Kind of like our messed up country, the fractured sport of boxing is forever its own worst enemy and frustratingly refuses to put on the fights fans really want to see and, frankly, boxing needs to return to a level of prominence it hasn’t held in decades.
It’s demoralizing, degrading, and downright deplorable as those of us who really care about the sport watch sanctioning bodies hand out worthless belts like Halloween candy and demand champions fight awful mandatories. Meanwhile, promotions pettily refuse to work or even acknowledge each other, trade barbs, and drum up drama like they're starring on The Real Housewives of Who the Fuck Cares.
Boxing’s issues run much deeper, of course, than that. But at the most superficial level, it’s kind of a big deal when you struggle to make matchups of consequence and intrigue, therefore forcing fans and the media to spend more time dreaming of mythical matchups rather than talking and writing about fights that matter and can actually be made.
Ranting about boxing’s bullshit aside, a new year means it’s time for new dreams. Hardcore fight fans shamefully know all too well that many of the fights we're dying to see are much harder to make than others. More than a few of will probably never happen, stymied by the sport’s putrid politics. But that’s boxing. And despite its massive flaws, silliness, and penchant to disappoint on the regular, we still love it. So here are eight fights we really want to see in 2021 that aren’t on the schedule, are highly consequential, and 1,000 percent must-see.