Dubois v. Joyce

Two boxers in the ring

The boxing world owes both Dubois and Joyce a big old debt of gratitude.  That was refreshing.  That was bracing.  That was no fake boxing – that was a bout of real import.  I am sure those that inhabit the tapeworm (see “And the New…“) hated it because, with any luck, the fans will start to demand fights of real import and will turn their back on the foregone conclusion bout and, with a flip of a mental foot, brush the virtual kitty litter of disdain over the whole sordid thing.

Probably not. While it was fake boxing and it was frustrating to watch Tyson Fury beat up Tom Schwarz, the fact is I did watch, because there is always that chance…. Remember Andy Ruiz?

But what these guys (Joyce and Dubois) did was marvelous. They risked their undefeated records for a chance to break into the top ten, get that much closer to a title shot. And the possibilities are tantalizing.

And give the greater measure of credit to Joyce. At his age, he was taking the greater risk. The comeback trail is likely too long for one 35 years old. He has said he would do this publicly from the outset – he calls it the “fast track” to the title. He has from the beginning sought tougher competition, eschewing the normal introductory years, beating up on inferior or washed-up talent, stacking his record with ill-gotten, farcical “Ws” like everyone else.

He is 12-0, and his 12 opponents have a combined winning percentage of .866. Compare that to Fury’s first 12 opponents at .622 or Joshua’s at .677. Wilder was the most cautious of this group – his first 12 opponents won only 53% of the time. (Dubois’ first 12, by the way, a very respectable .803).

It’s amazing that the tapeworm ( ) let this happen.

“Jerry, you ignorant slut! Wilder fought Fury twice now. Those were fights of real import! When Joshua had the rematch with Ruiz, that was a fight of real import too. What are you talking about?”

True – those were real fights, not fakes. But they came at the price of seemingly endless negotiations, offers and counter offers, maneuvering, misleading, ducking, and dodging.

“He doesn’t want to fight me!”

“I made the offer!”

“I never received a contract!”

You don’t know what to believe, and you sure don’t know when to tune in to see a fight. (“Maybe in 2022.”)

And don’t forget, Ruiz / Joshua was supposed to be as fake as an eleventy-seven dollar bill. The fact that Ruiz won is what made the return bout real.

And how long have we been clamoring for a Wilder / Joshua matchup? Years. The answer is measured in years.

Prior to that, how long did it take Mayweather / Pacquiao to come together?

Look – I understand there has to be some level of ring-engineering. I defend it here (see The Rhyme and Reason of Matchmaking). but too often the over-zealousness for the bottom line () leads to the farce, fake boxing, wanking (see Hail to the Tosser King and The Tosser King Redux).

Nobody wants to see that.

Well, at least I reserve the right to complain about it.

The sad fact is that there is an audience for fake boxing. On the same day Dubois fought Joyce, Mike Tyson fought Roy Jones Junior in a spurious pay-per-view event that also featured a retired basketball player (Nate Robinson) getting knocked unconscious by some “youtuber” – whatever that is.

But there have always been bastardizations of the fight game. Manute Bol fighting Refrigerator Perry comes to mind or for that matter Mayweather v. Conor McGregor.

A more extreme example was what they once called a “battle royale” – a ring full of (black) men, blindfolded. The “winner” was the last man standing. That spectacle had nothing to do with the sweet science, it was just cruelty. That Nate Robinson fight was cruelty too. So was Fury v. Schwarz. Violence as entertainment: tough man contests, bare-knuckle boxing (there’s folks out there doing that now too), underground fight clubs….

The UFC started as just another bastardization of boxing. In its infancy it was unchecked violence. Head butts, kicking a downed man, even punches to the groin were allowed at first. Sadly, there is an audience for that, and there is an audience for boxing. They are different. Tyson’s tom-foolery will not ruin boxing. Let him have his sideshow. He’s certainly earned the celebrity status that allows him to draw a crowd.

Back to Joyce / Dubois. Dubois was favored – I don’t know why. The thing turned out pretty much as I expected. Joyce beaned him throughout the bout with a potent jab, giving him a big owie early in the fight that continued to worsen and eventually ended the contest. Dubois twice had a rally that looked like big trouble for Joyce. Especially the first one (I think in round 2). I thought the big fellow was going down.

The difference (what I didn’t expect) was Joyce’s chin. He made it through the Dubois rallies unhurt, it seemed. A marvel, and I’m sure the opposite of what the odds makers expected.

So lets get this Pulev farce behind us, (yes, I predict a Joshua win), yawn through Fury’s next fight (I think it’s Woody Allen) [now postponed until 2021], and let’s get Zhang and Ajagba and Joyce in the mix.

And enough with the rematches already! If you get beat, just say, “He was the better man tonight,” or “My fight plan didn’t work,” or “I got my ass beat.” Go back to the drawing board, sure, but fight somebody else. Looking at you, Dillian.

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