If life were a comic book or an action movie you’d know that one of these two is soon to put a right cross on Vladimir Putin’s lips that would knock him clean through a brick wall, or into the waiting mouth of a dinosaur or something. Olexander Usyk would be their side-kick. All three would then go home to a buxom wife and drink vodka straight out of the bottle while the closing credits rolled. I can even hear the theme music, you can too.
But if you don’t know, those aren’t actors. This is no movie. That’s Vladimir and Vitaly Klitschko, former heavyweight world champions. Yes, they are on the front lines along with Olexander Usyk (current heavyweight world champion), in real life, fighting the Russians.
All these men, and (Vasiliy Lomachenko too,) are proud Ukrainians.
God, “real life”, how I hate it at times.
I have seen these men in combat over 100 times, and I have never seen them look as grim as they do in that photo above.
I recently wrote about how I didn’t like to think of boxing as “entertainment”, that the sacrifices of these men (ironically, we call them “warriors”) deserve a more dignified characterization. I felt that a black eye or a broken nose was as real as life needs to be. I believe that war should have looking over it a supreme authority, someone to penalize a low blow, or a head butt, and to ring the bell to signal an end to hostilities.
I have no place for rockets and madness. That crazy son of a bitch fired on a nuclear power plant! When you get to him, Vladimir, lean into it. Don’t hold anything back.
But of course real life exists. Of course these men are fighting for their homeland, their people. There is an order to things, and real life far outweighs entertainment.
And in real life there is the “out there’ aspect, things beyond my control and even my comprehension. Things like international politics. I can’t begin to make sense of it and it worries me that other people claim that they can. I think all I can do is pray, then wait and see what happens.
So then, the Joshua / Usyk rematch is indefinitely postponed. We were supposed to get this one out of the way so we could resume hoping for a unification bout, one to name an undisputed champion. But the four belts that Usyk owns will be unavailable for challenge till this madness stops.
Of course, the tapeworm could start ‘stripping’ him of one title or another in what would be a singularly tasteless and callous act. They could then put those belts up for grabs for lesser men to fight for.
I read where, since Usyk is unavailable, that Joshua is going to fight Otto Wallin.
Fury is fighting Dillian Whyte.
Wake me up when it’s over.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll watch both of those fights, but I am not inspired by either of them. I grieve that we seem to be letting so many potentially great matchups fade to nothingness as all these men continue to age into the sunset.
Usyk is 35 years old already. Fury is 33. Joshua 32, Wilder 36. Joe Joyce is 36 too, and even Andy Ruiz is 32.
Derek Chisora and Chris Arreola refuse to go away (38 and 41 respectively).
At least we haven’t heard from Shannon Briggs for a while (50).
Eddie Hearn is only 42. Let’s put him in the ring with Luis Ortiz, who is also 42. I’d definitely pay to see that one.
Don King and Bob Arum are both 90 years old. They say only the good die young so I guess the fartheaded live forever. Makes sense.
There is a good one coming up that is supposed to be a done deal: Hrgovic vs. Zhang. Two undefeated prospects in a title eliminator. The winner is supposed to be the IBF mandatory challenger for Usyk. I hope they don’t scrub this because Usyk may be unavailable for a time. But this one too may disappear like a mist.
Zhang is 38 by the way.
Anyway, it seems all the best matchups, (like Fury / Joshua) exist only in the mind of boxing fans; the loyal but beleaguered boxing fans.
*Vitaly’s nickname for Vladimir. You can hear him shouting this from the corner during his first fight against Samuel Peter.