Jun 27, 2018
Anthony Joshua, via his manager/promoter Eddie Hearn, has pulled out of the Deontay Wilder fight and decided to take sign on to fight a different opponent.
This is extremely frustrating, disappointing and sadly expected from a sport that has a hard time making us, the fans, believe that it is on the level. From signs of corrupt judging to selective matchmaking, it too often seems like the fix is in for one markee fighter over the other.
In this case, it seemed that the Joshua team created hurdle after hurdle and put up roadblock after roadblock to keep this fight from being made. They tried to force the Wilder team to be the ones to say no to the fight, but when they continued to accept each and every new and unexpected condition placed on them, it was Anthony Joshua and his team that decided that they would not finalize negotiations and would walk away from potentially the biggest fight of the decade.
This is what is wrong with boxing, this is why it's hard to be a fan of this sport, this is why for a somewhat casual like me to get invested in the ridiculous amounts of organizations and titles that exist, and why should I? Why? If the best of the best is just going to tango around contracts and avoid making fights happen until it is way too late?
At least MMA tries to give fans what they want, whether by putting the most loved/hated fighters versus each other or by making fights between the best fighters in each division. Boxing is still being boxing. It doesn't even try to hide the stench of foul play and dirty deals and while I admire the fighters and respect what they do, way too few promotors wield way too much power in the matchmaking process. This leads to matches that protect their cash cows versus matches that represent the best of the sport.
The truly sad part is that the ones that have to pay (literally and figuratively) are the fans. That's why it's hard to grow the fanbase of a sport that barely seems sportsmanlike in how it does business. That's why it's hard to get friends to believe in the validity of champions that avoid the toughest challenges. That's why boxing stays the same while all other sports seem to be growing their fanbase.