The May boxing calendar has a ton in store for boxing fans. An all-out Mexican score will be settled, a pair of Welterweight front-runners will collide, a Pound for Pound elite will return, plus a whole lot more. So let’s get to it, narrowing down the Top 5 Fights to check out. As always, a more comprehensive look at the year ahead can be seen in our 2017 Schedule.
Canelo Alvarez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr (Boxnation, BT, HBO PPV)
May 6, San Antonio, Texas
The closer this one gets, the more I suspect a lot of people may be overlooking Canelo Alvarez’s dance partner. Canelo has the sharper toolset and overall ability, sure. But he’s about to square off against an equally nasty fighter in Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, who’s a big, big guy.
The cynic in me says that Canelo and his Golden Boy handlers know exactly what they’re doing. Chavez is a good, strong fighter, but he’s also beatable, and has fallen off the map somewhat since Andrzej Fonfara broke his spirit in 2015. If one thing’s for sure, this encounter is going to be a huge deal for Mexican fans who’ve been anticipating this countryman clash for some time.
If anything, win or lose, Canelo’s days of catchweight meetings should be history after this fight is through. If Canelo can fight a 6′ 1” Chavez at 164.5-pounds, then there’s no rational reason to not start campaigning at Middleweight. And then, you know, fight Gennady Golovkin. At least, in theory.
Canelo vs. Chavez Jr Undercard:
- Lucas Matthysee vs. Emmanuel Taylor | Junior Welterweight
- David Lemieux vs. Marcos Reyes | Middleweight
- Joseph Diaz vs. Manuel Avila | Featherweight
Joseph Parker vs. Hughie Fury
May 6, Auckland, New Zealand
I’m not sure how to feel about this Heavyweight championship, in all honesty. Newly-crowned WBA champ Joseph Parker will make his first title defense against Hughie Fury, an unbeaten contender who is swamped with question marks. I’ve nothing against Hughie, the cousin of Wladimir Klitschko’s conqueror Tyson, it’s just that Hughie’s climbing several rungs of the ladder here.
Fury has been out of action since winning a Technical Decision over Fred Kassi (April 2015), a fringe contender who was 1-3-1 beforehand. Worryingly, Kassi is the best scalp on Fury’s twenty-fight slate, and so naturally a lot of people are going to be sceptical about his chances of trumping a hard-hitting brute like Parker, who can box and bang, as proved in his December outing against Andy Ruiz Jr.
Maybe I’m wrong about Fury. Maybe he’s going to blow us all away by rising to the occasion in the biggest fight of his life. If he can, then great. We’ve just had Joshua vs Klitschko, so let’s keep the momentum going in the glamour division.
Terence Crawford vs. Felix Diaz (Boxnation, HBO)
May 20, Omaha, Nebraska
There’s bigger, better fights out there for WBC, WBO Junior Welterweight champ, Terence Crawford. That’s basically a fact. But for now, we’ll have to see what former Olympian Felix Diaz Jr can offer Crawford, an elite of the modern game. Though Diaz is three inches shorter than ‘Bud’ at 5’ 5” and seems overmatched, you could say Diaz should actually be unbeaten following a controversial decision loss to Lamont Peterson in 2015.
Diaz does a lot of things well, and, while he’ll be a considerable underdog against Crawford, it’s not like he doesn’t deserve a title shot here. Diaz’s highlights include a decision over Adrien Granados in 2014 (which saw Granados down twice), a decision over Gabriel Bracero in 2015, and another over Sammy Vasquez last July. The Peterson fight also makes the reel.
As for Crawford, he’s been looking pretty flawless for some time, most recently drumming John Molina Jr in December. He’s the real deal, and is starting to put more and more guys away inside the distance. But let’s try to remain positive about Diaz’s ability to at least compete. The fact that Diaz is fresh, well-conditioned, and employs an effective boxer-banger style, surely makes this dustup worth tuning in to.
Crawford vs. Diaz Undercard:
- Raymundo Beltran vs. Jonathan Maicelo | Lightweight
- Shakur Stevenson vs. TBA | Featherweight
Gervonta Davis vs. Liam Walsh (Boxnation)
May 20, London, UK
Gervonta Davis was an absolute beast when he demolished IBF titlist Jose Pedraza last January, and so naturally a lot of people are keen to see Davis back in action. Walsh is a fellow unbeaten Junior Lightweight, who, though I feel isn’t on quite the same level as Davis, isn’t out of place in this fight. Davis, with just seventeen fights to his name, is still building as a fighter, as is twenty-two-fight Walsh.
This is a chance to learn a great deal about both of these growing talents. And with Davis going on the road, his international appeal could be about to soar considerably should he score another emphatic knockout. He’s also pals with Floyd Mayweather, if that kind of thing gets you all hyped up.
Davis vs. Walsh Undercard:
- Mitchell Smith vs. TBA | Welterweight
- Ryan Walsh vs. Marco McCullough | Featherweight
- Chris Hobbs vs. Anthony Yarde | Light Heavyweight
Kell Brook vs. Errol Spence Jr (Showtime, Sky Sports Box Office)
May 27, Sheffield, UK
There’s nothing to dislike about this Welterweight battle that will see highly touted Errol Spence Jr take a big leap to find IBF champ Kell Brook. The past year has seen the world’s Top 10 Welters starting to come together, beginning with Keith Thurman vs. Shawn Porter and Thurman vs. Danny Garcia. And, if you like, Manny Pacquiao vs. Jessie Vargas.
It’s a similar deal with Brook vs. Spence: a pair of top-drawer, prime guys colliding. My money’s on the more experienced Brook, but I could easily see the young prospect doing the business. Whoever prevails, a fair few questions should be answered on fight night. Can Spence handle a big, dynamic, hard-punching Welter like Brook? Has Brook’s 160-pound stint against ‘GGG’ – which saw Brook’s eye socket smashed – helped or hindered his confidence? And how will Brook fair back down at Welter in a potentially career-defining fight?
Brook vs. Spence Jr Undercard:
- Yet to be announced
Boxing in May: Best of the Rest
Josh Warrington vs. Kiko Martinez (Boxnation, BT)
May 13, Yorkshire, England; Featherweight
Khalid Yafai vs. Surguru Muranaka (Sky Sports 1)
May 13, Birmingham, England; Junior Bantamweight
Diego De La Hoya vs. Erik Ruiz (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes)
May 18, Tuscon, Arizona; Junior Featherweight
Gary Russell Jr vs. Oscar Escandon (Showtime)
May 20, Maryland, US; WBC Featherweight Championship
Hassan N’Dam vs. Ryota Murata
May 20, Tokyo, Japan; vacant WBA Middleweight Championship
Kosei Tanaka vs. Angel Acosta
May 20, Nagoya, Japan; Junior Flyweight
Give us your favourite fights and picks for this coming May. What clashes are you anticipating most? And what will the boxing landscape look like when the door closes on this lively month?