There’s one piece of the puzzle missing in Las Vegas this week as unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua chose to stay away from his two main rivals.
Holidaying with family, AJ is keeping a low profile, even on social media, as the biggest top division battle in two decades goes off thousands of miles away.
Joshua must be smarting, at least a little, that his achievements of over the past seven years have been overlooked during the build-up.
American fans and media are pumped for Deontay Wilder’s rematch with Tyson Fury, so much so that those pre-fight statements have never been questioned.
The general consensus is Wilder vs Fury II is the most high-profile battle featuring two heavyweights since Lennox Lewis vs Mike Tyson in 2002.
Even more so, the best in Las Vegas since Tyson vs Evander Holyfield’s ‘Bite Fite’ way back in 1997.
As the Briton stayed out of the limelight and chose not to be seen around the contest whatsoever despite stating he wants to fight the winner, Fury’s promoter gave a damning verdict on Joshua’s tenure as two-time, four-belt champ.
“As far as Joshua is concerned, the only people that think Joshua is an elite heavyweight are the Brits. He isn’t,” Arum told Sky Sports.
“Andy Ruiz is a good heavyweight, but he’s not a top tier fighter. Any fighter that gets knocked out by Andy Ruiz is not an elite level fighter, despite what Eddie Hearns keeps mouthing about.
“First of all, there won’t be an Anthony Joshua after June when he fights Pulev.
“I mean that seriously, Andy Ruiz is an OK fighter. He doesn’t compare with a Pulev, who is bigger, stronger, more mobile, and will be in shape.
“Andy Ruiz really wasn’t in shape for the first fight (when knocking Joshua out) and no less for the second fight.
“So I think Pulev is going to beat Joshua. Then maybe we can keep talking about Dillian Whyte, who really is a good fighter.”
Asked whether Joshua vs Fury can still happen later in the year once the saga with Wilder is over, Arum answered: “Not if Anthony Joshua loses to Kubrat Pulev it won’t.
“I’m telling you that’s going to happen.”
To infinity & beyond 👑 pic.twitter.com/8SRNjY8sde
— Anthony Joshua (@anthonyfjoshua) February 18, 2020
In a solitary social media post even getting close to mentioning Wilder or Fury, Joshua simply said, ‘To Infinity and Beyond’.
This was a clear reference to the UK documentary currently being aired on British shores in which Fury uttered the words when describing his journey.
It’s clear Wilder vs Fury II is on Joshua’s mind. But it’s highly unlikely he’s on either of there’s as fight week continues.