The heavyweight picture has always been more of a long running melodrama than a feature film, a truth we sometimes ignore but a truth nevertheless. Great actors have graced the stage and there have been plotlines, rivalries and performances to enrapture us. A few of us remain loyal through the leaner periods when the script dries up and the leading men exit stage left.
Despite the romantic montage we conjure when we think back to by-gone seasons from our formative years, whether Mike, Muhammad or Joe were playing the male lead, not all the episodes were Rumble in the Jungle or The Long Count. For every award winning production there was a Two Ton Tony or The Lion of Flanders episode too.
Currently, the plot-line threatens to wander too far from the source material and in doing so, lose the very present opportunity to create an era fans will talk about for many decades to come – a new golden age. Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury are the three leading heavyweights and nobody really knows who is best but the lack of attempts to find out threatens to disenfranchise all of us.
They are all fit, engaging and in their respective primes. A trio capable of extracting greatness from each other that may have been left uncaptured in an adjacent era, either the one before them, or the one yet to come. In their apparent equality they’ve an extraordinary opportunity to carve their names in to sporting folk-lore in the way Frazier, Ali and Foreman did.
Suggestions today that Anthony Joshua will tackle the American Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller in June in America and, in doing so, forgo his April date at Wembley represent a deviation from the anticipated Dillian Whyte rematch but brings us no closer to the series crescendo we all crave.
The business case Barry Hearn made, explicitly, a year ago as to why the Wilder fight should wait until 2019 and potentially 2020 could be understood, could be accepted. But the delay, no matter how lucrative or entertaining the interim bouts prove, risks spoiling the script and the unseen episodes.
With all that said, Miller will be entertaining and present a different type of challenge to any faced by a world champion in recent memory. Then again, he may prove to be just a bigger Two Ton Tony, it isn’t beyond him, given his success in projecting his name in to the championship picture using volume and personality, to proclaim he’ll “moider da bum” to confirm the echo.
And to close, you have to wonder how strategic the movement from April to June is too. Does Joshua become a protection for his American broadcaster, DAZN, against a mass departure of subscribers following the Canelo v Jacobs attraction in May?
Making fights is never as easy as it seems, the multi-platform era another complication, another agenda to meet.