By Max Schramm: Eddie Hearn expects big things from Devin Haney, George Kambosos Jr, Ryan Garcia, Canelo Alvarez, Teofimo Lopez, and Deontay Wilder in 2022.
The Matchroom Boxing promoter Hearn wants to see WBC lightweight champion Haney (27-0, 15 KOs) and undisputed champion Kambosos mix it up in the early part of next year in April or May with all for belts on the line in Australia.
Hearn would like to put fights together between Conor Benn and Adrien Broner and Deontay Wilder and Dereck Chisora. Those would be interesting match-ups if Hearn can get them made.
Another exciting fight that Hearn would like to put together is between Teofimpo Lopez and Montana Love at 140.
Love would be the former undisputed lightweight champion Teofimo’s welcoming committee to the light welterweight division in the first quarter of 2022.
George Kambosos Jr. vs. Devin Haney in April/May?
“There is only one fight for Devin Haney in boxing, and there is only one fight for George Kambosos in boxing. It’s the big undisputed argument. Who is the undisputed? I will answer that as Father Christmas,” said Eddie Hearn to DAZN on Tuesday.
“Ho-ho-ho, George Kambosos is definitely not the undisputed lightweight champion because Devin Haney is the WBC lightweight champion,” Hearn continued.
“As great as George Kambosos is, he cannot say he’s undisputed until he challenges and potentially defeats Devin Haney. He has a chance to do it in Australia and create a historic moment after your emphatic win at Madison Square Garden [against Teofimo Lopez on November 27th].
“So, let’s bring the gifts out to the people. George Kambosos against Devin Haney in April, May 2022, anywhere you want in Australia,” said Hearn in challenging Kambosos to take the fight with Devin.
Of all the fights Hearn mentioned wanting to see in 2022 for his Christmas list, Kambosos Jr. vs. Haney has an excellent chance of happening.
Undisputed lightweight champion Kambosos specifically mentioned Haney earlier today on Tuesday, saying that he needs to sell his jewelry collection to come up with more money to make their match happen.
Kambosos (20-0, 10 KOs) mentioned Haney rather than the other four Kings on his list is a strong indication that he wants him next.
We already know that Hearn wants the Kambosos vs. Haney fight, and he’s going to exhaust all efforts to make that contest happen.
Hearn wants Conor Benn vs. Adrien Broner
“We continue our season of giving with, I believe a prospect, and we can’t even call him a prospect anymore of 2022, Conor ‘The Destroyer’ Benn. What a great year, what a great run.
“Sebastian Formella, Samuel Vargas, Adrian Granados, and the knockout of the year against Chris Algieri. But what will Father Christmas bring Conor Benn in 2022? Well, it’s definitely the Adrien Broner fight.
Book that one into the O2 [Arena in London]. That’s an instant 20,000 sellout. I spoke to Mr. Broner the other night.
“I know he’s thinking about 140 pounds, I know he’s thinking about a nice little warm-up fight first, but if I can deliver anything for Benn for Christmas, it’ll be AB About Billions,” Hearn said.
It’s going to take a lot of work on Hearn’s part to get the former four-division world champion Adrien ‘The Problem’ Broner (34-4-1, 24 KOs) to jump straight into a fight against unbeaten welterweight contender Conor Benn (20-0, 13 Kos) next.
Broner, 32, hasn’t fought since last February, and he doesn’t seem to fancy the idea of facing the powerful young gun Benn in his first fight back after a year-long layoff.
To add to that, Broner did NOT look good in his last fight against 140-lb fringe contender Jovanie Santiago, beating him by a questionable 12 round unanimous decision last February in Uncasville, Connecticut.
While it may not seem like a big deal to Hearn for Broner to come off a long one-year+ layoff to fight a dangerous puncher like Benn, it does matter to him.
Broner isn’t looking at this fight as a cash-out. He wants to keep competing and making money.
Unfortunately, if Broner gets badly beaten and knocked out by Benn, his chances of being chosen by other promoters for nice paydays as the B-side for their young stars will decrease.
Broner just wants to make sure he’s the best AB can be when he takes on Benn, and he can’t do that if he rushes into the fight with him after one training camp.
With the ring rust and the five years of lackluster performances by Broner, it’s going to take more than one training camp for him to get the rust off. Broner hasn’t performed well since his win over Ashley Theophane, and that was back in 2016.
Montana Love waiting for Teofimo Lopez
“Well, I’m not sure if I’m welcome in the Teofimo Lopez household at Christmas. I hope I am because we were getting on so well,” said Hearn. “I would like to share Mince pies or a glass of milk or a fine scotch with Mr. Lopez Sr.
“They will be back. They gave us one of the finest fights of the year at Madison Square Garden. It’s probably time [for Teofimo] to move to 140 lbs, and I’ve got just the guy for you. Montana ‘Too Pretty’ Love, our recent signing from Cleveland.
“He just lit up the MGM Grand, one week after Teofimo Lopez against Kambosos. So if you [Teofimo] want to be welcomed into 140 lbs, Montana is waiting for you, Teo. I’ll see you both soon,” said Hearn.
There’s very little chance former IBF/WBA/WBC Franchise/WBO lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez (16-1, 12 KOs) is going to agree to fight unbeaten Montana Love (17-0, 9 KOs) in his first fight back from his loss to Kambosos on November 27th.
The 26-year-old Love is the type of fighter that Teofimo would need to be healthy and coming off an excellent performance to want to take.
Instead, Teofimo is coming off a loss and a throat injury in addition to being weight drained.
Predictably, Teofimo will want an easy fight or two to get adjusted to the 140-lb division, and he’ll want no part in facing the southpaw Montana Love.
Canelo Alvarez must become undisputed at 175
“The great pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez. I know there’s talk about [Ilunga] Makabu, talk about [Jermall] Charlo, and [David] Benavidez,” said Hearn.
“But for me, I would like to provide the gift for a straightforward route to the 175-pound undisputed world championship. He just made history as the first Latin American undisputed champion and the first super middleweight undisputed champion,” said Hearn.
“I believe Canelo Alvarez can do it all over again, but at 175. [Dmitry] Bivol, Joe Smith, [Artur] Beterbiev; there’s the run, all done in a year, history-making, Canelo Alvarez and Eddy Reynoso. They break all the records all over again,” said Hearn of Canelo.
Hearn will need to do a lot of talking to get Canelo to change his mind about going up to cruiserweight to take on WBC champion Ilunga Makabu next May.
While Canelo should do what Hearn asks him to in trying to become the undisputed champion at 175 in 2022, it’s not realistic that he’ll do that.
Canelo is taking a lazy man’s approach to his career, facing only guys that he knows he can beat, and he thinks he can beat Makabu.
For the most part, Canelo has RETIRED from fighting stiff competition since 2018, but he just hasn’t told anyone.
Every opponent that Canelo has faced since his rematch with Gennady Golovkin has been B-level fighters that were beatable.
Canelo’s fight against 34-year-old Ilunga Makabu will be a continuation of the weak opposition that he’s been facing since he stopped taking risks in 2018.
At this point, it’s highly doubtful that Canelo will agree to fight at 175 in 2022 because that would require that he begin fighting elite-level opposition once again.
Demetrius Andrade needs a big fight in 2022
“Well, if there was anyone that deserves a Christmas gift this year, it’s Demetrius Andrade,” said Hearn. “Fresh off an emphatic victory recently against Jason Quigley. He needs the big fights! Who is going to help us for Christmas?
“I can’t do it with all my elves. The reindeers can’t help me now. PBC, Gennadiy Golovkin, Golden Boy, where are you? Let’s bring the season of goodwill to Demetrius ‘Boo Boo’ Andrade.
“Gennadiy Golovkin, [Jermall] Charlo, Jaime Munguia, any one of those three under the tree of Christmas, and its job-done for Demetrius,” said Hearn.
All three of those fighters that Hearn lists above have no desire to share the ring with WBO middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade (31-0, 19 KOs).
Munguia was Andrade’s WBO mandatory, and he STILL wouldn’t take the fight, and he’s gone in a different direction.
IBF middleweight champion Gennadiy Golovkin appears to be playing out what’s left of his career, devoting over a year waiting for a payday fight against WBA champion Ryota Murata. Golovkin isn’t going to fight Andrade or Jermall Charlo.
Andrade needs to move up to 168 to force undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez to either fight him or vacate one of his titles. Canelo has all four belts, so Andrade can’t go wrong in going up to 168.
If Andrade stays at 160, he’s going to need to defend against his dangerous mandatory Zhanibek Alimkhanuly, who the World Boxing Organization has already ordered him to defend against next.
Ryan Garcia vs. Isaac ‘Pitbull’ Cruz & Haney
“Mr. Ryan Garcia, it’s time to deliver him a little bit of good luck and good fortune in 2022,” said Hearn. “Time to get him in the mix for some big fights. He had a good win against Luke Campbell, but that was in January 2021.
“It’s been well over a year out of the ring, and we can’t wait to see him back live on DAZN. Who should he fight? I’m going to go with Isaac Cruz.
“It’s a dangerous fight to return to. I believe there are some rumblings and some rumors of this fight.
“Hopefully, Golden Boy can make him a big fight, and once Devin Haney has won the undisputed world championship, we’ll give Ryan Garcia a shot guaranteed,” said Hearn.
Golden Boy Promotions are trying to negotiate a fight between the unbeaten lightweight contender Ryan Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) and Isaac ‘Pitbull’ Cruz (22-2-1, 15 KOs) for early 2022.
The only way that fight doesn’t happen is if Ryan suffers a setback with his hand injury or another physical ailment that prevents him from facing Pitbull.
Devin Haney vs. Ryan Garcia has very little chance of happening in 2022 because Devin will be moving up to 140 after his fight with undisputed lightweight champion George Kambosos Jr.
Once Haney is campaigning at 140, that’s going to be the reason why Ryan won’t fight him. Unlike Canelo Alvarez, Ryan hasn’t shown interest in fighting guys outside of his weight class of 135.
Ryan refused to fight Haney even after becoming his WBC mandatory with his win over Luke Campbell in a title eliminator last January means he doesn’t want the fight.
Deontay Wilder vs. Dereck Chisora in 2022?
“Well, my good friend Deontay Wilder. It’s time to bring some Christmas cheer to the great heavyweight,” said Hearn about the former WBC heavyweight champion Wilder.
“Who would have thought the two back-to-back stoppage losses would have raised his popularity and his profile so high?
“He showed so much heart last time out against Tyson Fury and gained so many fans. Deontay, we want to see you back in the ring. I know there’s been some talk about retirement.
“You still have so much to give and so many great fights, and I’ve got the perfect guy for you—Dereck ‘ War’ Chisora. Come on, he’s getting on a little bit, and he’s coming off three defeats on the spin now.
“It’s an easy fight for Deontay Wilder. Dereck is ready. Deontay, you were great last time out. I’ll see you back in the ring. Wilder vs. Chisora coming to you in 2022,” said Hearn.
Dereck Chisora (32-12, 23 KOs) wants a fight with former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, but I don’t think the feelings are mutual.
For Wilder to take this fight with Chisora would be a considerable step down from the type of fighters he’s faced in the last three years.
Losing to Tyson Fury twice by knockout didn’t crush Wilder’s career, but getting by Chisora would irreparably damage what’s left of the Bronze Bomber’s popularity.
The chances are that Wilder would land one of his vast right hands on the chin of Chisora and knock him clean out, but that might not happen if Deontay suffers a hand injury.
If Wilder gets hurt early on, Chisora will give him a lot of problems with his pressure and his ability to fight hard in brief spurts.
Hearn will need to make Wilder a considerable offer to get him to agree to a fight with Chisora, but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for this match-up to happen in 2022.
Julio Cesar Martinez – time to unify
“Let’s bring some Christmas cheer to Mexico. One of my favorite fighters with the little man with the big heart, Julio Cesar Martinez. It’s time to unify. Give me Artem Dalakian or, more particularly, give me Sunny Edwards.
“Can he get revenge for his brother’s [Charlie Edwards] defeat, no contest, to Julio Cesar Martinez? It’s the unification fight, and I spoke to Julio Cesar Martinez, and I spoke to Eddy Reynoso.
“They’re ready for the fight. Let’s make this one happen,” said Hearn.
WBC flyweight champion Julio Cesar Martinez (18-1, 14 KOs) has an excellent chance of fighting WBA 112-lb champion Artem Dalakian in 2022, but probably not Sunny Edwards.
Martinez, 26, is too dangerous for the light hitting Sunny Edwards, and he won’t want to take a risk fighting the Mexican warrior.
The fights that Martinez needs in 2022 are against these guys:
- Roman Gonzalez
- Juan Francisco Estrada
- Srisaket Sor Rungvisai
- Carlos Cuadras
- Donnie Nietes
- Jerwin Ancajas
- Kazuto Ioka
- Francisco Rodriguez Jr
Terence Crawford vs. Errol Spence Jr
“My old mate Terence Crawford. I remember many years ago Terence Crawford came all the way to Glasgow, and one of my shoes to beat Ricky Burns to win the 135 pound WBO world championship,” said Hearn about Crawford’s 12 round unanimous decision win over Ricky Burns in March 2014.
“I thought that night, ‘He’s special, this kid,’ and how good has he been? Undisputed at 140, and now I feel the number one in the division at 147,” said Hearn.
“Like Demetrius Andrade, who is going to help us deliver the Christmas cheer for Terence Crawford? Errol Spence, no disrespect, we don’t want to see the [Yordenis] Ugas fight.
“We just want to see Spence against Crawford. Time for the elves to dust their magic on the PBC and give the people the fight they want. Crawford vs. Spence,” said Hearn.
If IBF/WBC welterweight champion Errol Spence (27-0, 21 KOs) defeats WBA champion Yordenis Ugas (27-4, 12 KOs) in early 2022, there’s a chance that we could see a Spence-Crawford fight.
It’s doubtful that Spence will want to take on Crawford if he struggles against Ugas. Even if Spence beats Ugas, if the fight proves to be a difficult one, it’s unlikely that he’ll want to face Crawford.
Jake Paul vs. Conor McGregor
“Of course, we end with the great Jake Paul,” said Hearn in bringing up the celebrity boxer. “I know there’s a lot of hate, and I know there’s a lot of people whose feathers are ruffled.
“Come on, respect the guy. He’s in the gym; he’s knocking people out. And he’s yet to fight a true boxer, but he’s improving and putting the graft in, raising the profile of the sport, and soon to be my co-promoter in the biggest female fight of all time, Katie Taylor against Amanda Serrano.
“Fingers crossed for that one,” said Hearn. “So it’s down to myself and Jake Paul to deliver you the Christmas cheer for that tremendous fight. But for Jake Paul personally, the fight to make Conor McGregor.
“This is a mega-fight and a really good fight as well. We got to get a catchweight right in the middle, although Conor McGregor looks huge at the moment. Conor McGregor, a legend.
“Jake Paul, not a legend, but a lot of fun, putting the work in. I want to see Jake Paul against Conor McGregor. Let’s get it made. I can’t say it’s at the top of my list of my Christmas cheer on DAZN, but a little bit of fun for the festive season.
“Well, that’s my Christmas gifts for 2021. I hope you have a great holiday season. We look forward to a huge 2022 here on DAZN,” said Hearn.
The 33-year-old former UFC champion Conor McGregor WON’T take on Jake Paul in 2022 because he doesn’t need money and won’t want to be humiliated by a celebrity boxer.
It would be a different story if Jake were a true boxer and a massive star in the sport, but he’s not. McGregor cannot afford to be seen losing to a celebrity boxer like Jake because that would wreck what’s left of his career.