It has been confirmed how heavyweight contender Joe Joyce has activated his rematch clause for a return rumble with Zhilei Zhang. As fans know, Zhang busted Joyce’s eye and stopped him in six rounds last month, the Chinese southpaw smashing both the odds and “The Juggernaut’s” unbeaten record. Now Joyce is ready to try and put things right in the rematch. But can he do it?
Zhang – who is also very much in the frame for a massive fight with reigning WBC heavyweight champ Tyson Fury, and may soon be offering Joyce step-aside money so he can take the shot at Fury – was in total command on April 15, his powerful shots wobbling Joyce. Then Joyce’s eye was a mess and the fight had to be stopped. The critics were all over Joyce and his performance, with a number of experts pointing out the fact that Joyce seemed to have no clue on how to deal with a southpaw.
It remains to be seen just when the rematch will take place (if it actually does; if Zhang does fight Fury next instead and is badly beaten, “Big Bang” may not be in good enough shape to fight again any time soon) – and where. Zhang has said he wants to have a big fight at home in China, so it is possible Joyce will have to do the travelling this time.
But plenty of fight people say Joyce is making a mistake in activating the rematch clause, with these people feeling Joyce should just move on and have nothing further to do with Zhang. Another loss, another stoppage loss, and where will Joyce be then? On the other hand, Joyce has no other obvious fight to take instead, and in taking the return with Zhang, Joyce is showing courage and desire.
But it really does look like a tough, tough assignment for Joyce. Can the 37 year old get it right this time, can he make the necessary adjustments this time? Can Joyce, at this stage of his career, improve as a fighter? If not, it will likely be repeat not revenge if/when Joyce and Zhang collide for a second time.
What do YOU guys think: is Joyce making a big mistake in triggering his rematch clause or not?