No two One Piece fans agree 100% on how they think the series is going to end, and one of those debates is about which opponents Luffy has yet to fight. Almost all fans agree that he will come to blows with his nemesis, Blackbeard. Shanks, Luffy’s idol, is another viable candidate. While there is no animosity between the two, their promise to meet again kicked off the entire series, and as a member of the Yonko, Shanks is a hindrance in Luffy’s path to claiming a claim. the throne of Pirate King.
Then there is the Admiral of the Marine Fleet, Sakazuki, also known as Akainu. While Luffy and Sakazuki have a history together – and a grudge against each other – the fact that Sakazuki is not a pirate – and does not aim for the Pirate King’s throne – means that many One Piece fans don’t believe they are going to fight. At the very least, it’s unnecessary to allow Luffy to make his dream come true. Despite that, it’s almost guaranteed the two will one day go head-to-head – here’s why.
Sakazuki is the man who killed Portgas D. Ace, Luffy’s brother, in front of the Straw Hat captain. To this day, Ace still hasn’t been avenged, and given the impact of his death on Luffy, One Piece is unlikely to end without the Straw Hat Captain changing that. A few chapters later, Oda decided to give the two characters a permanent physical bond: Akainu burned Luffy across the chest, giving the protagonist his now famous scar. This scar has since become an iconic part of Luffy’s personality, and also serves as a constant reminder of the unresolved accounts he has with the villain who inflicted this injury on him.
Two years later, Jimbei informs Luffy of the big changes on the world stage that he missed during his training on Rusukaina Island: Blackbeard’s rise to Yonko status and Sakazuki’s rise to the position of admiral of the fleet. It is at the mention of Akainu that Luffy’s scar wakes up, reminding readers that the mark on his chest is not just a facade. Even two years after the Marineford arc, Luffy’s trauma persists. This scene reaffirms Sakazuki’s position as a threat alongside Blackbeard, and one of the two leading figures of the current world order that must be brought down.
While we don’t know how One Piece’s Wano arc will end, Luffy looks set to defeat the Yonko Kaido. Some fans claim this means Luffy will be above the Akainu in the show’s hierarchy – as powerful as the Admirals are, they have been shown to be inferior to the Yonko in terms of strength. However, as an Admiral of the Fleet, Sakazuki stands at a higher level than he occupied as an ordinary Admiral. At the time, Sakazuki already possessed the fruit of the most offensive demon, he struck whitebeard himself, the strongest pirate in the world, and inflicted fatal damage on him. Sakazuki and his Magma-Magma fruit are extremely powerful, and while he’s grown over the next couple of years, there’s no doubt he’s one of the strongest characters in One Piece right now.