By Paul Magno | January 04, 2021

2021 brings with it some degree of hope...and, given the year we just went through, boxing wishes are way down the "hope and prayers" list. But this is a boxing column and, so, let's talk boxing things. 

Here's my personal 2021 wish list for the sport we love.

-- I hope for David Benavidez to stop giving off signs that he's going to implode. The kid is a genius-level offensive fighter and one of my personal favorites-- and fighting him is a risk too tall to take already. Him losing the same title twice in two years-- via drug suspension and then failure to make weight-- without being defeated shows some serious self-sabotage issues. If he keeps giving off these vibes that he's going to sink his own career and remove himself from the scene, the top dogs in his weight range are going to sit back and let him do it. 

-- Gennadiy Golovkin vs. Demetrius Andrade rather than Gennadiy Golovkin vs. Jaime Munguia. I want Golovkin tested against a style that's not tailor made to his liking. Munguia is a tough kid and cocksure as all hell, but he's exactly what Triple G wants to see across the ring from him. Andrade would make him work and think. Admittedly, half the reason for me wanting to see Golovkin tested is to see him fail. But the other half of the reason is because I do, legitimately, I want to see him have to adapt and showcase another side of himself that he's never had to show before. At 38, it may be too late for anything outside his comfort zone, but I'd like to see it at least once before he retires.

-- My heavyweight wish is Fury-Joshua and not Fury-Wilder 3. Honestly, given Wilder's realities right at the moment, I don't see him doing any better against Fury now than he did last time. The heavyweight fight to make is the one that will unify all four belts. 

-- My desire to see Fury-Joshua next isn't a knock against Deontay Wilder. I think it's good for the American fight scene if we have a prominent American heavyweight among the top names in the sport. However, Wilder needs to get his head together and tighten up his game before throwing himself back into the upper tier. I love the idea of a Wilder-Andy Ruiz "last chance" showdown in the second half of 2021 with, perhaps, more of a tune-up for Wilder in the first half of the year. 

-- More cooperation among promoters/networks or, at least, the realization that they have to make steps in that direction if they want to improve the overall health of the sport. Some consideration has to be shown to the fans who deserve to actually see the fights they want to see and not just be nudged into paying for stuff that's "as good as they're gonna get."

-- Spence vs. Crawford, of course (See Above)

-- The beginning of a lightweight run of best vs. best fights featuring Teofimo Lopez, Gervonta Davis, Ryan Garcia, Devin Haney, and Vasily Lomachenko.

-- The beginning of a light heavyweight run of best vs. best fights featuring Artur Beterbiev, Dmitry Bivol, Sergey Kovalev, Gilberto Ramirez, Jean Pascal, Badou Jack, and the winner of Joe Smith Jr.-Maxim Vlasov.

-- For the fifth straight year, here's hoping that Gary Russell Jr. is more active. His once-a-year fight plan does nobody any good.

-- For Canelo, Avni Yildirim is acceptable in February if we get Billy Joe Saunders and another high-end opponent in September. 

-- For Mikey Garcia, I hope he ditches the endless career-stalling pursuit of a Manny Pacquiao payout and entertains some other, more competitively intriguing matchups. Garcia is a uniquely skilled and focused fighter and it's an utter waste to see him spinning his wheels, chasing the Pacquiao payday. 

-- Manny Pacquiao vs. Shawn Porter. It's the most fan-friendly matchup out there for Pacquiao and it delivers a big payday to a guy in Porter who deserves a big payday. And, maybe just as important, it frees up Errol Spence and Terence Crawford to pursue each other rather than pursuing Pacquiao. 

-- The return to prominence of fan favorites like Jarrett Hurd, Nonito Donaire, Julian Williams, Adam Kownacki, David Lemieux, Ray Beltran, and, really, anyone else who delivers quality, entertaining performances and is, through defeat or inactivity, no longer a main stage presence.

-- Finally-- and most important-- health, happiness, and peace of mind to all of the fight fans and Fight Hype loyalists reading this (even the haters, suckers, and pantsloads). 

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