Eddie and the Bruiser

By Marc Livitz on October 28, 2017
Eddie and the Bruiser
Carlos Takam fared quite well, comparatively speaking as a late replacement. (Sky Sports)

How would fight fans in America feel about paying $79.95 to watch Joshua face Wilder at four in the afternoon?

Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua certainly looked impressive in terms of his bodily appearance on Saturday, but did he truly impress? Big time bouts in the United Kingdom seem to have all the pomp and circumstance of a World Cup Final. However, England hasn’t lifted the Jules Rimet trophy since 1966 and the country of Wales, which hosted Joshua’s championship contest at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, hasn’t been to the tournament since 1958. Huge video screens, sound bytes and initials in flames were but a few of the visual delights to which we were treated on Saturday afternoon here in the States.

Last April, unbeaten knockout maestro Joshua (20-0, 20 KO’s) wrested the majority of the heavyweight division’s titles from Wladimir Klitschko and it appears that his handlers are now giving fans the same type of grand entrances that once accompanied the retired Ukrainian’s paths to the ring. Much as was the case with Klitschko, Joshua’s walks to the squared circle are quickly followed by strolls inside of it. Unless issues with sound from across the pond were to blame, the sight of the towering champion from Watford choosing to skip the use of ring walk music and have the capacity crowd on hand set the tone for the evening was quite unique. It made perfect sense. This is business. This is a fight. Let’s do this.

Surprisingly to some, Carlos Takam fared quite well, comparatively speaking as a late replacement against the pride not only of England, but of Matchroom Sports as well. It seems the promotional company’s head spokesperson, Eddie Hearn, was waiting with bated breath to take control of the microphone once the bout had ended in the tenth round. Of course, much of the boxing universe is eagerly awaiting a showdown between Anthony “AJ” Joshua and Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder. Unless we consider WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker as an integral ingredient in the mix, then all of the sugar and spice in the division is at stake should Englishman Joshua and Alabama native Wilder ever meet in the professional ring.

As is his right, Hearn insisted that his undefeated champion will defend his titles in Great Britain. “Deontay Wilder against ‘AJ’ has to happen,” said Hearn in his role as promoter and apparently his mouthpiece as well. “There’s also a heavyweight champion called Tyson Fury who has to come back to the sport. Deontay Wilder, Joseph Parker and Tyson Fury are the 2018 fights.”

What we may have here is a clear case of dollars and cents or more accurately, pounds and pence. Does a heavyweight unification bout such as this have a rightful place in a locale such as Las Vegas, New York or Los Angeles? Maybe so, yet maybe not. This isn’t Mike Tyson versus Evander Holyfield brought into the twenty-first century. The potential matchup hasn’t been brewing for a decade or more. The Information Age has spoiled so many people and now, we expect instant gratification. We were able to see Canelo Alvarez duel with Gennady Golovkin last month without the brain drain soap opera we experienced prior to May of 2015.

We can suppose the word of the promoter is good enough for us, yet it’s eerily similar to some teams in American Football; the perfect case being Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys. After the players are interviewed and a talk session with the puppet coach of the franchise concludes, the attention swings over to that of the team’s billionaire owner. Has Anthony Joshua fallen into a similar trap or is all just a method to one’s madness?

Joshua facing off against Parker or Fury, respectively won’t matter much to American audiences, especially if the contests are distributed stateside on a pay TV basis. Similarly, how would fight fans in America feel about paying $79.95 to watch Joshua face Wilder at four in the afternoon? Similarly, boxing followers in England often have to stay up until two or three in the morning to watch a high profile contest beamed over from Las Vegas.

There’s many issues to be ironed out over the next twelve months, give or take. Truth be told, a showdown between Joshua and Tyson Fury has the potential to generate massive numbers in Europe and it appears that Eddie Hearn is certainly the man with the golden cup. He’ll decide where the wine is poured and where it’s ultimately drunk. Will we be more prepared this time?

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  1. The Beast of Bodmin 01:20pm, 10/29/2017

    @Bashar
    Thanks for your comment, I do have some grey in my whiskers these days but can still be nocturnal for the right fight, I just prefer it if I don’t have to. In that regard I am rather pleased that boxing in Britain is enjoying a good spell at the moment and I can enjoy some fights at a reasonable hour.
    As for typing in caps, I’m afraid I don’t go in for that. Always seems to me that you come across as an angry teenager, ranting into cyberspace in the misplaced belief that the person who shouts loudest is right!

    I suppose I would stay up to watch AJ vs Wilder from the US but I am hoping that the chance to earn a record purse and fight in front of a big crowd will tempt Wilder over. After all, he was prepared to leave the local Alabama bingo hall to fight in Russia, so why not take the chance to prove his worth in front of 80000 in England?

  2. Bashar Al-Assad 08:11am, 10/29/2017

    @The Beast of Bodmin-Simply inspired comment you old pussy cat! The last paragraph should have been typed all caps!

  3. The Beast of Bodmin 06:43am, 10/29/2017

    There were problems with the sound for the walk in music, it wasn’t a conscious decision. As for the fight being in the afternoon in America if held in the UK, so what? You could always have another, US based card shown afterwards to fill the evening out. Might as well get some value for money if you have to pay those ridiculous PPV prices over there.
    And for the record, fight fans in England have to stay up way later than 2 or 3 to watch a fight from Vegas. I remember staying up until 5am and later to see Ricky Hatton obliterated in 4 minutes flat by Pacquiao and gradually picked apart by Mayweather. On the plus side, at least it was only about 20 quid to buy.
    It’s always amazed me that anyone would pay 50-80 bucks to watch Mayweather fight an uninspired, foregone conclusion. But you can’t blame the man for exploiting the stupidity of the US fight fans, in that regard he truly is TBE.

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