What’s next for 168?

With the Ryder/Parker fight ending the way it did (get well quickly, Parker), the next year or so of 168 fights are shaping up. Obviously, Canelo is the main attraction. He’s likely fighting Ryder on Cinco de Mayo weekend before rematching Bivol at 175 in September (a fight that I see him losing again, but that’s the fight he clearly wants). Here’s how I see the rest of the division shaping up:

Benavidez, after beating Plant in early/mid 2023, becomes a mandatory for Nelo and sits on that status for a 2024 showdown (in Mexico would be cool, but probably Vegas)

I see David Morrell getting busy in 2023, fighting one more guy on the fringes of rankings (Uzcategui?) before taking on at least one, probably 2 legit contenders. He’s been calling out Benavidez, but I don’t see that happening for a little bit, so maybe Plant (to prove he can fight the same caliber of guys as Benavidez) or Gongora.

Other fights I’d like to see at Super Middleweight:

Danny Jacobs vs Zach Parker: 2 guys who are looking for rebounds after tough losses, both to John Ryder. For Jacobs, it’s a statement win that proves he’s still a legit fighter and re-opens his title fight consideration window. For Parker, it’s a chance to get a well-known guy on his résumé and get back in the win column.

Pavel Silyagin vs Ali Akhmedov: Pavel Silyagin is a relative unknown who’s ranked by the WBC and is actually really talented. I’d love to see him move out of Russia and fight a name, but that probably won’t happen given the current situation. Still, a fight between Silyagin and Akhmedov fascinates me stylistically.

Lerrone Richards vs Edgar Berlanga: 2 undefeated, fairly young fighters who are very talented. Would be a fun matchup, could really step up one of them into title consideration if it’s a fun fight.

Diego Pacheco vs Shane Mosley Jr. : Pacheco steps up into fringe contender status against a fairly well-known guy in Mosley

Let me know what you think of my ideas, and if you have any other ideas of what some guys should do next year at what is, in my opinion the division with some of the biggest potential, mostly due to Canelo and the various fights that they could make to set up Canelo opponents.

Agree it’s a pretty stacked weight. Not really much to add as it’s a really in depth post haha.

One person I wonder if we will ever see back is Billy Joe Saunders. I see he has been back training. Thought he was actually doing well v Canelo before he got his face caved in!

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Agreed. He’s done better against Canelo than anyone outside of Bivol since his move up to 168. If he returns in 2023, I’d assume it to be late, maybe against a tune-up with name value. Gabe Rosado? Not a fight that many people would get excited for but could be interesting, and could be a main card fight for a big UK event.

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