I am fifty years old and have been a boxing fan since I was a kid. I grew up watching Larry Holmes fight fifteen round fights. I watched Larry beat Muhammad Ali when boxing was free to watch on network TV. The biggest fight of my life as a fan came early in life. The one fight that got me hooked on boxing for the rest of my life was Larry Holmes vs. Gerry Cooney. It is hard to state how big that fight was and the impact it had on me as a fan. The fight and even the build-up to the fight was fantastical. I grew up in the Golden Age of Boxing.
Fast forward to today, and I see similarities and feel we have been in a second Golden Age as of late. Boxing is once again on network TV in America. So many divisions are giving us fans memorable fights, and there is no shortage of talent across all of boxing, including the women. With all that being said, and with all the divisions that there is, nothing comes close to the excitement of the heavyweight division. The raw talent in the heavyweight division today is extraordinary.
Today, the four best heavyweights in the world are Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury, and Luis Ortiz. Three out of four of these guys have been fighting each other to see who’s the best, yet Anthony Joshua hasn’t fought any of these three guys. He’s destroying his legacy. A.J. can’t just hang out in Europe filling Wembley Stadium and being Mr. Big shot over there, when the rest of the world and his division are all fighting each other to see who is the best.
The fans and I included, are sick and tired of all the excuses Anthony Joshua gives for not fighting any of these men. A.J. is what they call in the movie Rocky 3 a paper champion. The fans just want A.J. to get in the mix and prove his worth. Wilder asked A.J. publicly to get rid of all these people that are between us, he said, let’s just you and I sit down and get this done for the fans. What bothers me is does A.J. even want to know whether he’s the best?
A boxing fan I know told me recently that it’s all so frustrating! They need to put aside the politics and go for it he said. If you think you’re the best then prove it he said from the deepest part of his heart. He went on to say, fighting Ruiz isn’t a legacy fight, it’s a joke! He was right. In the movie Rocky 3, Rock confronts Mickey about how Mickey had been carrying him and having him fight bums. He said he would have must prefer to lose the belt earlier and know it was real instead of being carried. The difference between the fictional Rocky and Anthony Joshua is that A.J. knows he has been carried by his people, and he does nothing about it.