THE heavyweight landscape is a mess. That isn’t news, nor is it a sharp observation – it’s just obvious. There is potential for it to be the sport’s banner division to lead from the front, to have the best fighting the best and producing the kind of drama that can only be summoned by boxing’s giant men. We had confirmation this week that Anthony Joshua will rematch Dillian Whyte and Oleksandr Usyk is fighting Daniel Dubois next. And while both are interesting match ups, they are not what fans have been asking for. At the time of this writing, Tyson Fury is on the verge of announcing a pointless crossover fight with mixed martial arts star Francis Ngannou.
So there is a lot to be frustrated about. According to SportingNews.com, Fury is solely to blame. In a column penned by writer Andreas Hale, it is posited that ‘The Gypsy King’ is holding up the entire division and therefore blocking all of the meaningful and exciting fights that could be made.
“Ever since he defeated Deontay Wilder in an epic third encounter back in October 2021, Fury’s moves have been impossible to understand,” the piece reads.
“First, he announced his retirement after knocking out Dillian Whyte in a mandatory defence, and then he pulled the bait and switch with Anthony Joshua several times over before settling on another fight nobody wanted with Derek Chisora at the end of 2022.
“And the moves only have been more bizarre since then.
“Instead of an undisputed heavyweight championship showdown with fellow titleholder Usyk, Fury has done everything but give the fans what they want. He teased a boxing match with former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou and when that didn’t materialise, he started rattling off names of heavyweights nobody cared about.”
All that is true. But to lay the blame squarely at Fury’s feet is unfair and shortsighted. He has undoubtedly caused problems in making the biggest fights, namely a monster clash with Usyk, but it isn’t all his fault. Take the Ngannou fight, for example. Fury is being offered tens of millions of pounds to box someone he could beat with one arm, in a fight that wouldn’t even affect his official boxing record should he miraculously lose. Can you really blame him for taking that? It’s a prizefighter’s dream.
The issue is that such a fight is even an option at all. If anyone is to blame, it’s those footing the bill of Fury-Ngannou.
Then there is Joshua-Whyte. It’s actually an intriguing rematch, particularly at this point in their careers, but as Hale points out it is not the first choice for Joshua’s next fight if you were to ask fans. That would be Wilder. It would be ridiculous, though, to blame Fury for that. He has nothing to do with it. And by all accounts, should Joshua beat Whyte he’ll be facing Wilder in December.
The blame game doesn’t really help anyone. The issues with the heavyweight division are not the fault of one person but are rather the result of numerous failings within boxing.
The Joshua-Whyte fight has drawn criticism for another reason – its pay-per-view price. It will air on DAZN here in the UK and will cost £26.99 to watch. Many fans have taken to social media to complain about the cost and Eddie Hearn, who is promoting the fight, was asked directly about it on talkSPORT. His answer was essentially ‘don’t hate the player, hate the game.’
“I think the last pay-per-view, I think it was Oleksandr Usyk, I think it was £29.99. Something like that? It is always around £24, £26, pay-per-view is pay-per-view. We have been there a million times,” he said.
Again, this isn’t the fault of one person. PPV prices have been rising for years and, in case you haven’t noticed, the cost of literally everything is on the rise. That doesn’t make the pill any easier to swallow, and for many this price tag will be too much of a stretch for one card.
It’s been revealed that DAZN has acquired failing influencer boxing promotion Kingpyn Boxing. The company filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, however DAZN has plucked it from the brink of oblivion. It would have been nice if those resources had gone to actual boxing outfits instead.
Ryan Garcia’s relationship with Golden Boy Promotions, who represent him, and more specifically Oscar De La Hoya himself has been rocky of late. Since Garcia’s loss to Gervonta Davis back in April, it’s been unclear what the working relationship is actually like; Garcia has expressed his disappointment in how Golden Boy has treated him recently while De La Hoya has tweeted about how well discussions are going over Garcia’s next fight.
One person who definitely isn’t helping is Bernard Hopkins, who has been a part of Golden Boy for many years now. In an interview with The Spit Bucket, Hopkins reflected on Garcia’s stoppage loss to Davis and insisted that the 24-year-old handled it like a “boy” whereas De La Hoya responded to body-shot stoppage losses like a “man” when he was fighting.
To make things clear; Garcia still works with Golden Boy and one of the promotion’s most prominent spokespeople is openly mocking and belittling him in the media. Once his current contract is up, why would Garcia bother sticking with people who clearly don’t respect him? And how must other fighters on the Golden Boy roster feel if this is how the company speaks about one of its most marketable stars? It’s the sort of midlife crisis drivel you hear from UFC President Dana White, who at least has the luxury of knowing his is the biggest game in town, so his fighters almost have no choice but to suck it up.
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