Beat To The Punch Ep21

I was joined the line by Nathan Dowie and Riku to speak about all this weeks big boxing news including Jamel Herring picks up a World Title, Hughie Fury and will he ever fulfil his early potential . We also spoke about AJ/Ruiz as well as all the rest of the goings on in the Heavyweight Division.

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Top Heavyweight Fights Now Further Away Than Ever

Top Heavyweight Fights Now Further Away Than Ever

Hope is a dangerous thing. We hear all the time from a political class who promise us the world and time after time they fail to deliver but we still choose to continuously self harm with hope because there is no alternative. Boxing is now a place where hope is not a desirable trait.

Back in December the world was treated to one of the best Heavyweight fights in years when Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder locked horns in the ring for the WBC Heavyweight Crown. The fight ended in a draw but it far exceeded the expectations of most fight fans beforehand. Since then boxing fans have been left wanting to see it all over again, living in hope that this would be one of the few times common sense would prevail in boxing. News broke this week that dashed all of our hopes not only of seeing this rematch but there is now a very strong chance that the top three fighters in the division will not meet in the ring for the foreseeable future.

The Heavyweight landscape is already a minefield of party allegiances but with the latest news that Tyson Fury has now nailed his colours to the ESPN/Top Rank mast in a big money multi fight deal, it has made an already complicated situation ……Well all the more complicated. This is not due to the fighters themselves but the money men and powerhouse platforms behind them.As i sit here writing this I still live in hope. I hope ESPN and Showtime pull together for the good of the sport. I hope Bob Arum and Al Haymon can now finally bury their hatchet and work together to bring fans another great night of Heavyweightboxing. I hope that Eddie Hearn, Al Haymon and Bob Arum do what’s right and leave the path open for their respective fighters to finally get in the ring and fight it out and see who is No1 in the division, after all that what all boxing fans want. The sad reality is that what boxing fans want and what boxing fans get is two very different things, we are now further away from any of these big fights happening than we ever have been.

AJ’s US Damage Control Was More Damaging

AJ’s US Damage Control Was More Damaging

We have all been in that near intolarable position when we have been completely caught off guard. A time when a situation has you completely rattled and searching your brain to find you a way out. Now anyone who has found themselves in this position will tell you it is your immediate reaction that will make or break how you recover from it. Some take it in their stride never really letting anyone know the panic and dismay hidden behind their poker face whilst others get flustered, ramble maybe even get a little embarrassed as the situation gets the better of them. This week we  seen Anthony Joshua may have just found himself in one of the afore mentioned kind of situations.

In the crazy world of boxing the top fighters may only fight three times per year so it is imperative that fans are kept entertained in the long spells between fights. With the help of technology and fans thirst for instant information we have created a kind of WWE type soap opera which keeps fans in the loop and entertained. The emergence of personalities like Eddie Hearn has seen boxing revitalised in the UK. Hearn is a master at exploiting social media and instant news outlets in a way that no other promoter can, but over the past few months we have seen Hearn take a few L’s in the boxing the media with his lies leaving poor old AJ in a tough position.

Anyone who has seen a deposition on TV or a police interview tape will know once something has been recorded it cannot be taken back. We have all seen a courtroom drama where a witness or a suspect may say something which contradicts a previous statement, this is usually the final nail in the coffin in the movies where the the tower of lies come crashing down. In boxing terms it isn’t the the final nail in the coffin, it’s much worse for a promoter, it means fans will now scrutinise every word you say on the situation past, present and future and that’s something no salesman wants.

For the last year the AJ/Wilder saga has played out in the boxing media. At the start it was entertaining seeing all these big characters go at it on a daily basis but as it became clear that no fight was not forthcoming it became more of an annoyance trying to keep up with the who said what. The more time past the more it seemed to me that Eddie Hearn was on the back foot starting with him banning Wilder from entering the ring to call out AJ after Joshua had beaten Parker, then we had him shouting about proof of funds when Wilders team made an offer of $50m after Joshua had publicly demanded that sum. Team Wilder played their ace card when they agreed to fight former unified champion Tyson Fury. Once announced Hearn said the fight would not happen, he said it would be a snooze fest and as it turned out he was wrong on both accounts. Wilder vs Fury was a great fight and ended up doing well commercially and will more than likely do even bigger numbers in the rematch which looks like it could happen next year, leaving AJ locked out.

This week we have seen Anthony Joshua appear on US TV in an attempt to regain the initiative in the AJ/Wilder saga, but with one hand tied behind his back I think he failed miserably. The problem Anthony Joshua had was that his team have made so many contradictory claims in the past that he didn’t really have anywhere to go. For the first time I thought AJ looked frustrated and a little out of depth. In the interview when talking about a unification with fellow Brit Tyson Fury, Joshua says he has never heard anybody talk about being lineal champion and that people when starting out wanted to be IBO,WBA,IBF,WBO and WBC Champion, which is a bizarre statement to make especially when he used the IBO title to discredit the Lineal title. He also said something along the lines that they had booked Wembley for the Wilder fight, but again that just isn’t true as only a couple of months ago Team AJ set a deadline for Wilder to sign to fight AJ at Wembley, the deadline was BEFORE Wilder fought Fury in the biggest fight of his a career.

I have to admit I did feel sympathy for AJ as his trip to the US seemed like a forced attempt at damage control for the AJ brand. He came across very transparent on US TV and it looked to me like his team that have turned him into a superstar have really let him down on this instance. Where could Joshua go after the countless Eddie Hearn IFL interviews with different claims and counter claims each week. What could he say that wouldn’t see him dig an even bigger hole and be dragged into the abyss of contradictions. I have said time and time again that I have no doubt that Anthony Joshua the man, the fighter wants to fight the best. The problem AJ has is that he is commodity with many shareholders who are not willing to risk there asset in a fight…..not yet anyway.

Steven Donnell 

@DjayBoxingBlog

Are We Immune To Bad Judging ?

Are We Immune To Bad Judging ?

There is a saying “In life nobody and nothing will help you until you start to help yourself.” On Saturday night boxing again refused to help itself. We all watched on as Deontay Wilder defended his WBC Heavyweight Title against Tyson Fury in LA’s Staples Centre. This was the biggest fight in the heavyweight division for years and as far as both fighters are concerned they delivered a great fight but, once again a big fight night ended with a sour taste in most spectators mouths but This time it was something we were willing to swallow. This got me thinking, are we now immune to the shock of poor judging ?

There really is no feeling like the build up to a big fight night for boxing fans. Your hardcores will lose sleep going over every possible outcome of a fight whilst your more casual fan will get caught up in all the media hype and pre fight banter which sets us all up for nicely to come together and enjoy the show. These big fights become social events, an excuse to meet up with friends and gather round a TV casting aside our football rivalries and other divisions for one night and have everyone talking about boxing.  We will have drinks and food, we will fire our superior boxing knowledge about the upcoming fight and pass it as fact in discussions and if the fight is in the US we will sit up to 5AM (In the UK) waiting on the main event to start, drinking all the while i might add. What makes big fight nights special is that it’s something for everyone to enjoy.  There really is no other sport like it.

During the Fury vs Wilder fight I found myself second guessing the judges all the way through the fight. I was saying things like “Judges in the US usually give the guy on the front foot the nod in close rounds” and “Its hard to get a decision boxing off the back foot in the US” but when you step back and think about it that is all rubbish. Yes the points I made were valid but it isn’t as simple as that. All judges around the world use the same criteria for scoring a bout which are Ring Generalship, Effective Aggression, Clean Punching and Defence. Now i do understand that due to human nature these judges will have preferences to to certain styles but if they stay true to this criteria they should never be too far away from the correct result, so can anyone tell me how one judge could have seen 115-111 for Wilder on Saturday ?. We are now seeing incompetent judging creeping in at more and more big PPV Fights. It is now becoming clear that some of these score cards are a deliberate attempt to sabotage fights. In recent years we have seen very questionable score cards at Ward vs Kovalev I, GGG vs Canelo I as well as Fury vs Wilder, and that’s only the cards that we have needed there have been plenty more blushes saved by a fighter taking it out of the judges hands and win by KO. 

On big fight nights gone bye the house would have been in uproar, the rage of seeing a judge rob someone of a clear victory would stay with you. The sense of betrayal would go with you to work in the days that followed, even leading to a rage driven declaration of “I will never buy another PPV again.” Things seem a little different now.  When the score card of 115-111 Wilder was read out, it was met with smirks and the odd lighthearted “No Way”. When the decision was announced as a draw it wasn’t met with shouts of rage but more a little laugh which suggests most never even doubted this would happen.

Both Wilder and Fury deserve massive credit for the show that they put on as it was a great fight. I have been a long time critic of the Heavyweight Division but now I have found optimism has replaced scepticism. Now we have some top Heavyweights who could all trouble each other and all are young enough to carry the division for some time yet, but this kind of judging will take away from these potential super fights when they are finally made. Nobody likes to see fights being scored wrong but what is more worrying to me is that without an outcry from fans there is very little chance that this will ever change.