The Heavyweight Division: Indifference & Frustration
Once we had a position of momentum and great excitement now it’s a case of indifference and great frustration. All the excitement has gone, to be replaced by the seemingly three-way dance of avoidance at the top of world heavyweight scene.
Contenders are turning down career-high purses with world title belts on the line, and then taking less money with no titles up for grabs, leaving the older generation of fighters shaking their heads in disbelief.
The big three show no sign of fighting one another and their main challenger continues to be avoided or avoid, depending on the narrative you believe or want to believe.
Tyson Fury in a few short months has lost much of what he gained from his admittedly heroic comeback from his personal demons and a quite remarkable performance against Deontay Wilder. The rematch looked guaranteed, but now he will soon ‘defend’ his so-called lineal title, a claim which lacks about as much validity as Jarrell Miller’s initial protests he never knowingly took any banned substance.
Miller only had to show up clean, go for the occasional jog and the millions would be his. The subsequent 6-month suspension is a joke of a punishment and absolutely no deterrent whatsoever. Do the crime, serve very little time, is the message being sent here.
Now the hyped big American launch for Anthony Joshua has lost much of the buzz it initially might have carried. Andy Ruiz Jr is a decent enough heavyweight and is admittedly a short notice replacement, but the fight isn’t what we hoped for, nowhere near.
Wilder will soon fight Dominic Breazeale in a fight with about the same interest as a rematch between Dereck Chisora and Senad Gashi. Wilder should win and then the fight really begins. Not inside the ring of course, that would be too simplistic, to old-fashioned.
If Dillian Whyte as expected defeats Oscar Rivas in yet another eliminator, will he finally then be granted a title shot. The negotiations behind the scenes might be the most interesting thing to happen in the heavyweight division this year. Team Wilder looks to have other plans which don’t seem to include Whyte.
Whyte has put a certain value on his talents, but with others probably perceiving him as just too much of a risk, he might need a rethink of strategy to finally nail down that long-awaited title shot.
On Whyte vs Rivas, somehow the world’s 4th best heavyweight against a fringe contender is worthy of PPV platform in the UK. Yes, I understand the market value of certain fighters and good luck to the fighters, but still.
That said, Whyte vs Rivas is probably the best of the heavyweight fights currently scheduled, how much that really means is debatable.
Sadly I don’t see any real change going forward, at least in the short-term. The politics will go on, the fights we really want won’t. Joshua and Wilder could end up just being in effect champions of their own promotional or network connections.