In the latest edition of HBO’s The Fight Game, hosted by Jim Lampley, the longtime commentator discusses the glamor divisions of heavyweight and welterweight boxing alongside fellow commentator Max Kellerman.
Kellerman on where champions Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua will go from here following their most recent wins:
“Well hopefully toward each other but it doesn’t seem as though that’s gonna happen in the immediate future, partly because there’s too much easy money against Tyson Fury if you’re Anthony Joshua.
“And generally, if you’re Joshua, and you can draw 70-90,000 people to stadiums to watch you fight, there is no great incentive for your promoter to put you in with a flawed-but-dangerous fighter.”
Kellerman on by how much Joshua would be favored to beat Wilder if they were to fight next year:
“He’s a substantial favorite, I think. [Joshua’s] the gold medalist, versus the bronze medalist. He’s the guy that knocked out Wladimir Klitschko — he didn’t do what Tyson Fury did in a terrible fight and eek out a decision. There was a changing of the guard of the heavyweight eras...
“...Joshua showed, even in his last fight, he has good inside technical skills for a big fighter — kind of like Riddick Bowe. He’s a real puncher, he’s big and strong. He has certain flaws that can still be exploited I think, defensively, but he is going to be in the mix, if not unbeatable, but in the heavyweight mix for the foreseeable future, at the top of the division.”
Kellerman on Errol Spence being a potential Top 5 pound-for-pound fighter if he would just fight more often:
“The problem with Spence right now...there’s a disposition among boxing fans, generally, to anoint him one of the very best in the sport because you have a pretty good feeling what your eyes have been seeing throughout his professional career suggests he’s just better than the other guys in his division. A kind of fast twitchier, power punching athlete — a better athlete than the other guys...He has all that stuff.
“And so the activity level, at this point, the slow down in the activity level is happening at a really bad time. He’s poised to be a breakout star, particularly in a division where, as you mention, there’s no political hang up, there’s no network problem. And Keith Thurman has established himself as the man, and Thurman has big charisma and has always been seen by boxing fans to be a star, does good numbers and is well-known. Any yet he too is a vulnerable fighter.
“We’ve seen Keith Thurman come close to losing against good welterweights, but not the kinds of guys that you go ‘oh my god, that guy’s a world beater!’ So Spence seems poised in a showdown with Thurman to make a statement. And, by the way, Spence is a guy who hasn’t beaten a whole bunch of very credible welterweights.
“One thing about Keither Thurman, whatever his shortcomings, he is real. He’s a real fighter. And if Spence can beat him he will have proven what he needs to prove. So the slowdown in activity for Spence — and by the way, for him to be worth the money to the other welterweights he needs to be getting constant exposure. It’s just bad timing.”
Kellerman on Terence Crawford moving into the welterweight division:
“As I’ve always said, Jim, superfights — real ones — are not promoted into existence. You can have a big fight, a good fight, that’s promoted into existence. Superfights, no. Superfights happen, as I say on this show all the time, when the dust settles, there’s two gunslingers left standing, right? That’s the superfight. Terence Crawford’s gonna be left standing when the dust settles. And the feeling is so will Spence. And if Spence hasn’t outgrown the division yet, I don’t know if there’s a network or promotional issue that’s going to be able to stop that from happening. Certainly, I hope not.”