We’re only a few months into 2017 but already it’s shaping up to be a great year in the boxing world. With quite a few big fights already scheduled, I thought I’d preview the early favorites for The Ring’s Fighter of the Year award for 2017.
At the moment, here are the contenders!
Odds to win The Ring’s Fighter of the Year in 2017
Gennady Golovkin (37-0): 4/1
Golovkin won his first fight of 2017 against Danny Jacobs, but it was hardly a performance worthy of the FOTY award. For the first time since 2008, Golovkin went the full 12 rounds and won by decision. It was a close bout, and some felt the decision should have gone to Jacobs.
A rematch is on the cards but before that, Golovkin will want a big-name fight. There’s the option of a middleweight unification fight against WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders, and of course there’s the long-overdue fight against Canelo Alvarez. A strong performance in his next bout would make him a frontrunner for Fighter of the Year.
Wladimir Klitschko (64-4): 17/3
Klitschko has a huge heavyweight showdown coming up against Anthony Joshua, and the winner will probably become a frontrunner for the Fighter of the Year title. There’s also the (slim) possibility of a rematch with Tyson Fury, who ended Klitschko’s reign in 2015 but left the sport shortly after.
Canelo Alvarez (48-1-1): 22/3
Alvarez has an upcoming Cinco de Mayo bout scheduled against fellow Mexican Julio César Chávez Jr. It’s not a particularly significant fight for the sport of boxing, but it will be a huge spectacle. Alvarez has been ducking Golovkin for way too long but it seems the fight might finally take place later this year. If it does, he has the chance to land two big wins, would would catapult him to the front of the line for FOTY.
Anthony Joshua (18-0): 11/1
The 27-year-old heavyweight contender is a rising star in the division. He’s undefeated in 18 professional fights and boasts a 100% knock-out record. A win against Klitschko would make him the new king of the heavyweight division.
Carl Frampton (23-1): 50/1
Frampton won the award last year after he edged a victory over Scott Quigg and then stripped Léo Santa Cruz of his WBA featherweight title in a close fight. His performance was enough to persuade the editors at The Ring. But he started 2017 by losing the rematch against Santa Cruz and now Frampton is desperately seeking a trilogy fight.
Photo credit: Jitesh Jagadish (flickr) CC BY-SA 2.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0]