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March Of The Heavyweight's: The Aftermath

The Division Spent The Last Month Under The Microscope, But What Did We Learn?

By

By Aaron Cooper

If you've ever read any of my literary pieces you will know that I, like many others in the great sport of boxing still see the heavyweight division as the pinnacle of the sport. Not only that but as Michael Buffer pointed out on Saturday night, the heavyweight championship of the world really is the greatest in all of the sports. Living in England I have seen the sport I know and love so very much rise from the ashes of fading popularity to become arguably the second most watched sport in the country. There is something about boxing's big men that it dominates even the most casual of fans conversation on a Monday morning at work.

For the first time in recent memory the heavyweight division truly under the microscope. Sky Sports called it 'The March Of The Heavyweights'. Time waits for no one, and as March has made way for April. It is only right that we reflect on what we have seen. Where will the division go from here? Have we learned anything? If so what does it all mean?

Whilst it is fair to say that many of our questions have been answered, I'm left feeling that this month has asked its own set of unique questions. Questions which will not be answered for the time being at least.

Deontay Wilder: Flawed But Oh So Dangerous

You're probably all sat reading this thinking I'm trying to tell you something you don't already know. Whilst at first glance you may be right. Let us scratch the surface a little deeper. For years fans from all walks of life have been critical of America's heavyweight champion, and you'd kind of have a point. Being 40 fights into a heavyweight career and with only one world level name that holds any weight. Wilder has his fair share of naysayers. But after his performance at the beginning of the month SHOULD have put paid to some of those doubters. No, Wilder did not put on a boxing clinic, a virtuoso display of boxing skill. But what he did do was get the job done against an opponent no other top-level heavyweight dared to go near. You are simply never going to get a fundamentally sound performance from him. He is wild, he is awkward, but my word he is powerful. You can criticise his style all you like, for I know that it isn't pleasing to the eye. The fact of the matter is in this modern day era, where I think it is fair to say the depth of talent is at a minimum. Wilder's awkwardness is his best asset. Primarily because you really aren't sure when that mother of all right hands is going to head for your chin. Say what you will about Wilder. But his performance against Luis Ortiz showed he has the heart. He does have a chin, and whether you are are a fan of his or not. He has the credentials to become the number one in the division.

Joshua A Step Closer To Greatness.

You can never please everybody, its a simple fact of life. But one thing we know for sure is that Anthony Joshua further enhanced his hold as the number one fighter in the division. I know a lot of you are feeling robbed of the usual gung-ho life and death type of fight we have seen from AJ in his last two fights. But I actually believe Joshua when he says that was never the plan. “I was always going to stick behind the jab, one of the most important weapons in boxing, and kept the right hand up. This is boxing. It’s what we do. Forget the hype. Joseph Parker is a good world champion. As I said before, this would be about boxing. The main thing now is I am the unified heavyweight champion of the world.” Such were the risks of the first fight on British soil between two undefeated fighters, for the unified heavyweight championship of the world no less. Joshua and his team decided to adopt a safety first approach, and it paid off. A lighter AJ went the full fight distance for the first time in his career, and he didn't look bad in doing so. Let's be realistic, Joseph Parker was a world champion. But Joshua showed Ring IQ we have not seen from him before at this level. Controlling the distance, pace, and intensity. Something he will need to do for the sterner challenges ahead. It wasn't a memorable fight by any stretch, but it did teach us one or two things.

Povetkin And Whyte Wait In The Wings. 

Dillian Whyte and Alexander Povetkin have both had to overcome their own unique set of challenges in recent times. Whyte has been busy rebuilding his career since his devastating knockout loss to Joshua in December 2015. But his most recent performance will have certainly done no harm in trying to throw his own name into the title equation. 'The Bodysnatcher' providing us all with a timely reminder that he is not to be taken lightly, and not the same fighter that lost a little over two years ago. Povetkin too must not be forgotten. He is still the WBA mandatory challenger to Joshua's title. Last night he reminded us all of his ability to turn a fight on its head with deadly precision. Although, David Price showed us all Povetkin can be caught and struggled with his taller, longer opponent at times. Whether you like them or not, both men will be considered risks to the two champions crowns.

So What Happens Next?

Again regular readers will be familiar with me using the term the heavyweight cold war. For the first time in a long time, I think that may be coming to a close. Last night was the first time I can recall Anthony Joshua actively calling out his American rival. It is highly unlikely the governing bodies will order a mandatory for both champions, for the time being at least. So we are left with the inevitable questions of where and when. Joshua made it clear last night he does not intend to travel, stating the popularity the sport he champions being white hot in his homeland. But, his promoter is a businessman after all. Eddie Hearn will no doubt see the benefit of his charge fighting in one of boxing's mecca's overseas. With Wilder seemingly backing down from his financial demands of an even share of the spoils, we may well have a fight. 

This, of course, means everyone else may well have to wait. Povetkin is WBA mandatory, but may well have Dillian Whyte to contend with in the summer. That is of course unless the WBC mandate a fight between Whyte and Luis Ortiz. Former Joshua foe Dominic Breazeale has been ordered to fight Kubrat Pulev in an IBF mandatory too. Piece by piece the division is beginning to take shape. 

And of course, I couldn't write an article about heavyweight boxing without mentioning a certain 'Gypsy King' who is close to making a comeback of his own. Furthermore, if we get the Tyson Fury of old. He could well ruin just about everyone's Sundays for a long time to come.

The plot thickens, and the heavyweight division has received the shot in the arm it needed oh so badly.