By Paul Magno | January 03, 2022

Magno’s Next Year Predictions! This was a yearly tradition since I started writing for a living, but 2020 and the goddamn Zombie Apocalypse came along and sort of cockblocked my good times. But I’m taking back my life (for all that’s worth) and re-establishing this New Year’s tradition that so many of you have been demanding (so many = three).

So, without further ado, here are some firm, specific predictions that my haters and critics can hold against me at the end of next year. Good, bad, mildly amusing—here’s what I see happening in 2021:

-- Canelo Alvarez’s cruiserweight title fight with WBC titlist Ilunga Makabu won’t happen as rumored and reported. Instead, the surprising decision will be made to stay at 168 and defend his belt against WBC middleweight champ Jermall Charlo in May. After the Mexican star stops Charlo in nine rounds, he’ll move back up to light heavyweight to beat WBO champ Joe Smith Jr. via one-sided decision.

-- Rather than jump right back into the lightweight division deep waters, George Kambosos Jr., will get permission to make the first defense of his titles against faded former champion Miguel Vazquez in a big stadium show in his native Australia. After that soft touch defense, he’ll be lured back to the states and into a title bout with Vasiliy Lomachenko, where he’ll drop the belts via one-sided decision.

-- Anthony Joshua will win back his three heavyweight titles from Oleksandr Usyk in a dull 12-round decision, using extreme caution and a non-stop jab. 

-- WBC heavyweight champ Tyson Fury will spin his wheels in 2022 with easy defenses against Robert Helenius and Joseph Parker after talks with Dillian Whyte and Andy Ruiz fail over money issues.

-- In a surprising development, after one free agent fight on a PBC undercard, Terence Crawford signs a short-term contract with Top Rank, returning to Arum’s company for a fight with Josh Taylor, that he wins via ninth-round TKO.

-- Errol Spence will beat Yordenis Ugas to add the WBA welterweight title to his WBC and IBF titles. 

-- Jaron “Boots” Ennis will shock the boxing world by scoring an upset over Spence to win the three belts in a late fall bout deemed too much too soon for the young star. The stunning seventh round stoppage will set the stage for Ennis’ quick rise to stardom.

-- The other top young welterweight, Vergil Ortiz Jr., will win a couple of solid bouts in 2022, but by year’s end, after seeing the success Ennis is enjoying, will be looking for a way to get out of his contract with Golden Boy/DAZN.

-- IBF/WBA/WBC junior middleweight champ Jermell Charlo will win the fourth recognized 154 lb. belt with a unanimous decision victory over WBO champ Brian Castano, but won’t receive the respect usually afforded to a unified champ until emerging victorious from a thrilling war in a rematch with Erickson Lubin later in the year. 

-- Gennadiy Golovkin will batter and stop WBA middleweight titlist Ryota Murata in the spring and then miss out on the rest of the year for various assorted reasons. Retirement rumors swirl by the end of the year.

-- Demetrius Andrade will go undefeated in 2022 and will still be “looking” for a big fight. 

-- Gervonta Davis will continue to jump between lightweight and junior welterweight, fighting strategic showcases, but not acknowledging the universally acknowledged top dogs in either class. 2022 will see him face Sandor Martin, who upset Mikey Garcia in October of 2021, and former lightweight champ Robert Easter.

-- Nonito Donaire and Naoya Inoue will battle one another in a rematch of their 2019 Fight of the Year. This time, Donaire emerges victorious with a brutal tenth round knockout after a wildly entertaining back-and-forth battle.

-- Teofimo Lopez misses out on more than three-quarters of 2022, dealing with physical and personal issues. He returns to the ring in the late fall, knocking out former lightweight world champion Ricky Burns in four rounds.

-- After a scare in the early rounds, Ryan Garcia hops on his bicycle and wins a dull 12-round decision over Isaac Cruz that has a pro-Garcia Southern California crowd booing aggressively by the championship rounds. 

-- Devin Haney will continue to have uneven performances against lightweight challengers already beaten by the other top lightweights.

-- Deontay Wilder will not fight in 2022, despite preliminary negotiations with Andy Ruiz. 

-- Andy Ruiz, after failed attempts to land bouts with both Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, will fight and beat Jonnie Rice and Luis Ortiz, walking into 2023 as the consensus top challenger to all four heavyweight titles.

-- Floyd Mayweather will meet Jake Paul in a “real” sanctioned bout, causing boxing “purists” to have a mass aneurysm. It’ll be the most lucrative PPV boxing match since Mayweather-Conor McGregor.

-- DAZN commentators Chris Mannix, Todd Grisham, and Sergio Mora will cross-talk something so stupid that it ruptures a hole in the space-time continuum and all of DAZN gets sucked into a parallel dimension where Jermell Charlo-Demetrius Andrade IS the biggest fight in all of boxing and nobody does actually know who would win a Gervonta Davis-Ryan Garcia bout.

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