Boxing in 2022: Four burning questions about the sport’s biggest stars with six months left in the year

Boxing got off to a great start to the year. That In the first six months, the champions achieved undisputed status, mammoth upsets and incredibly brutal knockouts. But now the sport is in a bit of a lull as it gets even wilder in late summer and early fall.

With many of the sport’s stars ready to get back in the ring, the writers at CBS Sports have taken it upon themselves to answer some of the biggest frontline questions as the final six months of the fight begins.

Let’s dive right into the questions and predictions from Morning Kombat host Brian Campbell and staff writer Brent Brookhouse.

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Is it finally time for two Superfights?

Terence Crawford vs Errol Spence Jr and Tyson Fury vs the winner of Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua

Campbell: To be fair, it was time for both fights, but the good news for boxing fans is that the wait seems almost to be over. Both Spence and Crawford appear headed for an undisputed fight as early as this fall at 147 pounds. The heavyweights, meanwhile, are drawing closer as unified champion Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua set the terms for their rematch in August. Undefeated WBC titlist Tyson Fury also seems poised to fight the winner if he doesn’t use the threat of resignation as a bargaining chip. The recent trend of uncontested fights in all weight classes came as a pleasant surprise. But none has the ring of kings like the sport’s two moneyweight divisions, welterweight and heavyweight.

Brookhouse: It’s refreshing to see more and more big fights coming together in the boxing ring. All obstacles to Crawford vs. Spence are gone as Crawford moved away from Top Rank, the fight must go ahead now. Luckily it seems so is It will happen. And it’s not just going to happen, it’s going to happen to fighters in their prime as well as world champions in their ideal weight classes. Heavyweight is a bit more complicated. Fury should of course face the winner Joshua vs. Usyk. But Fury says he’s retired and won’t end that retirement for less than $500m. We’re talking a legacy-defining fight, though, and Fury is guaranteed a boatload of money, albeit not half a billion. I don’t think the heavyweights unification will happen before the end of the year but I hope to see it in 2023.

Who should be next for Devin Haney?

Campbell: Vasily Lomachenko

Full credit must be given to former unified lightweight king George Kambosos Jr for negotiating a mandatory rematch clause. But with that said, nobody seems terribly interested in him being given a second chance to try and solve the technical mystery that is Haney. In a perfect world where Haney wouldn’t be forced to vacate titles to skip the Kambosos rematch, the 23-year-old phenom would be heading for much bigger challenges. Best of all, and one that’s easy to do promotionally too, would be a challenge against former unified titleholder and pound-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko. While Haney could potentially make bigger numbers in Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia in pursuit of other breakout stars, there’s no question that Lomachenko offers Haney’s biggest decisive advantage in a clash with two of boxing’s greatest chess players in the Ultimate Crossroads.

Brookhouse: George Kambosos

Not because it’s the “right” or “best” fight for Haney, but because it’s his contractual obligation. Kambosos did a fantastic job using his power as the undisputed champion to not only guarantee an immediate rematch if he loses, but that the rematch would take place in Australia. Nothing from the first fight between the two men suggests a rematch will be any different than the first time, but there’s no way for Haney to fight anyone else unless he wants to spend time in the courtroom. Kambosos won’t step aside when he’s already set up in the best possible situation.

Which division will crown an undisputed champion next?

Campbell: Super bantamweight

The easy answer is welterweight, especially considering Spence and Crawford appear close to finally signing the dotted line for a fall showdown. But don’t overlook what’s happening at 122 pounds as Stephen Fulton Jr. continues to make noise in his quest for all four belts and P4P dominance. “Cool Boy Steph” has openly anticipated an undisputed showdown against unified champion Murodjan Akhmadaliev, who returns this weekend against Ronny Rios. Although a four-belt title fight would be a bit difficult given that Fulton and Akhmadaliev fight on different networks, all parties seem interested.

Brookhouse: bantamweight

While a welterweight unification looks like both Crawford and Spence want the fight and the political hurdles cleared, the easiest fight to crown an undisputed champion is at bantamweight. Naoya Inoue holds three belts after absolutely obliterating Nonito Donaire while Paul Butler holds the WBO belt. Butler has stated that he is ready to take the fight, going to Japan to make it a reality and his team are already in talks to end the fight before the end of the year. Inoue, meanwhile, made it clear after the Donaire win that he wants to achieve unchallenged status. This fight is just too easy to put together and it doesn’t feel as cursed to be faced with weird difficulties like Crawford vs. Spence.

Can Canelo fight back against an aging Golovkin?

Campbell: The answer here is most likely yes. That doesn’t mean GGG won’t be ready to go on his sword, leaning on his iconic chin. No one considers a trilogy fight against Golovkin to be an “easy” fight for Alvarez, especially after the two modern classics both fighters have penned against each other in recent years. At the same time, Golovkin seems well past his prime at 40, which comes at a bad time considering 31-year-old Alvarez is now more dangerous than ever. The feeling in boxing is that Alvarez could stop Golovkin in a dominant performance that would double as an interesting “health fight” after Alvarez’s recent loss to WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol.

Brookhouse: Alvarez is likely to stop Golovkin this time. Golovkin is still a solid fighter, but he’s not the fighter he used to be. Golovkin also needs to gain weight for the fight and has been troubled by opponents who have been working on his body in recent bouts. Alvarez is a vicious body puncher, and he’s well aware that Golovkin’s body is where he needs to focus. Alvarez didn’t take a beating against Bivol, he was just boxed out. This isn’t the kind of fight that completely derails everything Alvarez is as a boxer. Golovkin is a little less than he was when he established himself as Alvarez’s equal – if not better – enough to make Alvarez a big statement.

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