Former two-weight world champion Carl Frampton has warned Joe Joyce not to seek a bout with Deontay Wilder. While ‘The Jackal’ was impressed by Joyce’s four-round demolition of Christian Hammer last weekend, he advised ‘Juggernaut’ “to try and stay away” from Wilder, calling ‘The Bronze Bomber, “a ferocious puncher”.
Joyce’s promoter has a different view. Frank Warren handles the Olympic silver medalist and has told IFL TV, “I’ve got no problem making that fight.”. Elaborating on what would be a highly marketable heavyweight battle, the 70-year-old said, “If it can be done, I’d love to do it. Why wouldn’t we try and do that fight? It’d be a great fight”.
Warren sounds confident about Joyce’s chances. Frampton sounds worried. Which of these two respected British fight figures is right? What would a bout with former WBC champion Wilder do for the career of Joe Joyce?
As we touched upon here, discretion may be the better part of valour for Joyce at this stage. He has high rankings with a number of sanctioning bodies, and is next in line to fight for the WBO championship. That belt will be one of three major titles on the line when champion Oleksandr Usyk faces Anthony Joshua next month. Waiting for the outcome of the big heavyweight rematch and then pushing for his rightful shot at the winner could be the way forward for Joyce.
If he does take a fight with Deontay Wilder, there are obvious advantages. The former heavyweight king from Tuscaloosa, Alabama has been the heavyweight division’s commercial third man for a while. Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua have grown accustomed to packing stadiums and while Wilder is yet to carry an outdoor event on his own, his popularity is well on the way there. A fight with Wilder would offer a major payday for Joyce, most likely the biggest of his career.
But there is more to establishing a legacy in the sport of boxing than money. Is a fight against the big-punching former world champion one that ‘Juggernaut’ can win? Frampton’s fears surrounded the fact Joyce takes a lot of punches. But he showed against knockout artist Daniel Dubois that his awkward style can unsettle a powerful heavyweight. Wilder went 0-2-1 against Fury, another proponent of an unorthodox boxing style. There is every chance Joyce’s mix of power and boxing acumen could be Wilder’s undoing.
On the flipside, only one man has ever beaten Wilder. Apart from Fury, no other heavyweight has managed to survive the power of ‘The Bronze Bomber’ long enough to work out how to beat him. While Joyce is unbeaten he is yet to be fully tested at the elite level in the professional ranks. Wilder could drag the 36-year-old into some deep waters, using power and experience to get the upper hand.
What this boils down to is whether the risk is worth the reward. Joyce could walk into a heavyweight title match-up later this year or early in 2023. But he would ultimately be untested at championship level. Wilder offers a lucrative opportunity for Joyce to truly arrive at world level. If he harbours ambitions of becoming world heavyweight champion, he will have to fight the best around sooner or later. While Frampton is perhaps right to be cautious, Warren is equally right when he says it would be “a great fight”. A great fight could be exactly what Joe Joyce needs at this stage of his career.
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