Can a Wilder-Joshua clash bring the heavyweight magic back to Las Vegas?

07/29/2016 - By James Slater - Comments

There was a time, in the 1970s and 1980s especially, when almost all the big heavyweight fights took place under the glitzy lights of Las Vegas. Be it George Foreman, Muhammad Ali, Larry Holmes, Mike Tyson or Evander Holyfield, and be it Caesars Palace, The Las Vegas Hilton or The Mirage, most of the heavyweight action was being fought in the Nevada desert. This changed in the 2000s and it’s hard to think of the last massive heavyweight showdown that took place in Vegas.

But this could change next year, so says Showtime boss Stephen Espinoza. Speaking with, Espinoza says there is a “lot of pent up demand” for a big heavyweight occasion in Vegas, and, all being well, rival title holders Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua will be giving these fans what they want before the end of 2017.

Joshua, the IBF ruler, must first win his mandatory defence against the dangerously hungry Joseph Parker, this fight expected to take place in London early next year, while WBC king Wilder must recover from the right hand and biceps surgery he has recently undergone. But all being well, it could be a big unification shootout between the two in 2017, in Vegas.

“Because of Deontay’s injury and Joshua’s impending mandatory, as well as other factors, I think we’re looking at a fight in the winter of 2017,” Espinoza told Ring. “That is the most realistic time as Deontay is out until late spring. Ideally, we want to get them both back on track for a third or fourth quarter fight next year. Vegas is where that fight really deserves to be and it would be a huge occasion. It’s been a while since there’s been a heavyweight fight of that magnitude in Vegas and I think there is a lot of pent up demand for it.”

Wilder Vs. Joshua is a big fight, and a potentially exciting fight, wherever it is staged; but there is just something about that magical Vegas touch. Foreman-Lyle, Tyson-Berbick, Holmes-Norton, Holyfield-Bowe, Foreman-Moorer – all these big fights had The Strip buzzing the way only a gigantic heavyweight rumble can make it buzz. Will Joshua-Wilder rekindle the glory days? Two unbeaten heavyweight punchers, both champions, going at it inside a sold-out MGM Grand or a packed to the rafters T-Mobile Arena; what’s not to like!