AJ—Line ‘em up

By Ben Thomsett on December 19, 2018
AJ—Line ‘em up
“Wait long by the river and the bodies of your enemies will float by.” Not bad, eh?

Sun Tzu was kind of right. If Anthony Joshua waits long enough by the boxing river his enemies will float by…

“Wait long by the river and the bodies of your enemies will float by.”—Sun Tzu

How’s that for wisdom? Not bad, eh? A little optimistic, in my view, but I guess the advice is good as long as you pick the right river….and outlive everybody who made the list you scrawled on that dark night, drunk on cheap bourbon and listening for gunfire in the distance. I don’t know if Sun Tzu drank. I don’t think that’s important right now. He went down in history regardless of any substance misuse problems he may or may not have suffered with.

But Sun was on to something in that piece of wisdom. Don’t discount it. If Anthony Joshua hasn’t read it, then he must have recently wondered at another, perhaps simpler version. See, with all the enormous cash contracts lurching around the boxing bank accounts nowadays, waiting is all someone like AJ can do in order to fight the right people.

Some say that Joshua doesn’t want to fight Deontay Wilder because he is afraid. Some say that Joshua would fight a polar bear in a ten by ten septic tank for five bucks and an old copy of Penthouse. But those people know nothing. Let’s go to the source of the truth and stop listening to the gibberings of a thousand lunatics. Here’s what AJ’s right hand man, Eddie Hearn, said about AJ’s future yesterday:

“There have been conversations [with Wilder’s team]. I’m not going to say too much because it didn’t go down too well last time. I don’t know what anyone’s going to do. I don’t know if Wilder will rematch Fury, I don’t know if AJ will fight Wilder, if AJ will fight Fury. Or AJ will fight the winner of Whyte vs. Chisora, or if AJ will fight Usyk or Miller here [in New York] but the ultimate focus is Wilder. That is what we want. They said AJ’s ducking the fight and now they’ve said AJ’s begging for the fight, but you can’t be doing both. But literally anything could happen. We could fight Fury. It would [be massive]. But worldwide the bigger fight is Wilder and he (Joshua) wants the belts, he wants to be undisputed and you’re not going to get many opportunities to be undisputed so that’s really what he’s focusing on,”

Clear? Me neither. Other than going back over the same old Wilder ground—money…money….errm…but…errr..we really want to fight…just give us money—Eddie is probably tearing his thick and lustrous black hair out while he floats from meeting to meeting in a valuable car the likes of you or I can only dream of throwing sticks at.

Who really wants to fight? No idea.

I could argue that Usyk won’t fight Joshua in 2019. Not many would disagree. Wilder might stick to a lucrative Fury rematch and then see what happens. Fury will want to beat Wilder up, so he’s not looking past the rematch either. Whyte is cannon fodder for the top three. Ditto Chisora. Miller is fringe at best.

Joshua isn’t going to lose sleep this Christmas, that much I do know. Whether he’s soaking up the Barbados rays with people who make Santa’s purchasing power look underwhelming, or hunkered down in Luton, he’ll find himself in the happy position of the man they all want. To him they are targets at a range. Staid and predictable, and it doesn’t matter who is next.

Sun Tzu was kind of right. If Joshua waits long enough by the boxing river his enemies will float by, it’s just a question of by then, will anyone care?

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  1. Mau-Mauing The Flak Catchers 08:48am, 12/23/2018

    Lucas McCain… Have seen the Liston-Martin fight on YouTube. Like you say, Liston was winning the fight before being KTFO. Me thinks Sonny would have fared well in that tournament even at his advanced age, some think Liston was as old as 40-something by then. Ellis outpointed bruisers, Chuvalo and Bonavena in that tourney, but neither one of these guys could punch like Liston. Quarry would go on to beat a huge puncher in Mac Foster a couple of years later, Foster might have punched as hard as Liston, but he wasn’t in the same league with Sonny. I can see Liston beating anyone in that tourney even at that stage in his life. Quarry and Ellis were capable of boxing Sonny, but Sonny definitely would have been a force to reckon with even as an old man.

  2. Lucas McCain 11:00am, 12/22/2018

    M-M:  Oh that late ‘60s tournament.  How I wished then Sonny Liston were included in it.  It would have (for me) more than compensated for Joe sitting it out.  I know Leotis stiffened Sonny two years later, but I heard Sonny was sick in that fight—shorter winded than usual, possibly because of the flu.  He dominated early, then just came apart.  I still can’t listen to Night Train, even Oscar Peterson’s, much less James Brown’s or Jimmy Forrest’s,  without thinking of the Big Jab.

  3. Cory 10:46am, 12/20/2018

    Joshua ducked Wilder. We all know that.  Now that Fury exposed some holes in Wilder’s game, Joshua is all gung ho about fighting him.  Where was he at 6 months ago?  When Wilder eventually does face Joshua, he wont look like he looked against Fury.  Wilder underestimated Fury, and thought it would be an easy knockout.  Let Fury and Wilder do it again, and maybe Joshua get the winner. Fair enough?

  4. Carlos Torres 10:51am, 12/19/2018

    I felt that Wilder would be the favorite coming against Joshua, but after this embarrassing performance against Fury I have changed my mind and I believe now that Joshua is the favorite and more importantly Joshua has the confidence now to dispatch Wilder.

  5. Your Name 10:48am, 12/19/2018


  6. Mau-Mauing The Flak Catchers 09:57am, 12/19/2018

    Joe Frazier elected not to engage in a heavyweight tourney back in the late ‘60’s. Joe realized he was the real champ and sat back and allowed his underlings to beat up on each other. Jimmy Ellis took care of Bonavena, and Leotis Martin, while Quarry dispatched Floyd Patterson and Thad Spencer. This proved to be a smart move by team Frazier as he went on to to pound out successful title defenses against Bonavena, Quarry and unify the title with an easy stoppage of Ellis. Judging by the Wilder-Fury bout, I would have to favor Joshua over Wilder by a large margin and a fight against Fury would be a pick’em or maybe giving a slight nod to Fury. The Fury vs. Joshua bout should be HUGE.

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