, meaning we could even see this fight before the end of 2020. However, given the magnitude of this one, it wouldn't be a surprise to see it delayed until 2021 when perhaps a live audience might be able to attend.

Canelo Álvarez vs Billy Joe Saunders

I know what you're thinking - Saunders before GGG, really? Yes, and here's why. Controversial as the first Canelo vs GGG result was, I had Canelo winning the second time around, and although GGG is still one of the worlds best middleweights, he is 38 years old and I see Canelo winning more convincingly in a third outing.

Canelo vs GGG III just isn't a fight I'm overly excited about. Canelo (53-1-2) vs Billy Joe Saunders (29-0), however, is a different story.

It's a fight that's been on the cards for some time now, and though it may not hold much appeal for fans outside of the UK, those who have followed Billy Joe's Career will be aware of his potential.

The question we often ask is not "how good is Billy Joe Saunders?", but rather "How good could he be?".

In a career fraught with setbacks - some of his own making - Saunders has both dazzled and disappointed in equal measure.

Some fighters tend to perform to the level of their opposition, or even to the level of the occasion, and Billy Joe, it would seem, is one of these.

Against average opposition, Saunders has looked only slightly better than average, but when challenging Andy Lee for a world title, he became world-class and when facing dangerous puncher David Lemieux in his own back yard, he looked sensational, winning every round and barely allowing Lemieux to lay a glove on him.

The Canelo fight could be a step too far for Saunders, but I believe that Billy Joe at his best has what it takes outbox the Pound for Pound star. Either way, it would answer all of our questions about just were Billy Joe's ceiling lies.

What's the likelihood of it happening?

The fight was almost signed for earlier in the year so we certainly know it can be made. However, Saunders has recently turned down a potential meeting with Canelo in September citing issues with the purse and too little preparation time.

Additionally, Canelo is alleged to have agreed to terms for a third fight with GGG, so any if a deal can be struck with Saunders it will likely be in the latter half of next year.

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