SO far, the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) super-middleweight final between George Groves and Callum Smith has been shrouded in uncertainty, mystery and, annoyingly, a number of false starts and, well, announcements.
Count them up: we’ve had the announcement of a potential replacement opponent; the announcement of Groves’ clean bill of health; the announcement of a possible September date; the announcement of the final not taking placing in the UK; a second announcement of a September date and an announcement of an announcement; and now, this week, finally, once and for all, we’re led to believe an announcement of an actual date and venue for George Groves vs. Callum Smith will be made and put us and, more importantly, the two men involved out of their misery.
This, by the way, shouldn’t be taken as gospel. An announcement of an announcement doesn’t necessarily mean an announcement will be made. It simply means an announcement is due and that those expecting it are getting a little agitated by the delay.
But, if we remain positive, there’s every chance the announcement might be the one we want – date, venue – and we can all get on with our lives. Certainly, the Evening Standard sound confident this will happen in the next two or three days. They’re already telling the world Groves vs. Smith will land on September 29 and will indeed take place in Saudi Arabia.
Hardly ideal, no. But when you’ve waited this long, and when the fight is in danger of slipping off the radar and being forgotten altogether, you’ll take whatever you can get. Groves vs. Smith in Jeddah, watched by a fraction of the audience it would attract back home in Britain, isn’t, on the face of it, the best idea in the world, but at least it will soon be official. At least we can all move on now, and they, the fighters, can train towards a date. At least it’s not another announcement.
Another man who likes an announcement is former world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.
The enigmatic troublemaker, last seen messing about with Sefer Seferi in Manchester for four rounds, is set to box again on August 18, but has recently been dropping hints that a much bigger and better fight could soon be in the pipeline.
Taking to social media, Fury has released a number of videos in the last 24 hours, typically while driving his car and singing, that would suggest his upcoming fight against Francesco Pianeta, hardly one to get the juices flowing, could lead to a showdown against WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.
— TYSON FURY (@Tyson_Fury) July 23, 2018
With Anthony Joshua fulfilling WBA mandatory obligations against Alexander Povetkin in September, there’s a sense Wilder, seemingly on a collision course with Joshua, has momentarily been frozen out. To remedy this, he needs a fight date, an opponent, a purpose, something he can use to shake at Joshua and those who doubt his pulling power. And, who knows, maybe that’s where Tyson Fury, a character big enough to trump whatever plans Joshua might have, comes in.
Stranger things have happened. (Did you see Fury vs. Seferi?)
A fight between Wilder and Fury becomes all the more appealing when you consider the prospect of Anthony Joshua boxing Joseph Parker for a second time in 2019.
This, I stress, is very much one man’s dream, and hasn’t, as far as we’re aware, been entertained by Joshua. It is, however, something Parker’s promoter, David Higgins, has been mentioning a lot ahead of his man’s fight against Dillian Whyte this Saturday (July 28).
“The knockout would be ideal and it would really put us in pole position to legitimately demand a rematch from Joshua,” Higgins told Sky Sports.
“We want Anthony Joshua next, and we would be demanding the rematch.
“Joseph Parker is only focused on Dillian Whyte, but should he beat Dillian Whyte then he’ll probably be the most prominent heavyweight currently after Joshua and Wilder.
“We think on a different stage, on a different night, with a different referee, and Joseph learning from his mistakes, and putting real pressure on, Joshua is absolutely beatable.
“He’s a human being. We don’t think he’s near the top echelon of all-time great heavyweights. He’s nowhere near that yet. He’s got a lot more to prove.”
I can’t speak for everyone, but, to my mind, here’s what Joseph Parker would have to do to not only warrant a second shot against Joshua but ensure it’s a rematch people want to see.
He would, firstly, have to fulfil Higgins’ dream and stop Dillian Whyte, 23-1 (17), inside the distance this weekend at London’s O2 Arena. Look good doing it, too. Make it conclusive. Make it worthy of a highlight reel.
Then, having achieved arguably the best win of his career, Parker, 24-1 (18), would need to build on it, perhaps add another British scalp to his resume. Maybe he could, for instance, fight Tony Bellew, if Bellew sticks around at heavyweight. Maybe he could fight Dereck Chisora, if Chisora conquers Carlos Takam on Saturday’s undercard.
Failing that, maybe he could fight a non-Brit, a fringe contender like Luis Ortiz or Jarrell Miller, and do a number on them.
Win those fights – let’s say two or three – and do so in impressive fashion and then we’re talking. Then a Joshua rematch might become a feasible proposition. But any sooner than that and I’m struggling to get on board with a rematch of a fight that happened only four months ago and was, if we’re honest, a bit of a stinker.
Parker, still just 26, showed balls, skill and potential that night. No doubt there. What he failed to show, however, was that he possessed the ability or confidence to beat Anthony Joshua.
Not yet anyway.