Michael Richards @GlobalBoxing1
I have been sitting back for a while, eagerly anticipating Anthony Joshua’s next opponent, hoping the number one heavyweight in the world (personal opinion) can finally become undisputed king or at the very least, share a ring with someone worthy of challenging him.
With his next opponent now basically confirmed by AJ in that now viral, recorded phone call as Jarrell Miller, I feel it’s now time for me to rant about this ridiculous situation and defend the man who really doesn’t need any defending.
I know people will read this and feel compelled to start informing me about purse splits and percentages of revenue etc. Let’s be honest, we all know Fury, Wilder and Whyte would get career high paydays if they stepped in the ring with Joshua. All this talk of offers not being enough says more about the challengers than it does Joshua.
Let’s start with Deontay Wilder, the man who quoted, “one champion, one face, one name”, but then forgets he walked away from a massive offer to face Joshua, fought Fury and the rest is history. Boxing is full of bravado and brash talk from boxers. That’s what makes the sport what it is.
Unfortunately however, you find that talk is cheap and this is the case with Wilder. He went on to face Tyson Fury, a man with excellent ring craft and impeccable footwork, but not a heavyweight who will inflict serious damage. Reviewing the career of Wilder, the only opponent he has faced who has a half decent power punch was Luis Ortiz- and he is questionably just the right side of forty years of age. He could be part of one of the biggest heavyweight matchups in history, but Joshua is deemed too much of a risk, make no mistake.
Fury himself has spoken about taking nothing less than a 50/50 split to face AJ. Again, it’s another move that will never see the fight made and another avenue that is closed off for Joshua. There is no doubt that a fight between Britain’s two best heavyweights attracts huge commercial and public interest. It is one for the so called ‘casual’ fan and breaks all kinds of box office records in this country. However, what people seem to conveniently forget is the profile built up by Joshua and Matchroom.
Whether it is believed by the many or the few, AJ is the one who brings the money. He is potentially the face of the sport and the money he earns reflects that. There’s no doubt Fury should be paid vast sums, but is he entitled to the same as Joshua? Common sense says he isn’t.
That brings me on to the final leg of the tripod of potential opponents- Dillian Whyte. I’ve got a soft spot for Whyte. I see him as the most improved heavyweight over the last twelve months and the one man who deserves a shot at a world title. He’s gone about business correctly and took on all comers, patiently waiting for his chance.
That brings us up to last week when he was reportedly offered £5m to face Joshua. Now, call me stupid, but for a heavyweight with no world titles, not world renowned and craving a world title shot, surely that kind of money is more than enough to trade leather with a man holding three of the four belts. Don’t get me wrong, every boxer has their value and rightly so, but a line has to be drawn somewhere.
I’m not going to sit here and make accusations that certain boxers are ducking fights and more specifically, opponents. They are all fighting men, but it’s evident for some the risks outweigh the rewards and others value themselves too highly.
Either way, it means the fights we crave won’t be made. What I will say however, is people find it easier to cast aspersions against our most successful active boxer due to their agenda against a certain Mr Hearn, their love for Tyson Fury or just to feel relevant and controversial.
In a world in which money trumps legacy, lets all hope that common sense and the will to be great wins the day.