HUBBARD’S CUPBOARD – 4.10.16
By Alan Hubbard
Eddie Hearn is never one to let a passing bandwagon pass unmounted so it is no surprise that he has been quick to suggest pairing Anthony Joshua with Wladimir Klitschko once the present heavyweight hiatus caused by Tyson Fury’s unfortunate vicissitudes is restored to some sort of normality.
Of course the Gypsy giant’s problems are dwarfed by the death of Scottish boxer Mike Towell but the heavyweight situation is one that boxing will have to address sooner rather than later, with Fury now teasing Twitter-world with an on-off retirement pledge.
Like many others, I have had my issues with potty-mouthed Fury, who in the past has admitted he may have ‘a screw loose’ but some of his present troubles are clearly self-inflicted so while we extend sympathy, some of the slagging-off he has received is not altogether undeserved.
What is paramount though is that no fighter should ever enter the ring unless he is 100 per cent sound both mentally and physically, and clearly Tyson isn’t at the moment.
After the latest revelations about failing a drugs test for alleged cocaine use there seems little doubt that in any case the boxing authorities would have no option but to relieve him of his titles and that the return with Klitschko will be put on hold yet again, if not indefinitely.
Fury’s behaviour has cost himself, his team and his management and promoters hundreds of thousands. One of his latest outrageous tweets, in which he calls boxing ‘a pile of shit’ and instructs all and sundry to ‘go suck a dick’ also confirms that, momentarily at least, that he is off his rocker.
In the meantime Hearn has not been shy of suggesting a Joshua-Klitschko match-up would certainly be a major attraction though as Frank Warren has pointed out, pairing the Olympic and IBF world champion with Klitschko would fly in the face of all the procedural regulations set down by governing bodies.
However as we know, in boxing it is by no means impossible for these to be overcome.
More significantly I feel it would be an unwise venture for Joshua at this time.
No doubt he is buoyed by the uncharacteristic timidity of Klitschko’s performance against Fury last November but essentially the Ukrainian was perplexed by Fury’s unorthodoxy. He simply couldn’t work him out, never having faced a quirky opponent like him before.
With Joshua it would be different. Big Josh’ style, effective as it has been so far, is more simplistic.
Klitschko has dealt comfortably with opponents like him before.
Also, none of Joshua’s opponents, even in his two world title fights, have had anything approaching the level of Klitschko’s ring nous and punching power.
Of course Joshua is young enough to come again if he gets beaten but surely it is far better for him to let 40-year-old Klitschko grow even older, for every day that passes the legs and the reflexes get slower.
If the match can be made, Tyson’s unbeaten cousin Hughie Fury could make a decent fist of fighting Joshua.
As for Tyson, there is little more to be said right now. He may feel has had a rough deal from the media and the public, and to an extent this is true, but sadly he has been his own worst enemy at times.
If he had acted more like a champion and less like a complete idiot things could have been so different. He could have been a national treasure rather that what he seems to be at the moment, a national embarrassment. We can only hope that with proper treatment he can become fighting fit again in every sense.
The real tragedy is that he possesses such immense talent. There has to be some compassion because it is obvious he is a disturbed individual and that is certainly the main reason why he should not be boxing in the immediate future, for his sake, as well as the sport’s.