Why Joshua-Klitshcko Looks To Be A Superfight Done Right
By: Sean Crose
One of the downsides of boxing is that you never know just how good a given match will turn out. Hagler-Hearns was magnificent. Pacquiao-Clottey, not so much. If there’s one thing that burns fans and non-fans alike, however it’s a superfight that falls flat. The highly lucrative, widely panned Mayweather-Pacquiao fiasco of 2015 is a prime example of a superfight done wrong. This month’s Joshua-Klitshcko heavyweight title matchup, the first true superfight since May-Pac, on the other hand, appears to be done right. Why? Because those involved look to have firmly grasped the four basic concepts that go into making a superfight effective.
ONE: THAT PROMOTERS RECOGNIZE WHAT BOXING IS WHEN IT’S AT ITS BEST
Boxing, at its best, answers a simple question of who would win in a fight. Could Leonard come back and best Hagler? Could Holyfield possibly best Mike Tyson? Could Ali beat the ferocious young George Foreman? These are the sorts of questions that draw in lots of eyeballs, lots of buzz and, yes, lots of money. A great many people, millions perhaps, want to know who would win in a fight between old lion Wladimir Klitschko and rising star Anthony Joshua. At this point, it seems close to one hundred thousand individuals will even be seeing Joshua-Klitshcko live and in person. Why? Because this contest is a tough one to call walking in.
TWO: THAT FANS FEEL THERE’S AN ACTUAL CHANCE THAT BOTH FIGHTERS CAN WIN
If a Conor McGregor-Floyd Mayweather boxing match ever goes down, it will be a massive event on a global scale. It will never, however, be a superfight. That’s because no one with an ounce of objectivity feels McGregor has much of a chance of winning. There’s no real question involved in the scenario. It’s all just spectacle. Look at it another way: Tyson-Douglas was a fight for the ages, but it was no superfight. Why? Because no one gave Douglas a chance of winning (well, I did, actually, but that’s for another time). It was simply to be another televised beatdown for Iron Mike. The suspense, then, came during the bout, rather than before it. There’s a reason that classic match wasn’t aired on PPV. Joshua-Klitshcko, on the other hand, could obviously go either way, hence, the suspense and excitement in the leadup to the opening bell.
THREE: THAT THE FIGHTERS INVOLVED ACTUALLY BELONG IN A SUPERFIGHT
Canelo Alvarez can fill Cowboys Stadium with as many fans as he wants – he won’t be engaged in a superfight so long as he’s throwing down with the likes of Liam Smith. Same goes for Manny Pacquiao fighting in Australia. His battle with Jeff Horn will be enormous in the land down under, but everywhere else? Not so much. Liam Smith may someday blast his way to superstardom. And who knows? Horn may stun Pacquiao. At the moment, however, neither opponent warrants a superfight, no matter who he battles. Needless to say, both on-the-rise Joshua, and Klitschko, the long time former heavyweight king, have backgrounds that warrant a match of superfight proportions.
FOUR: THAT THE EVENT IS PROMOTED PROPERLY
While no one can deny that the Mayweather-Pacquiao bout was a superfight, it certainly wasn’t an effective one. Why? Well, because it marinated…and marinated…and marinated….for just about half a decade. I love marinaded meat myself, but after a few hours, I begin to lose my appetite. Furthermore, the entire affair was an over-powered money vacum. I’ll never forget Bob Arum’s flippant dismissal of the boxing media in the lead up to the bout. He didn’t need run of the mill fight writers anymore, he needed journalists fresh from the top of Mount Olympus. Bye-bye ringside reporter, hello Merideth Vieria! And people wonder why non-boxing fans were so grossly disappointed with how Mayweather-Pacquiao turned out. They were listening to and reading the words of people who knew absolutely nothing about the sport. Joshua-Klitshcko, on the other hand, was made as quickly as possible, considering the seriousness of the nature and the popularity of the players involved. What’s more, one suspects the goal here is to please boxing fans and non-fans alike. Too bad it won’t air live on network television in the states. It would be nothing but good for the sport.