For real. The man put it all on the line. He lost his belt, but gained respect.
I was a fan of his from the first. In his ‘fast track’ strategy, fighting difficult competition his entire career, I found a lot to admire. He recently criticized the titlists (Fury and Usyk) for being too attached to their undefeated record. Joyce lost his “0” and it looks good on him, like a scar on the face of a soldier.
You may have noticed that I haven’t written anything here for over a year. It got to the point that all there was to write about was my frustration with the titlists, and the long list of “mandatory” challengers, and how the tapeworm had made the whole thing constipated. I went on strike.
I had written so much about Fury and his refusal to fight anyone that it got boring, even to me.
I wanted to write about fights of consequence. That’s what Joyce gave us.
Not like Fury’s farce with Chisora, or Anthony Joshua’s snoozapalooza against Germaine Franklin. Those didn’t inspire, they didn’t matter. Since Michael Coffie lost to Jonnie Rice twice, he lost to Gurgen Hovhannisyan (say that one out loud. Go on, I dare you) and then to Fabio Wardley (a meteoric thud if I ever saw one.) Jonnie Rice got another TKO win over an undefeated opponent. That one almost got me to write.
I like Jonnie Rice, and I’ll tune in when he’s fighting, but he is not a contender. It really doesn’t matter.
I first wrote about Zhang in April of 2020. Joyce I’ve talking about since July of 2019. I’ve been talking these guys up, predicting good things for them for years.
Joyce talks the talk, and he walks the walk. He did it against Daniel Dubois, and he did it against Zhang. He lays it all on the line. Now let’s see who will fight him.
This may take a while…
The “loss” to Hrgovic did not hurt Zhang’s chances (as I predicted). He got past the snub of that judgement in a hurry, placing himself among the “mandatory” throng in his very next fight. I hope to see him fight Fury or Usyk someday, but…(drumroll):
Saudi promoter Amer Abdallah is trying to get Joshua to fight Wilder, and Fury to fight Usyk on the same night. I am not making this up. I am tempted to think Abdallah might be inhaling nitrous oxide, but I admire his vision. He says, “negotiations are underway”. He is trying to set this up for December, so Christmas may come early. Ironically it may be an event in the desert that will end the drought in heavyweight championship boxing.
It is said that Fury will fight Andy Ruiz on July 22. I hope that happens. I hope Andy knocks him out and retires, no rematch. There is still plenty of time for Fury to chicken out. Keep your fingers crossed.