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Watch: Anthony Joshua says he’ll surpass Mayweather

Anthony Joshua Floyd Mayweather Jr Wladimir Klitschko

By Scott Gilfoid: IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua says he’s going to surpass the accomplishments that Floyd “Money” Mayweather has done with his boxing career in the sport, and his fight with Wladimir Klitschko on Saturday is part of his legacy-building journey to get there. Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs) has talked about wanting to be the first billionaire in boxing. Whether Joshua can surpass Mayweather’s accomplishments will depend on a number of factors.

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn will need to continue with his careful match-making like we’ve been seeing in his first 18 matches since turning pro. Joshua will need to win his next 32 fights for him to beat Mayweather’s 49-0 record. I would say that Joshua can easily beat Mayweather’s record if Hearn keeps setting him up with soft opposition that can’t fight. But from this point on starting with the Klitschko fight on Saturday, things could get very tough on Joshua. The boxing public is not going to want to keep seeing Joshua fight fodder from this point forward.

“Yeah, you know why, because when someone sets a bench mark, it’s only there to be broken,” said Joshua to Michele Phelps at Behind The Gloves, when asked if he’ll surpass Floyd Mayweather’s accomplishments in boxing. “Records are there to be broken. So yeah, I can say I’ll go on and surpass the great. They set the benchmark. It doesn’t mean we have to go under. We have to go above. So I’ll say I’ll be better and go above and do more things than Floyd Mayweather,” said Joshua.

Personally, I don’t see Joshua being able to hit the 50-0 mark in boxing to beat Mayweather’s current record. If that’s the criteria that Joshua sets for him to be able to surpass Mayweather, then I see him failing at doing that, because it would require that he stay healthy enough to win at least 3 fights a year for the next 10 years of his career to become 50-0.

In 10 years from now, Joshua will be 37. That’s pretty old for boxing. Further, I don’t see Joshua fighting 3 times a year. At best, he’ll likely be fighting 2 times a year. So for Joshua to win 30 more fights, he’s going to probably need to fight another 15 years. That would make him 42-years-old. Would Joshua still be able to beat the top fighters at 42? I kind of doubt it. If Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn chooses to continue to put him in with guys that are sure thing wins for him, like he’s been doing since he turned pro, then that’s the only way I see Joshua being able to surpass Mayweather and Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record in boxing.

We’re already hearing talk of the World Boxing Association willing to let Joshua bypass his #1 WBA mandatory challenger Luis “Real King Kong” Ortiz in his next fight so that he can fight someone else in a voluntary defense or a unification. That move could be seen as Joshua and Hearn dodging a very dangerous fighter in Ortiz in order to take a softer one against someone like Tony Bellew or Joseph Parker. Joshua should have fought Ortiz a long time ago, because the Cuban fighter has been breathing down his neck for ages now waiting for his title shot. Instead of having Joshua defend his IBF title against the very dangerous Ortiz, Hearn has matched him up against Eric Molina and Dominic Breazeale. I might be mistaken, but I don’t think either of those guys are as talented as the 6’4” southpaw Luis Ortiz. That’s what I’m talking about though.

If Hearn is going to continually match Joshua against fighters that he can beat, then yeah, he might be able to eventually have a record of 50-0 in 15 years from now. But for that to happen, Hearn will need to keep steering Joshua around the talents like Ortiz or dare I say, Deontay Wilder, so that he can keep building his inflated record.

When I hear Joshua talking about his legacy at such an early stage in his career after having beaten so many mediocre fighters, it makes me want to burst with laughter, because the guy still isn’t facing quality opposition. If you want to be better than Floyd Mayweather, you’ve to be able to fight the best instead of poor fighters that you’ve padded your ring record with for the past 4 years like we’ve seen with Joshua.

Here is Joshua’s 18 past opponents he’s faced since he turned pro in 2013:

Eric Molina

Dominic Breazeale

Charles Martin

Dillian Whyte

Gary Cornish

Kevin Johnson

Raphael Zumbano Love

Jason Gavern

Michael Sprott

Denis Bakhtov

Konstantin Airich

Matt Skelton

Hector Alfredo Avila

Dorian Darch

Hvoje Kisicek

Paul Butlin

Emanuele Leo

In looking at that list, I do not see any quality fighters among the 18 guys that Joshua has faced in he past. I think what’s been happening with Joshua is his promoter Eddie Hearn has been feeding him soft opposition. The question is can Joshua pass Mayweather if he fights the same type of opposition that Hearn has been feeding him for the last 4 years? I’d say that’s big yes. But even if all Hearn is going to do is have Joshua side step the best fighters like he’s been doing since he turned pro, it’s still going to be very hard for him to be able to hit the 50-0 mark.

Joshua won’t be able to fight as often as he used to when he first started his pro career, because he’s a world champion now. It takes longer to negotiate and promote the world championship level fights compared to when Joshua first turned pro. That means he’s going to need a long, long time before he can fight 32 more times to break Mayweather’s mark.

If Joshua gets injured and misses fights, then it might take him another 17 years or more to surpass Mayweather. So we’re talking about Joshua being in his mid-40s. I’m sorry, but I don’t think Joshua will be able to beat the best fighters in boxing when he’s 44 or 45. I just don’t see it. Heck, I don’t think Joshua can beat Joe Joyce, who is about to turn pro. That kind is really talented and has the fighting style that would give Joshua fits.

Tyson Fury recently revealed the news that he’s heard that Joyce had been working Joshua over in sparring. When Joyce was asked about Fury’s comments by the boxing media, he could only smile and say, “No comment.” My point is that if Joshua can’t even beat a young lion like Joyce, then how is he going to be able to beat the other young lions that keep moving up to the heavyweight division year after year for the next 15 years? You’ve got to imagine that another Mike Tyson will emerge during that time and will have the youth, speed and the power to knock Joshua off his perch if Joyce, Wladimir, Luis Ortiz and Deontay Wilder don’t do it before him. I’m just saying.

I think it’s pretty farfetched that Joshua will surpass Mayweather in terms of accomplishments in boxing. I do believe very strongly that Joshua will wind up making more money than Mayweather. Without a doubt, I see Joshua making a half billion in earnings before he retires. I don’t think he’ll ever hit the billion mark but I do think he can make $500 million during his career. Joshua makes a ton of money in his fights in PPV in the UK.

If Hearn can succeed in turning Joshua into a PPV star in the U.S, then he’ll make huge money, as long as he faces the best heavyweights in boxing and not the guys he’s been fighting. But it’s a double edged sward. By fighting the best, Joshua will increase his chances of losing repeatedly. He’s not really improved as a fighter since he won his controversial gold medal in the 2012 Olympics in London, and he certainly hasn’t faced better opposition than what he faced in that Olympics. If Joshua starts losing to the likes of Klitschko, Deontay, Ortiz, Parker and David Haye, then he’s not going to make that big cash, and he DEFINITELY won’t surpass Mayweather in accomplishments.

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