A frenzy of talk has filled boxing column inches since Anthony Joshua avenged his world heavyweight title loss with a controlled performance against Andy Ruiz Jr.
Despite vowing not to pre-fight, Joshua boxed his way to a points victory which failed to set the sport alight.
In essence, AJ did what was necessary and who can blame him?
In the days which followed, Joshua bellowed out his intentions to face Tyson Fury over Deontay Wilder in 2020. Choosing the lesser puncher for obvious reasons after being dropped four times by Ruiz in June.
Back holding four versions of the world title, Joshua felt on top of the world. Being unified has not guaranteed Joshua spot back on top of the 200 pounds plus pile, though.
Joshua is roundly considered to be the third-best heavyweight in the world after displaying considerable vulnerability in both fights with Ruiz.
This reason alone will be enough for promoter Eddie Hearn to keep his star man away from Wilder. The same cannot be said for Fury.
So what will stop Joshua from sharing the ring with Wilder or Fury? – In simple terms, the current US TV deal.
The decision for Joshua to campaign on DAZN, a non-PPV format in the United States, is a huge stumbling block for any agreement.
Should Hearn want DAZN to gain rights to Joshua vs Wilder of Fury, which he will one hundred percent need to happen, talks will be as good as dead.
There’s no chance in hell DAZN will be able to share rights with PBC on FOX (for Wilder) or ESPN PPV (for Fury). That’s if the February 22nd clash is a knockout success – as expected.
Fury’s US handler Bob Arum is predicted around two million Pay-Per-View buys. So even if the winner wants to face Joshua, how on earth can they then allow a bonafide PPV fighter a pass to trade blows on a streaming service?
It emphatically won’t happen.
The victor of Wilder vs Fury, should they secure the intended PPV purchase target, will stand above Canelo as the new king of Pay-Per-View. This is due to the fact the Mexican no longers competes on the paid platform.
Hearn may have to bite the bullet. The Matchroom boss could have to allow Joshua back on US PPV for at least one blockbuster clash. Or even go one further and persuade DAZN to begin staging PPV events.
As things currently stand, fans are set to miss out – YET AGAIN.
Staging the first undisputed top division unification in two decades on anything but US PPV is a simply unfathomable notion.
On the other hand, the UK PPV won’t be a problem at all.