By Sean Crose
Deontay Wilder, holder of one small piece of the heavyweight pie, had just thoroughly concussed a game and tough Artur Szpilka. Usually a showman by nature, Wilder opted post-fight to play it cool, to be respectful of an opponent who may well have been severely injured by his gloved hands. It was a tasteful, appropriate moment given the possible gravity of the situation.
Enter one Tyson Fury.
Unquestionably the heavyweight division’s new king of the hill, Fury strutted up to Wilder like a modern day John L and started shooting off his mouth. Knowing Fury’s effectiveness in the psychological warfare department, Wilder smartly got right back in the big man’s face. Fury then took off his coat before the Brooklyn, New York crowd as if he were a vaudevillian about to enter a staged saloon brawl.
Fast forward to a few weeks later.
Light heavyweight bruiser Sergey Kovalev had just mercilessly pummeled a brave and battered Jean Pascal in front of Pascal’s hometown Montreal crowd. The fight could have probably ended much sooner than it had – but it was clear Kovalev enjoyed brutalizing his opponent far too much to end things in a timely manner. Now Kovalev was taking a shot at Adonis “Chikenson” Stevenson, his fellow light heavyweight titlist, in the post-fight interview.
Sure enough, Stevenson himself jumped right into the ring to confront Kovalev head on. Kovalev flipped Stevenson the bird and walked away. Another pay cable card (Wilder-Szpilka appeared on Showtime, Kovalev-Pascal was on HBO), another post-fight incident.
So, what’s up? Was Stevenson merely mimicking Fury? Is this all a sign of a new trend? Could it be that the network honchos like this sort of thing? Could these incidents actually be encouraged? It’s hard to say, really, but they seem to act as a double edge sword.
For one thing, they make boxing exciting, which is something in our world that boxing hasn’t really been lately. On the other hand, such shenanigans are low brow, sophomoric and borderline embarrassing. Fury looked like a cartoon character taking off his coat on the Showtime card. As for Stevenson, he looked even worse, for no one believes he wants to have anything to do with facing Kovalev (whether he may actually want to or not) at this point.
What’s truly telling, however, is that action outside the ring and after the closing bell now dominates the boxing headlines. Seriously, aside from these post-fight antics and ominous whispers (some seemingly substantiated) regarding Al Haymon’s PBC, there really isn’t much to talk about these days. GGG can’t get a solid fight, Manny’s fighting Tim (yet again), and Shawn Porter is finally facing Keith Thurman in a solid, though not epic, welterweight matchup.
That’s really all there is to discuss when it comes to major boxing news right now. Perhaps, then, these shenanigans are acting to fill a void in what is starting to seem like a barren and disappointing first half of 2016. Hopefully there will be better things for fans to get excited over in the future. This sort of thing, frankly, just isn’t cutting it.