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NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: THE FRUSTRATING TALE OF TWO SUPER FIGHTS

By Paul Magno | October 03, 2022
NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: THE FRUSTRATING TALE OF TWO SUPER FIGHTS

No matter what happens in the twice-canceled Tyson Fury-Anthony Joshua “will they or won’t they fight” saga (and the “Battle of Britain” could very well be back on by the time you read this), Joshua will likely come out the loser. 

If the fight doesn’t happen, if this whole rigamarole was a Tyson Fury hustle to gain some public relations points while clearing a path for a much less complicated WBC title defense against Manuel Charr, Joshua’s team was wildly outmaneuvered. It would mean Fury played Joshua and promoter Eddie Hearn for suckers. It would make Hearn look especially ridiculous, almost as if he were some rich kid who had inherited everything, too dense to understand that he has no real street smarts (ahem). 

If the “Battle of Britain” does happen this coming December 3 as teased, Joshua could still very likely come out a loser. Although, really, it’d be hard to classify anyone walking away with an eight-figure payday a “loser.”

Competitively, though...yeah, a big loser. 

Barring a big punch out of nowhere, it’s hard to see a real path to victory for the guy once hyped to be boxing’s first billion dollar superstar and a legend-in-the-making. Especially not now, after two straight losses (three losses out of his last five) and a post-fight meltdown in his last setback against Oleksandr Usyk which showed that his mind was absolutely not where it needed to be if he aspired to once again be an elite player. Jumping from a pair of rough, frustrating, embarrassing losses into a bout with a guy like Fury who relishes fucking with an opponents’ mind and getting under their skin, would be a tough mental task for anyone-- especially for an Anthony Joshua who has not exactly shown himself to be dripping with mental resolve. 

Even eliminating the mental aspect, Fury would be a tough stylistic challenge for a guy like Joshua who, honestly, has yet to really define who he actually is as a fighter. 

Joshua is big and strong. He’ll also be the “money” fighter in this big ticket clash (don’t ever discount the importance of being the money fighter in boxing). But a fight with Fury, even under optimal conditions, would be a tough one. Under these less than optimal conditions, beating Fury on December 3 would be a total long shot. 

Essentially, Fury has worked Joshua and his team into a lose-lose. Look like a dipshit (or sausage, shit house as Fury would say) in the public eye for not making the fight happen (regardless of whether Team AJ is to blame or not) or make things happen and walk into a fight where he’d probably lose his third straight and look very bad doing it. Fury tried to wrangle Usyk into this type of boondoggle, but the three-belt champ, much to his credit, didn’t bite.

I almost feel bad for the big galoot, Joshua. He’s been outmaneuvered at every turn and is a victim of his own successful career build. And even his success as a brand won’t last much longer if he can’t find his way out of this no-win box Tyson Fury has put him in. 

But at least he can sleep comfortably on a big pile of British Pounds, right?

*******************

Errol Spence Jr. vs. Terence Crawford should be on to a part three by now. 

This welterweight unification has been THE fight to make at 147 for a few years now. The muddled boxing business model, though, has made sure that not even a part one has taken place. Meanwhile, boxing fans’ tolerance for bullshit has allowed excuses for not making this fight to be planted like weeds in a rose garden. 

But there was a glimmer of hope a couple weeks ago when some big shot boxing media types, who really, really want to keep their big paychecks by generating clicks, reported that the two had agreed to “all material terms” on a bout and that there was even a November 19 date set. 

Almost two weeks later, though, we’re learning that negotiations are not at all done and that if there’s boxing on November 19, it won’t be Spence vs. Crawford. 

The hold up, apparently, centers around Crawford’s insistence on “transparency related to event expenses,” a pretty big deal since the Omaha, Nebraska native is reportedly getting a cut of the revenue and not a straight guaranteed purse. To be fair, this looks like a snag that may eventually be worked out.

But, still. Every day/week this fight is delayed is a day/week where something could come along and fuck the whole thing up. And, lord knows, fans have waited long enough for a fight that should’ve been a no-brainer three or four years ago. 

Spence-Crawford is not at all the only big fight held up by politics, ego, and boxing’s shitty business model, but it may be the best and it’s definitely the most frustrating stall of the lot. Imagine any other business being run like this? Imagine walking into a McDonald’s craving a Big Mac and being told that you’ll have to settle for a chunk of Spam on a slice of white bread, but that maybe next month you might get your Big Mac, although it could be a bit moldy. Seriously. 

Got something for Magno? Send it here: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com

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