Never Mind The Post-Fight Hype, Joshua-Klitschko Was A Big Deal. Here’s Why.
By: Sean Crose
Some people are driven insane by the kind of hyperbole that surrounds any major event. For instance, I get put off by fellow Star Wars nuts who simply praise all things Star Wars to the Yavin 4 moon, regardless of quality (Rogue One wasn’t all that great, people!). With that in mind, I can understand why some are already getting annoyed by the breathless accolades Saturday’s Joshua-Klitschko extravaganza has been receiving. Still, there’s something equally off-putting to me about those deflating types who are always apt to shrug at something others genuinely love and admire. I know such people, and I sometimes wonder if their chronic dismissiveneness is, in fact, some kind of strange psychological power play. Sure enough, a few of these naysayers appear to be weighing in on Joshua-Klitschko, as well.
Let’s take a step back and try to view things objectively, then. On the surface, Anthony Joshua stopped Wladimir Klitschko in front of almost six figures worth of people in a back and forth heavyweight title fight. That’s it. Or is it? Was there really more to the bout than what was on the surface? Are those breathless masses right in this case? Upon consideration, I think they actually are. All the praise may get a bit much to swallow at times, but hey, this was one of those events that earned the loud chorus of cheers it’s receiving. If people are going to go bonkers for something, at least this time it’s for something worthwhile.
For starters, Joshua-Klitschko was held in front of ninety thousand people. That’s ninety thousand. Sure, that in and of itself might not be that impressive in the larger scheme of things (Didn’t Dempsey fight in front of bigger crowds on several occasions?), but Saturday’s live audience at London’s Wembley Stadium was absolutely electric. Watching the bout live on Showtime, it was literally hard to hear ring announcer Michael Buffer speak into a microphone over the uproarious crowd. That says something, and what it says is this fight brought with it more energy than most of us have seen in years. The crowd at Wembley was pumped up to epic proportions. Never mind boxing, I’ve never, to my knowledge, felt that kind of vibe through the television for a sporting event of any kind.
And that’s saying something.
Yet Joshua-Klitschko was also an electric fight. Seriously. This one played out like a super sized version of the first Leonard-Hearns throwdown, with one man dominating, then another, for round after round, until Joshua found the strength within himself to finish his masterful opponent off for good. That sort of thing, simply put, is good boxing. No, it’s great boxing. People will be talking about this bout – not the hype – the bout itself, for years to come. And with good reason. It may not have been as shocking as Tyson-Douglas, but it was enormously entertaining, perhaps the best heavyweight title fight in the past 25 years.
And that’s saying something, too.
What made the bout even more intriguing, however, was the knowledge that there were still questions to be answered afterwards. When Mayweather beat Pacquiao, the story was essentially over. Yet this particular story can go in a million different directions – and it’s not self-contained like the Floyd-Manny throwdown was. Will there be a rematch? Will Joshua get his match with a cleaned up Tyson Fury? Will the thunderously hard hitting Deontay Wilder end up stealing the heavyweight crown when the dust finally settles? And what of Joseph Parker? And what of Luis Ortiz? And what of…
Make no mistake about it, we live in an age where the volume is always turned up to full blast. On this particular occasion, however, the music is simply good enough to warrant it.
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