In boxing, it has been said that it’s not about what you’re worth, it’s about what you can negotiate. And in a weight class that has long been dulled to half its viewership since the 90’s, the roster has recently turned into something of a Marvel Comic Book series- Chalk full of personalities from all over the globe; from young braggadocios who have only cherry picked fights to buff their record to an faux undefeated shine (Deontay Wilder), to archaic veterans thriving on a third wind (Shannon “The Cannon” Briggs), to fast rising stars bestowed titles of “chief” by their respective tribes (Joseph Parker), to mad kings retired to a trailer park only to mumble of their mortality (Tyson Fury), and to juggernauts jogging the earth with only the objective of destroying whatever lies in front of them (Anthony Joshua).
The table is nearly set, and all it takes is a Deontay-Wilder win next weekend for the main entrée to be served.
In simpler times, one could watch boxing and say, “Aha! There he is- the champ! That man that knocks out all the people with one punch, and puts them into oblivion, and then strings together several thesaurus-searchable words and at least two maximum vulgar (or equally violent) threats on the mic.” Ahhh, the days of Mike Tyson were simpler times to decode exactly what boxing was… or is. Dethroning himself, as his own worst enemy, Tyson let the Heavyweight belts fly obscurely into corners of the earth no simple-minded Westerner could care for, and thus we were given the reign of Lennox Lewis and the Klitzschos. None could care less to watch nearly 450 lbs of human battle to a decision throughout 12 rounds. It simply wasn’t the decisive violence we were introduced to in the 80’s and 90’s.
And so, the heavyweight division slugged on to its now-boiling existence and is ready to go stratospheric once again. With this new allure to boxing, comes a man you should YouTube twice and Google once, Anthony Joshua. A 28 year old, 6’6”, 250 lb human with a smile that could warm winter, Joshua glows a charismatic charm that also comes with a sordid past of legal issues and eyes that easily exude the gives-no-****s attitude that will most likely bore a legal issue.
What should be loved most about Anthony Joshua, is not that he has 20 fights, 20 wins, and 20 KO’s, it’s that he speaks with unwavering grace and unapologetic truth. And I don’t mean in the colonizing-Caucasian tone of “oh he speaks so well”, I mean it in the sense that he speaks with his heart, threatens reporters to ask better questions, and narrates the Heavyweight division with pure rationale. Fighters usually babble their way into maze of parables and lousy shit talk to illustrate a please-buy-the-pay-per-view-for-my-fight self-image. However, Joshua truthfully calls it what it is: The belts come with mandatory fights to defend them, Deontay Wilder can feed himself on low-grade heavies until he’s financially satisfied with retirement, and anyone who challenges me… I will fight them.
There’s a mode of relentlessness to Joshua that no other Heavyweight, or boxer, possesses right now. In a game of negotiating your worth, Joshua and his team of surly British promoters need only to point to his record for promotion. The brother sold out Wembley Stadium, is 20-0, and could sell a fight in pacifist township. You may not know sports well, or care for boxing at all (or anymore), however I implore you to give Anthony Joshua a shot.
Enjoy, and sports on, my friends.