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Anthony Joshua marches in Watford

Anthony Joshua
Mayweather pays for George Floyd’s funeral while Anthony Joshua stands with the protests in Britain, writes George Gigney in his media review

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During a week in which protests over the brutal killing of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in America continued to grow across the world, it was revealed that Floyd Mayweather would pay for the funeral services. Hundreds of thousands of people in various different countries have taken to the streets to protest against racism after Floyd’s death once again highlighted the systemic discrimination that still plagues society.

In the background, Mayweather reached out to Floyd’s family with an offer to pay for the various funeral services that took place in several locations across the US. TMZ first revealed the offer, and soon after Leonard Ellerbe – CEO of Mayweather Promotions – confirmed to ESPN that the offer was accepted, and that Mayweather “[will] probably get mad at me for saying that, but yes, he is definitely paying for the funeral.”

Mayweather has yet to publicly comment about this and, for all his flaws, the former pound-for-pound king has always been charitable with his considerable wealth. In 2011, when former opponent Genaro Hernandez passed away, Mayweather also paid for his funeral.

It’s a kind gesture from Mayweather in a time when the world needs unity, not just virtue signalling.

World heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua showed his solidarity by taking part in one of the London protests over the weekend. Bizarrely, a swathe of online morons accused Joshua himself of being a racist after comments he made during the protest, to which he issued a response telling those people to “go f**k yourself.” I couldn’t have put it better myself.

Circling back to the reason you’re reading this magazine – boxing – Joshua was pictured wearing a hefty knee brace and uses crutches to get around, sparking speculation about what this injury could mean for his future plans.

Initially, a spokesperson for Joshua told the media that he had “tweaked” his knee slightly and was advised by a doctor to take those precautions, which seemed … unlikely.

Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, then spoke to BoxingScene about the injury and claimed Joshua injured the knee while on a run in some woods, and was advised to wear the brace and use crutches for the next four weeks to aid the recovery. Strange that explanation couldn’t have been given first, but thankfully Hearn said the injury will not scupper Joshua’s fighting plans this year.

ESPN ran an eye-opening piece on Andy Ruiz, who famously vanquished Joshua at Madison Square Garden last year. Tim Keown begins his article with an easy enough premise; “The assignment was simple: Catch up with Andy Ruiz Jnr.” It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s followed Ruiz’s career since his win over Joshua – or any journalists who’ve tried to get an interview – that Keown does not manage to catch up with the one-time champion of the world.

Ruiz, by his own admission, lost the already tentative grip he had on discipline after he dethroned Joshua, resulting in an embarrassing loss in their rematch. Since then he’s ditched trainer Manny Robles – who features heavily in the ESPN article, most sombrely when he says: “I didn’t give up on Andy. He gave up on himself.”

Sadly, it appears Ruiz hasn’t much changed his ways. Keown is swerved by Ruiz and his team until he eventually pins down Ruiz Snr, who apparently hung up the phone when asked, “What would you say is Andy’s responsibility in all of this?”

He’ll now be training alongside Canelo Alvarez, an elite fighter revered for his ability to learn from each ring outing. Let’s hope he can pick up a few things.

Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder III could be headed Down Under. Promoter Dean Lonergan, the man who brought Manny Pacquiao to Australia for the Jeff Horn fight, pitched the idea to Bob Arum six weeks ago.

The proposal was kept under wraps until Arum told Sky Sports: “Our friends in Australia are talking about doing this fight, probably in Sydney. That’s a possibility.”

Lonergan is proposing to hold the fight at lunchtime on Boxing Day [in Australia], so that it airs live on Christmas night in the US, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. It marks yet another territory throwing their hat in the ring to host a major heavyweight fight, with Saudi Arabia staging Ruiz-Joshua 2 last year and other UAE countries reportedly offering to host a potential Joshua-Fury fight. The heavyweights really are back in business.

ESPN first reported that Canelo is currently planning to fight in September, behind closed doors if need be. That would be a strange situation for the biggest draw in the sport, and a clear sign of the times.

The news got worse however when BoxingScene reported that former super-middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell is being considered as Alvarez’ next opponent. With rumours also swirling that Canelo could fight Willie Monroe Jnr, these are alarming signs that the Mexican star is not looking for the sternest challenges.

Indeed, it was further revealed that Canelo and his team are looking at cheaper opponents if his next fight will be without a live audience, which rules out WBO super-middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders.

I understand the financial reasoning, particularly in these bizarre times, but the biggest star in the sport – who fights two, maybe three times per year – purposefully picking low-hanging fruit does not sit right, particularly when you take into account his record-breaking broadcast deal with DAZN.

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Speaking to WBC Boxing, Arum discussed his former charge, Manny Pacquiao, and claimed that the multi-weight world champion will run for president in his native Philippines in 2022.

Arum, who used to promote Manny, said Pacquiao told him the news on a Zoom call and insisted Arum attend the inauguration should he win, which would be likely given his status in his home country.

What it means for the final chapter of Pacquiao’s fighting career remains to be seen, though it will likely cut it short given that he’ll need to hit the campaign trail next year.

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