Tyson Fury may not have turned up to watch last night’s fight between his number-one rival Anthony Joshua and challenger Kubrat Pulev, but “retired” superstar Floyd “Money” Mayweather made a surprising, unannounced trip over to be ringside at the fight at Wembley. A good many people didn’t even know Mayweather was in the country. But he was (perhaps to attend to other business, not merely to sit and watch AJ defend his heavyweight belts against Pulev), and the presence of Floyd always adds something to a big fight. Very much boxing royalty, whatever else you think of him, Mayweather is a genuine star. Floyd has said many times how he is a fan of the UK, of the UK fighters and the UK boxing fans, and last night he enjoyed himself.
Mayweather spoke with Sky Sports after watching Joshua do the business against the rock-jawed Pulev.
“It’s always good to see some great boxing,” Mayweather said. “The UK is a great place, so many great fighters. I am proud of Anthony Joshua, and it’s lights. camera, action. He is one of the best heavyweights out there. Got a gold medal before. His career is going great, he is a hell of a fighter. Anything can happen in the sport of boxing, one shot can change it all. He is a great fighter, hell of a guy, a gentleman and I respect his craft.”
You’ll notice Mayweather didn’t say Joshua is THE best heavyweight out there. Floyd, like the rest of us, will have to see who emerges the victor when Joshua and Tyson Fury fight. The winner of that fight – a fight we all want so badly to see next year – will be THE Man. It would have been interesting to get Mayweather’s thoughts on this fight, on who he thinks gets the win. Maybe when Floyd said “it only takes one shot,” he was referring to the heavyweight blockbuster and how either man can win it. Joshua is the bigger puncher, but Fury might be the smarter, cleverer boxer. Hopefully, the two WILL get it on next year, hopefully in the UK. Maybe Mayweather will make the trip over for the fight if it happens.
Mayweather and Joshua spoke after last night’s fight, and it would have been fascinating to hear what tips the so-called “T.B.E” gave to Joshua. AJ spoke to his fans via YouTube and after his impressive win (perhaps his most impressive win since his September 2018 stoppage win over Alexander Povetkin) he said that boxing is “chess not checkers.” That soundbite has Mayweather’s fingerprints all over it! Joshua says he is still learning, still improving, that he is getting “wiser every day.” Joshua certainly looked like a mature, experienced and hugely confident fighter last night. The year off didn’t affect him at all and now, as he said himself, it’s on to the next one. The next one we all want is of course Tyson Fury.
There were only 1,000 fans allowed to attend last night’s fight. There will be close to 90,000 fans on hand if and when Joshua fights Fury.