The tributes continue to pour in for The Greatest, Muhammad Ali, as we all knew they would after his sad passing of June 3rd. But one man, IBF heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua, a huge Ali fan, is planning to pay a visual tribute to the great man: by mimicking Ali’s flashy Ali Shuffle. A number of fighters who came after Ali have tried to either win over fans or impress them by doing The Shuffle, and it has not always gone down too well. Seen by many fans as a classless act, by fighters who were not worthy of imitating the incomparable Ali (think Tony Tucker, for example, when he did The Shuffle during his big fight with Mike Tyson; the fans booed and the commentators cringed).
Joshua understands that it might be disrespectful for him to do The Shuffle, on Saturday night against unbeaten challenger Dominic Breazeale, but he also thinks it “would be class.” Speaking with The Star, the 16-0(16) star in the making said it could also prove risky for another reason if he were to make the flashy, cocky move Ali invented way back in the 1960s.
“I would love to do an Ali Shuffle, it would be class,” Joshua said. “I will try it but imagine he just goes bang and puts me down! I did a tribute [to Ali] for the last fight. I wore the all white gown and shorts. Normally, I wear the leather sleeveless top to the ring. This was more of a gown, I will keep that. But I don’t want to make it just a tribute to Ali because I don’t want to be jumping on the bandwagon.”
Joshua is a massive betting favourite to defeat Breazeale in his first title defence, and many fans feel he will be able to do The Shuffle and get away with it. Still, Breazeale can punch and he has proven heart. Indeed, Joshua feels the fight will be one of the short and sweet variety, with two big punchers colliding in ring centre.
“We’re two knockout artists so whoever lands first is going to win,” he said.
Joshua, faster and sharper than Breazeale – who can take a rounds or two to get going (see his up from the floor win over Amir Mansour) – figures to be the man who lands first. Maybe Joshua will put on a dominant showing akin to Ali’s domination over Cleveland Williams, and find time to flash The Shuffle along the way!