The media has gone into overdrive regarding Anthony ‘Insert Whatever Nickname He Has Been Given” Joshua’s fight against New Zealand’s Joseph Parker and so it should. Parker has a glittering record against opponents no one has ever heard of. Let’s put it this way: shifty Eddie Hearn has not brought him over here to beat Joshua.
Whilst the media is close to boxing orgasm, I do not detect the same levels of excitement within the Great British Public. Of course, the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff is sold out and Sky will make a large fortune from pay per view sales. But I would say this is a major sporting event for not many people.
If you don’t fork out yet another large wedge to Sky, you will not see the fight on telly. If you want to listen to the fight, Hearn has flogged the radio broadcasting rights to TalkSport – sole owner Rupert Murdoch, which means I never listen to it – rather than the BBC. I don’t want to go all technical here, but what a greedy fucker Hearn is. The BBC has the brilliant Mike Costello and Steve Bunce in their boxing team. It’s a real shame, I suppose, but I shall do my best to sleep well tonight.
Given the recent tragedies in the ring, my sincere hope is that neither fighter gets seriously hurt. However, in a sport where the aim is to punch the opponent, usually to the head, and render him (or her) unconscious, the odds are that if a fighter doesn’t get seriously hurt, he (or she) will be storing up brain damage for later life. Meanwhile, “the thousands in attendance and those watching on TV all over the world” will just enjoy the occasion.
I am not going to lie. I am far more uncomfortable with boxing than I ever was. Last week, I watched a huge boxer called Dillian Whyte render a fat Australian nightclub bouncer unconscious, after cutting his face into a bloody mess. I watched it almost through my fingers. Even to a boxing ignoramus like me, it was obvious what was going to happen. Why on earth the fat Aussie’s corner didn’t throw in the towel when their man ran out of steam after a handful of rounds, I will never know. One day, perhaps in a decade or so, this poor man will probably be slurring his words, not really knowing what day it is. The promoters will still be lighting big fat cigars with £20 notes.
Joshua is, just about, a household name. People do know who he is, even those who don’t care much for boxing. He’s on the telly and in the papers all the time, except when he is actually doing the fighting. Most of his fellow boxers are as unknown as members of the English cricket team.
Another world title fight, another first round knockout. There, you read it it here first. If Parker wins on a late stoppage, ignore everything else, except for the but that both men will have a few less healthy brain cells at the end of the fight than they started with.