With such a busy boxing schedule on the horizon, The MALESTROM stole some time ringside with resident boxing authority David Jarvis for a few casual rounds of sparring – as we look ahead to Joshua vs Klitschko, and talk Eddie Hearn, Tyson Fury and much, much more.
The MALESTROM: Let’s start with the mega fight, Klitschko vs Joshua. How do you see this one going?
David Jarvis: One thing is for sure, Joshua will not give Klitschko the fight that Fury did. Not in terms of movement. The Englishman will be there in front of him which could bring it down to a ‘who lands first fight’. Joshua has not been properly tested yet – though Dillian Whyte certainly hurt him – and if Klitschko lands early there is a feeling Joshua could find himself in too deep. It’s a view I subscribe to.
That said, Klitschko does not like being hit himself and has not reacted well in the past when under real pressure. My feeling is Klitschko wants this incredibly badly and he is sounding like a man prepared to take what he needs to take to get the job done. I hope I’m wrong.
TM: It’s hard to gauge what we’re going to get from Wladimir Klitschko?
DJ: I can’t see him changing now. He will be cautious. But what makes the fight different is that Joshua has all the size, height and reach advantages he does. Klitschko will try and take Joshua into the second half of the fight. It won’t be easy for him to land something big early, largely because he is so cautious and won’t risk it.
He will want Joshua to tire and slow down before he opens up. The only change in the script could be if Joshua gets reckless early on trying to prize him open. Then anything can happen.
TM: Do you think experience will be a factor?
DJ: Yes, a massive factor. That’s why I’m leaning towards Klitschko.
TM: Apart from age, could inactivity also be an issue for Klitschko? It’s a surprise he didn’t have a bout in 2016. That fight with Fury feels like a very long time ago now …
DJ: It could be. It is difficult to say. Only he knows where he is physically after the lay off following the Fury fight. But he has never entered the ring in anything other than supreme condition. I don’t believe he grew old in the Fury fight though, as has been suggested. Fury showed him more movement than a peak Ali – okay maybe it wasn’t as pretty but that is what he did – and he simply was not prepared for it. Joshua is much easier to prepare for.
TM: What was your reaction to the Haye vs Bellew fight?
DJ: I think amidst all the fall out it is easy to forget Haye wasn’t performing at all well before his Achilles went. His timing was off, he was out of range and his attacks looked clumsy.
Bellew was far more composed and boxing a better fight. That said, Haye showed tons of heart to stick in there. Who knows why he fought on when no one could have blamed him for pulling out? In a way, it reminded me of Chris Eubank senior’s last fight against Carl The Cat Thompson back in 1998.
He suffered a fearful beating before being stopped, having stepped up two weight divisions, and overnight he went from being the man the British public loved to hate to being adored … for a while at least. I wrote at the time …” out of defeat, Eubank conjured a kind of victory, winning the huge affection of Saturday’s crowd and a public at large which prefers its heroes bloody, beaten and brave.” The public hasn’t changed. Haye deserves tremendous credit and dare I say it, a rematch.
TM: Haye’s come out of it with more kudos than if he’d blown Bellew out in the first?
DJ: He certainly does. Maybe he hung in there because he is haunted by the huge criticism he received after his negative showing against Wladimir Klitschko in 2011 when he blamed a broken toe for his wide points defeat? Maybe he had said too much before the fight about how he was going to end Bellew’s career and was simply too embarrassed to just quit.
Personally, I don’t buy any of that. When the punches were booming in and Haye was trying desperately to find a way to survive, swinging his own bombs recklessly, all technique gone, he was not operating on that psychological level. Fighting on under such dire circumstances takes guts. Simple as that.
TM: Surely a rematch is on the cards? There certainly aren’t many options for Haye and for Bellew – fighting a genuinely big heavyweight looks a very bad idea?
DJ: Absolutely. Both men would be crazy not to sign up for the rematch. It is the biggest fight out there for both of them. It’s called prize fighting for a reason and for both that is where the big money is. Add to that the fact that Bellew is not big enough to mix it with other heavyweights and Haye looks to have gone badly backwards in terms of technique, then it’s ideal for both men. I’d watch it again and maybe this time we will get the fight the last one was shaping up to become before the injury.
TM: Could we just get your thoughts on Eddie Hearn? There’s a fair degree of negativity out there from hardcore boxing fans. Some of these fights are being seriously overhyped, and the undercards on these pay per views leave a lot to be desired. On the other hand, he’s certainly put British boxing on the map …
DJ: The criticism is well deserved too. There has been a tendency, in fact, to stack the undercard with quality matchups – to compensate for a pay-per-view fight that doesn’t quite cut it. A few times I’ve found myself paying because an intriguing undercard matchup has made it worthwhile and I’m sure that is exactly how it is planned. Joshua v Molina featured Chisora v White and Yafai v Concepcion – both more interesting fights to the true fan than a Joshua blow out.
Hearn is turning big fights into events (kerching) when many of us would prefer them to be just big fights. Often we are getting six-hour shows too to give that feeling of value and a massive event. It’s too long and it’s not value. Think quality. Think Linares v Crolla (both Sky fights promoted by Hearn which were not pay-per-view) but were head and shoulders above some of the pay per view bouts featuring Joshua. Think Lomachenko on BoxNation.
TM: Ok Mayweather vs McGregor – this looks like it could just be twelve rounds of Mayweather landing jabs and McGregor throwing bombs at thin air. The build-up might be the only entertainment on offer?
DJ: I still hope it never happens. McGregor is not a boxer. His YouTube clips show that.
But it’s an event. The build-up will captivate but it will not be an entertaining fight. McGregor will regret it I believe, not because he will lose but because he will look silly doing so. Fingers crossed it never happens. I’m reminded of the time a huge American basketball player called Wilt Chamberlain challenged Muhammad Ali in 1971.
The fight never happened but when it was proposed Ali met the 7ft 1in Chamberlain in a TV studio, looked up at him and shouted: “Timber”. It got a huge laugh and Chamberlain was visibly stunned by Ali’s self-confidence and total disrespect for his size. The fight never happened, maybe because Chamberlain finally realised he wasn’t a boxer. Nor is McGregor – not at this level. For me, he gets knocked out inside six rounds even against a 40-year-old Mayweather.
TM: Tyson Fury has emerged from the shadows – what’s next for him? There are no obvious fights on the cards, maybe a shot at Parker if his cousin falls short? Presumably, AJ will move straight on to Wilder if he sees off Klitschko?
DJ: It’s a difficult one. I find myself wondering how a British fighter responsible for one of the greatest upsets we have seen finds himself in this position. My main thought is that I hope he comes through his problems intact because some of the reports are disturbing. I’ve always thought of him as an excellent fighter and hugely underrated. It goes without saying he would need a warm up or two maybe against the likes of Joshua victim Dominic Breazeale, a limited but tough fighter, who would certainly test his appetite.
TM: And finally what’re your thoughts on the news that Mikkel Kessler has come out of retirement? He obviously doesn’t think a great deal of DeGale, Groves and Smith?
DJ: One word came to mind – Froch. I don’t even want to think about it. The Nottingham warrior has had his nose fixed and I can’t see him coming out of retirement. Though he will certainly be tempted. Kessler has said it is not for the money and at 38 I can’t see him doing anything, the great fighter that he has been. History says it never really works and I wish he wasn’t doing it. I don’t want to see him fight DeGale, Groves or Smith … because that is not who he would be fighting … as the man said, he’s up against time – and time’s undefeated.
Who do you see winning the Joshua vs Klitschko fight? Let us know.
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David has been writing about boxing since 1995 starting for Boxing Monthly as their reporter doing British, European, Commonwealth and World title fights. He says it was a privilege to be their York Hall man covering fights there and others on the domestic scene. After a move to Scotland, he became The Scotsman’s boxing writer (as well as news editor). He now contributes to Boxing Monthly, doing features.
Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org