We need to talk.
As Angelo Dundee would say, “you’re blowing it, son.”
Even though the bout was boring as hell, your historically important victory over Wladimir Klitschko for the championship brought new life to the heavyweight division. You shook up the world and boxing owes you a collective nod of appreciation, if not necessarily all the scorn that comes your way for blithely speaking your mind as heavyweight champion of the world. Please keep walking the walk.
And talking the talk.
You said you’d lick that Klitschko and you did.
But have you been keeping up with recent events in your kingdom since seizing the throne last November in Germany? Your British countryman Anthony Joshua has blown right by you in terms of popularity, scoring two big knockouts in London this year to grab and defend the IBF title they stripped from you after you won universal recognition from King Wladimir. Speaking of that alphabet soup move, were you expecting the IBF to recognize you in perpetuity regardless of how fat, happy, and inactive you got? Good thing they saw the writing on the wall and prevented you from taking hostage of their title belt. The only question is would it have been big enough to keep your pants up these days? Your American counterpart Deontay Wilder has been making new fans as the active WBC champ but every time he hits somebody a little too hard, he damages his brittle hands. The “Bronze Bomber” will probably not fight again this year.
While it’s true that you only just won the championship nine months ago, you’ve failed to defend it since, gaining weight, injuring your ankle, and withdrawing from a scheduled July 9 rematch against Klitschko. You’ve been awfully quiet since that return bout got scrapped and I miss hearing from you big guy. We all do. You’re a riot on the mic. You’re our furious heavyweight champion who talks shit and gets hit—by his own self and sometimes by others. You’re our walking, talking reminder that the heavyweight champion of a world at war should be a larger than life figure, unpredictable in his acts of sanctioned violence, beholden to no regular man’s rules or public sensibilities. Can you be yourself inside and outside of the ring or have the job pressures already overwhelmed you?
It’s now September 2016 and you have no plans it would seem to do anything. Talk about the Klitschko rematch has faded away, and as heavyweight champion of the world, it appears you have no plans whatsoever to defend that linear title; instead you’re now sidelined watching the parade go by. It’s high time for you to get in shape, get back in the ring, and handle your rematch business with Klitschko. Now I hear he’s suing you to get in the ring? How pathetic. Plenty of other well deserving big men are out there (Luis Ortiz and Joseph Parker to name two) waiting for a shot at the same title you got your shot at because the gentleman you beat was, if nothing else, an active, fighting champion who took on all deserving comers.
If none of this interests you, do us all a favor and stop jerking us around. Vacate the heavyweight title immediately and announce your retirement. Endorse Wladimir Klitschko as “the man who sued the man” and head for the pubs. Your place in British boxing history is secure as is your place in Irish Traveler lore. I’ve heard you say that nothing could ever be as rewarding as having been the one to finally dethrone Klitschko, and I can understand and respect that. I really can. Yet you can clearly see that the business of ABC heavyweight championship fights is moving into a lucrative future with or without you as its “real champion” so why not take your rightful place as undefeated Gypsy King of the world and be the great heavyweight champion you could be if you really wanted to be? You ended the recent era of “boring” heavyweight title events and replaced it with what?
A world without a heavyweight champion?
Yours in fistiana,
Jeffrey Alan Freeman,
American Boxing Writer
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