Legendary trainer and current ESPN pundit Teddy Atlas suggested to Sirius XM’s Boxing Radio Show this week that the team behind British heavyweight Anthony Joshua should be arrested if they allow him to fight American WBC champion Deontay Wilder next rather than fulfil mandatory obligations.
Joshua was given a 30-day window by the WBA to arrange a bout against mandatory opponent Alexander Povetkin following his 12-round unanimous decision defeat of Kiwi Joseph Parker in early April.
However, that window has expired with no sign of Joshua being stripped of his title as the boxing world’s attention turns to a potential ‘super-fight’ between unified champion Joshua and WBC belt-holder Wilder.
When asked whether AJ should focus on fighting the hard-hitting American next, Atlas told the station that: "Wilder can do one thing. He can punch like a son of a gun! Why would you risk that if you can fight anybody?"
He then continued: "Joshua’s people should be arrested if they put him in there with him right now!"
While the basis of Atlas’ reasoning is clearly that Joshua shouldn’t fight Wilder until he has to, such is the enormous punching power of the American, such talk will likely be viewed unfavourably by boxing fans.
Wilder possesses perhaps the most ferocious right hand across the entire sport, and while his boxing skills are under constant scrutiny, it is thought that he would seriously test Joshua’s perceived weak chin should he connect cleanly.
While Joshua has mandatories due against Povetkin and Kubrat Pulev, it is likely that the sanctioning bodies would offer Joshua and Wilder the opportunity to fully unify the heavyweight division.
If he was to capture Wilder’s WBC strap, Joshua would become the first man in history to hold all four of the major heavyweight titles. The same fate would await Wilder if he was to defeat Joshua and rip his WBO, WBA, and IBF titles from him.
Atlas went on to say: "Right now, they can make money fighting other guys. Maybe a year, two years down the road the fight becomes a bigger fight. Then you go and take that risk."
While there is little doubt that Joshua will sell out any stadium regardless of the quality of his opponent, many boxing fans will deduce that a Joshua vs Wilder fight would count as the biggest heavyweight battle for the best part of a generation, with both men at the very peak of their powers and little to no marinating needed.
There is also the danger that, should the two pugilists decline to fight each other next, there is the possibility that either man could lose in the meantime, potentially scuppering the chances of the two meeting at the height of their popularity.
We can only hope that Atlas’ pleas for Joshua to avoid Wilder falls on deaf ears!
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms