Shades of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao wait as top division stalls
The top weight class is set to drift into a Klitschko-style lull bringing shades of the Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao delay on the back of decisions made by those handling the big three.
Welterweight legends Mayweather and Pacquiao left everybody waiting for a super-fight. When it finally came in 2015 it was too late.
At 200 pounds plus, we are heading in the same direction. Back to the days when Wladimir Klitschko held the titles hostage when eeking out results against also-ran foes.
Anthony Joshua began the trend of doing his own thing. Sadly, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury have now followed suit.
One year ago it all kicked off. Joshua had just won again and in the process had unified the division further against Joseph Parker. Deontay Wilder had defeated Luis Ortiz a short while earlier and fans were bracing themselves for a huge undisputed announcement.
On the back of that excitement was the return of Tyson Fury in April and boxing’s glamour division was back in business. Or so we thought.
Fast forward twelve months, and on the back of public and doomed negotiations, followed by two of the best finally facing each other along the way, the heavyweight scene has gone firmly in reverse.
No longer can the paying public look towards the prospect of a fight for all the belts as Joshua, Wilder and Fury take their bank balances in different directions.
For some reason, all three believe they can make the same, or even more money by avoiding each other for as long as possible.
Over the past week alone, the trio have all outlined their own blueprint with catastrophic and contrasting results.
Fury will be fighting twice more on ESPN, 99.9% certain to be two other opponents linked to the network or without US ties.
Speaking to BT Sport, Fury said he has a road map in place for after Tom Schwarz on June 15 in Las Vegas.
“I’m going to have a few week off and then it’s back to work again because I have another fight 28th of September.
“I’ve been given dates and that’s the next date. For the next six months I’m going to be active, I’ve got three dates.”
On Joshua or Wilder being in his thoughts, Fury distanced himself from the pair.
“I’m above all that. The Gypsy King fights who he wants, when he wants. People say do you think these top three will fight each other?
“Do they not remember when I went to America and beat Deontay Wilder only a few months ago? The top two did fight each other.
“I’ve proved time and time again I can go anywhere and beat anyone. I don’t need to prove anything to anyone.”
Joshua faces Andy Ruiz Jr. on June 1 in his US debut. Despite his interviews since the announcement, nobody really believes anybody but his confirmed opponent, Luis Ortiz or stablemate Michael Hunter were ever in the frame.
“We looked at all avenues,” insisted Joshua to Sky Sports when discussing the options. “We looked at Fury, busy. Wilder, busy.”
“Ortiz, he had his issues so he didn’t step up to the challenge. The other guys weren’t as good as Ruiz.
“Ruiz was keen. Finally, we got his name on the signature and the show must go on.
“I’m stopping out in the States, doing my bit, but UK’s my soil. I can’t wait to get back to Wembley.”
As for Wilder, Shelly Finkel remains hopeful of one day receiving a signable deal from Joshua. But until then, the New Yorker will plow on with PBC challengers.
“I am in discussions with John Skipper (about Deontay Wilder v Anthony Joshua). But nothing is set for 2020 at this point. It will be next year (at the earliest),” Finkel exclusively told World Boxing News.
Adam Kownacki and Ortiz are two of the men set to be offered the chance to face Wilder for the WBC belt in the next twelve months.
Here’s a look at the potential next three fights for the top three:
Kubrat Pulev (IBF mandatory)
Oleksandr Usyk (WBO mandatory)
Dillian Whyte (or WBC mandatory)