Boxing, UFC strong as ever

Dec 29, 2015 3:03 AM

We are now only days away from 2015 coming to an end, and as a fight fan and bettor, I hope the new year ahead can compare.

Both boxing and mixed martial arts gave us so much action, drama, and of course betting value. We finally witnessed the so called “fight of all time” between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao that was years in the making.

We also watched fighters who were built up as unbeatable, lose. Both Wladimir Klitschko and Ronda Rousey saw their reign come to an end inside the ring and Octagon respectively. While boxing’s biggest star, Floyd Mayweather Jr. chose to hang up his gloves and retire undefeated after an epic and extremely lucrative career.

We also saw the rise of a handful of fighters who had a break-out year and have become global stars. Over these next 12 months we’ll see whether or not they are able to take another step forward and become the new faces of their sport.

It’ll be interesting to see if a handful of contenders can become champions and whether a few champions return to the pinnacle again. Inside the UFC, will Jon Jones be able to pick up where he left off in the 205 lb. division and will Rousey be able to recapture her title against Holly Holm after being dominated in their first fight?

Though some claim both boxing and MMA aren’t as popular as they once were, I could not disagree more.

In fact, I believe both are only gaining in momentum as promotions such as “Premeir Boxing Champions” continues to provide a platform for boxing to be showcased more than ever before on network television.

In MMA, the sport’s biggest promotion the UFC continues to sell out venues all over the world and expand globally. Both serve as perfect examples that the fight game is only going to grow in popularity moving forward.

Speaking of forward, we’ve got a lot of already scheduled bouts to get excited about in 2016… and even more highly anticipated fights that may get made.

In boxing, Sergey Kovalev gives Jean Pascal another shot at his titles in a rematch, Manny Pacquiao is set to return to the ring in May, and of course, speculation of Gennady Golovkin and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez meeting is gaining traction as both camps say they want the fight.

UFC kicks off the new year with welterweight champion Robbie Lawler putting his strap on the line against Carlos Condit. The next 12 months will also offer up Rousey vs. Holm 2, as President Dana White has already stated it’s what’s next for both women.

Also, newly crowned heavyweight titlist Fabricio Werdum gives Cain Velasquez a shot at redemption. We’ve also got upcoming title fights, including current champions Conor McGregor, Demetrious Johnson, TJ Dillashaw, Daniel Cormier, Luke Rockhold, Rafael dos Anjos, and Joanna Jedrzejczyk on the docket for 2016.

I have very little doubt that 12 months from now we’ll reflect on the past year wondering whether or not the upcoming 2017 will come close to comparing to 2016.

Vegas-Runner is a professional bettor/handicapper featured on CNBC, ESPN, FOX, Yahoo, CBS This Morning, The Herd, JT the Brick, & More. Follow VR on Twitter @Greek_Gamblerand at the home of the Animals, Contact Vegas Runner at [email protected].