HERE’S what will probably happen in the heavyweight division over the course of the next 12 months.
The Big Three, Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, will use exclusive television deals to go off and do their own thing all the while claiming to be the number one heavyweight in the division and ridiculing the credentials of each other’s opponents.
When exasperated fans complain, they will then blame rather than fight one another. They will tell us what they could do without actually doing it. They will point to victories over common opponents as reasons why they and not the other two should be ranked at the top of the pile.
On that note, Fury, who today announced an exclusive American TV deal with ESPN, says he dropped Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller, Joshua’s next opponent [June 1], some seven times when the pair sparred in his hometown in 2011.
“I was back home in Morecambe and I needed a sparring partner,” he told The Sun. “The first person that sprang to mind was Jarrell Miller. I thought he’d be good sparring for me.
“Obviously I wasn’t a world champion at the time; he came over to Morecambe and we sparred at a local gym. I’m not going to go into too much detail, but I hired him for two weeks sparring, (and) I ended up sending him back home after one day sparring. I put him down seven times in the first spar and I sent him home packing back to the USA.”
Sparring stories are always good fun. This one might even be true. (Then again, it might also be the latest in a litany of Tyson Fury wind-ups.) Ultimately, though, whether true or false, what does it matter if the three best heavyweights in the world are making the kind of business moves – shrewd ones, admittedly – to seemingly push unification fights further and further away? Tyson Fury, he of the heroic, life-affirming comeback, shouldn’t need to pass comment on Jarrell Miller in order to undermine Anthony Joshua’s next fight. He shouldn’t even be asked or feel obliged to answer the question.
Instead, we should be doing away with Jarrell Miller – an unproven contender whose career-best win is a toss-up between Mariusz Wach and Johann Duhaupas – and getting down to real business. Tyson Fury should be fighting Anthony Joshua; Tyson Fury should be fighting Deontay Wilder – again.
Or – a far crazier suggestion, I know – why not have Anthony Joshua, the WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight champion, fight Deontay Wilder, the American in possession of the WBC belt, the one Joshua is currently without? How’s that for a left field idea? Then, if he feels left out, we can ask ‘Big Baby’ Miller who he thinks will win, thus giving him some air time and relevance, and we can all happily get along. More importantly, if the right decisions are made at the right time, we can move this division along.
Every bit as bizarre as the current heavyweight scene is the simmering rivalry between LA prospect Ryan Garcia and WBA super-featherweight champion Gervonta Davis.
The pair have been going back and forth on social media for some time now and it would appear Floyd Mayweather, Davis’ self-appointed mentor, has cottoned on to the beef and seen a way of making money in the future. How very unlike him.
Following a video released on TMZ, in which Mayweather and Davis were seen mocking the threat of Garcia, 17-0 (14), Mayweather has apparently offered Garcia $200,000 to fight one of the prospects in his Mayweather Boxing gym stable. Should Garcia take the offer and win the fight, Mayweather would then strive to make a bout between Garcia and ‘Tank’ Davis, 21-0 (20), two youngsters at different junctures of their respective careers.
It’s hardly the fight the boxing world craves, but one thing you can say about Davis vs. Garcia is this: it’s very now. So, for that reason alone, expect it to be booked within 12 months.
[Update: Garcia, in an audacious counter offer, has stated he wants $1 million for the Davis fight if he takes up Mayweather’s offer of boxing a prospect from his stable of neophytes. The cheek of it.]