Let's look at the best of the cards scheduled for December 2021 in Boxing and MMA (Mixed Martial Arts), the most notable fights on them, and who the favorites are.
December 4th: (BOXING) Devin Haney vs. Joseph Diaz, Jr.
December 5th: (BOXING) Gervonta Davis vs. Isaac Cruz
December 11th: (BOXING) Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Richard Commey
December 11th: (BOXING) Naoya Inoue vs. Aran Dipaen
CANCELED: December 18th (BOXING) Jake Paul vs. Tommy Fury
December 29th: (BOXING) Gennadiy Golovkin vs. Ryota Murata
December 4th: (MMA) Jose Aldo vs. Rob Font
December 11th: (MMA) Charles Oliveira vs. Dustin Poirier
December 4th: Devin Haney vs. Joseph Diaz, Jr.
Image Credit: DAZN
Now this is a fight featuring two talented, young, hungry fighters with complementary styles. Let’s take a quick look first at the defending champion, Devin Haney.
Devin Haney: A lightweight World Champion at 22, Haney’s accomplishments largely speak for themselves. While he began competing against somewhat lackluster opponents, he has recently stepped up the competition with an extremely live challenger in Jorge Linares, and he overcame adversity to win a clear decision. Quick and to the point as a slick, elusive boxer, Haney’s game plan will be to use blistering speed and hair trigger reflexes to win the day.
Joseph Diaz, Jr.: At 28 years old, Joseph ‘Jojo’ Diaz, Jr. is no aged veteran like Linares was. He’s a dangerous, highly-active body-puncher with a lot to prove. He’s dealt with a variety of fighters, from the notoriously dirty Javier Fortuna to the always live Tevin Farmer, he knows how to execute his gameplan. Look for Jojo to be the strong man in the ring, trying to force Haney to brawl and take Jojo’s big bodyshots.
Prediction: Haney by UD. Jojo is certainly a live challenger, and we’ve seen that Haney can indeed get hurt if he’s caught, but I just don’t think Jojo can catch him enough to put the incredibly elusive Haney down. Still, Jojo is a deadly body-puncher, so if he can take Devin’s legs away, he has a shot.
HOW TO WATCH: Live on DAZN on December 4, 2021 at TBD.
December 5th: Gervonta Davis vs. Isaac Cruz
Image Credit: Twitter
Davis has proven time and time again that he is an elite champion, and Isaac ‘Pitbull’ Cruz always comes to win. What’s not to love about what is sure to be an all action fight?
Gervonta Davis: Gervonta Davis is an incredibly dangerous counterpuncher with a solid chin as well. For proof, just watch his knockout of Leo Santa Cruz. He’s got Floyd Mayweather in his corner, incredible power, and solid defensive technique which makes him a highly volatile fighter. Look for him to block, evade, and time Isaac Cruz to try and put him down in destructive fashion.
Isaac Cruz: Currently ranked the number 6 lightweight by the WBC, Cruz knows how to bring the pressure to anyone he fights. Afterall, he’s named the “Pitbull” for a reason. Look for him to bring volume, pressure, and high-low combinations to try and punch a hole in Davis’ defense and perhaps test his chin and longevity down the stretch.
Prediction: Davis by mid-round KO. Conventional wisdom has the pressure/volume puncher Cruz beating the counterpuncher Davis. However, I think the fact that Davis truly does hit like a truck full of bricks will make a difference here. I think Cruz will get lost in his offense and get tagged with something big in the mid-late rounds.
HOW TO WATCH: Live on Showtime on December 5, 2021 at 8:00 PM EST.
December 11th: Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Richard Commey
Image Credit: ESPN Press Room
Vasiliy Lomachenko continues his quest to get a rematch against Teofimo Lopez by going after yet another of Teofimo’s past opponents: hardy, power puncher, Richard Commey. Meanwhile, Richard Commey has a chance to rocket himself back into the title picture by beating the extremely skilled Lomachenko.
Vasiliy Lomachenko: Lomachenko is an incredibly skilled technician known for being so incredibly elusive and hard to find on offense that many of his opponents have quit on the stool. He suffered the first major setback of his career when he lost in what many consider to be quite an upset to Teofimo Lopez. Since then, Lomachenko has been hunting for a rematch, but Teofimo has continuously refused. In response, Lomachenko has been hunting Lopez’ past opponents in a quest to beat them in more convincing fashion than Teofimo did in order to prove his worthiness of a rematch. Look for Lomachenko to cut angles, use Southpaw rhythm games, and smart combination punching to constantly keep Commey from sitting on his punches.
Richard Commey: The devastating puncher from Ghana has his work cut out for him, but Commey has never once been afraid of a fight. With criminally underrated fundamentals and spatial judgment, he’s actually quite a deadly counterpuncher and a ferocious finisher. He’s also a warrior with an iron heart, so look for him to try and hunt down Loma and force an exchange where his significant strength advantage will give him the edge.
Prediction: Lomachenko by UD. Commey has a puncher’s chance, but Lomachenko is just so elusive and so aggressive that it will be hard for Commey to get a word in edgewise during the fight.
HOW TO WATCH: Live on ESPN+ on December 11, 2021 at TBD.
December 11th: Naoya Inoue vs. Aran Dipaen
Image Credit: YouTube.com
Naoya Inoue is one of the best fighters alive today, and has the distinction of also being one of the most exciting. Meanwhile, Aran Dipaen is taking his first step into world waters with this fight, and what a step it is!
Naoya Inoue: One of the best elite boxers in the sport today, Naoya Inoue is an incredibly dangerous puncher with fantastic boxing technique and footwork to back up his power. Expect him to come forward and punish every mistake made by his opponent to try and win the match in explosive fashion.
Aran Dipaen: After recently claiming the international title from the IBF, Aran Dipaen has taken what some might call, to put it lightly, an insane step up in competition. There isn’t much footage of him competing against a live opponent, but from what little there is, he seems to be an outside fighter, which many have theorized to be the blueprint to defeat Inoue.
Prediction: Inoue by 1st round KO. Frankly this is a filler fight for Inoue. The reason you watch it is to watch one of the best, most exciting fighters in the world do his thing, not for a spectacular game competition.
HOW TO WATCH: Live on TBA on December 11, 2021 at TBD.
CANCELED: December 18th: Jake Paul vs. Tommy Fury
Image Credit: Total Sportal
Update: As of December 6, 2021, this fight has been canceled. Jake Paul will now take on Tyron Woodley.
Social media star Jake Paul takes on the brother of heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in what is easily his most difficult fight.
Jake Paul: A controversial social media star that has lately been making waves in boxing by fighting retired MMA fighters and other influencers in boxing matches, Jake Paul faces the first dedicated boxer in his career. Credit where credit is due, there is every indication that he does train surprisingly hard and has a quality coaching staff, so we’ll see if his limited experience and knockout power are enough to beat the superior boxer. Side note, he actually does have decent beginner footwork and timing, so that might give him an edge if he knows how to use it.
Tommy Fury: The younger Fury has everything to lose in this fight. He’s the more elite boxer with the better resume, and losing to Paul would be a setback he might never recover from. Look for him to use the Fury signature style: a mix of herky jerky movement, awkward jabs, and rough and tumble offense on the inside.
Prediction: Tommy Fury by KO. Paul is going against a truly live body for the first time in his career, and Tommy Fury has an awkward style that tends to cause big problems for beginner fighters who don’t know how to set and adjust rhythm well yet. My guess is that Paul gasses out and Fury finishes him, but Paul has the power to win on faith. IF Paul takes Fury out, and it's a big if, then he has my respect as a boxer, but until then, I’m predicting Fury takes it.
HOW TO WATCH: Live on Showtime on December 18, 2021 at 9:00 PM EST.
December 29th: Gennadiy Golovkin vs. Ryota Murata
Image Credit: AP & Mikey Williams/Top Rank
Gennadiy Golovkin is entering the twilight of his extremely successful career and is now seeking one last big fight against Canelo Alvarez. However, to do so, he has to get past tough veteran contender Ryota Murata who isn’t looking to be Golovkin’s stepping stone.
Gennady Golovkin: The boogieman of the middleweight division for the majority of his career, Golovkin may have faded but he’s still a force to be reckoned with. He needs an impressive win against Murata in order to catch Canelo’s interest and he knows it, so look for him to bring nonstop pressure and his crushing power to bear as early as possible.
Ryota Murata: Something of a kindred spirit for Golovkin, Murata won’t be attempting to box GGG like so many others. He loves the close-up firefight and the grimy inside fight, and he wants to beat Golovkin at his own game. Look for him to stand in the pocket and use his clever and sometimes sticky hands to blind and control Golovkin’s head movement.
Prediction: Golovkin by Decision. Personally, I think Murata is underrated, but I think Golovkin is a top 10 pound for pound. Murata won’t go down easily, but I don’t think he can outpoint Golovkin. GGG is just too active and his gas tank is too good.
HOW TO WATCH: Live on DAZN on December 29, 2021 at TBD.
December 4th: Jose Aldo vs. Rob Font
Image Credit: USA Today
Jose Aldo is the underdog for this fight, which used to be unheard of. However, he simply hasn’t been the same since losing to McGregor and certainly has something to prove against Rob Font.
Jose Aldo: Aldo is a former featherweight champion, hall-of-famer, and one of the most exciting strikers in the sport, and yet his age and the ring wear of his long career have certainly taken their toll. Still, he certainly has enough left in him to be a dangerous opponent for just about anyone, and will look to leverage his experience and natural athleticism to keep Font on the backfoot.
Rob Font: A growing attraction out of the UK, Font is coming off a very good win streak, including a strikes finish of former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt. With a small reach advantage but much less experience, can Rob Font bring his fight to a new level against Aldo?
Prediction: Font by Strikes Finish. Aldo is a great fighter, and normally his experienced edge would make me give it to him. But watching Font’s highlights, I think his style is just all wrong for Aldo. Font controls space, something that has always given Aldo trouble.
HOW TO WATCH: Live on ESPN+ on December 4, 2021 at 10:00 PM EST.
December 11th: Charles Oliveira vs. Dustin Poirier
Image Credit: ITN WWE
Another matchup of skilled strikers, this time at Lightweight. Charles Oliveira is the more varied of the two, but being a specialist has its perks. Who will prevail?
Charles Oliveira: The current lightweight champion is a well-rounded fighter with a good foundation in striking. He also has a marginally better ground game than Poirier does, which he likely plans to use both to score points for takedowns and possibly to set up ground and pound opportunities.
Dustin Poirier: A veteran contender and striking specialist, Poirier has some good names under his belt (McGregor being the most recent big name). He does struggle on the ground, but usually does well to avoid that position. Look for him to leverage his elite striking at range to try and bring down the tough Oliveira.
Prediction: Oliveira by TKO. You know by now I love a varied gameplan, and I just think Oliveira has more ways to win than Poirier, but this is by no means a cut and dry fight. Poirier is a live body and a dangerous opponent for anyone at lightweight.
HOW TO WATCH: Live on ESPN+ on December 11, 2021 at 10:00 PM EST.
Note: All information is accurate as of November 28, 2021.