Anthony Joshua’s next fight confirms he’s this era’s Floyd Mayweather

Anthony Joshua.

Anthony Joshua.
Getty Images
  • Anthony Joshua has confirmed his next fight will take place on June 1 in New York City.
  • He will defend his four heavyweight world titles against the relative unknown challenger Jarrell Miller.
  • Considering the number of credible opponents Joshua could have faced, the decision to fight Miller is disappointing.
  • But Joshua is following a path previously trodden by the recently retired Floyd Mayweather – to hit, get paid, and take the least amount of damage possible.
  • Joshua will receive a career-high payday against Miller, the same as what Mayweather received in his penultimate fight.
  • Should he obliterate Miller as expected, it will be the springboard that catapults him to the sort of paydays Mayweather only made a handful of times.
  • Yes, in one fight, Joshua has confirmed that he is this era’s money man.

It’s official – Anthony Joshua, the four-belt heavyweight boxing champion, will defend his titles against Jarrell Miller in his next fight.

If you’re frowning and scratching your head because you have no idea who Miller is, don’t worry… you’re not alone. It’s a fight that very few will have wanted, perhaps only Miller himself.

Joshua, for example, didn’t want it six months ago. Just one day after he obliterated the 2004 Olympic gold medalist Alexander Povetkin in September, Joshua ran a Twitter poll asking fans who they wanted him to fight next.

There were three options given, and it’s telling that Miller failed to make Joshua’s shortlist.

Miller, though unbeaten in 24 fights, has never been involved in a bout of this magnitude and will be seen as a wild outsider when the two come to blows on June 1 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

He’s overmatched in all departments.

Miller has only gone the 12-round distance once, is inexperienced at the elite level, and there is a considerable gap in technical quality and overall ability between him and Joshua.

Jarrell Miller.

Jarrell Miller.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Despite all of this, by booking this fight, Joshua has confirmed his position as this era’s Floyd Mayweather.

Mayweather did not always seek the greatest challenges

Mayweather is renowned for his one-sided victory over Manny Pacquiao, which earned him hundreds of millions of dollars, which he tells us often enough. He banked a similar amount for taking on the UFC fighter Conor McGregor, who had never professionally boxed before in a bout Business Insider dubbed a “circus” at the time.

Still, Mayweather did not always seek out big challenges.

Yes, he forced Genaro Hernandez, the champion at the time, to quit in 1998, Mayweather’s first title fight aged 21. He rematched Jose Luis Castillo immediately after going life-and-death with him in a back-and-forth battle in 2002. And he overcame Oscar de la Hoya in a competitive bout in 2007.

But for every Hernandez, Castillo, and de la Hoya there’s a Robert Guerrero, Victor Ortiz, and Andre Berto – fighters who had no right sharing a ring with Mayweather, but he took them on for money, rather than legacy. It was an easy way for him to make a buck. Tens of millions of them, in fact.

The art of prizefighting is to hit and get paid while taking the least amount of damage possible. Take one look at Mayweather, 41, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a single scar despite his 50 bouts.

The finest defensive fighter since Compubox records began, Mayweather was rarely ever troubled in the ring. He made over $1 billion in prize money and left the sport on his own terms with a strip club, a property empire that includes a New York skyscraper, expensive cars, multi-million dollar mansions, and two private jets.

He took on one of the toughest sports out there, won, and is now retired for good.

Read more: Floyd Mayweather should disappear into retirement forever, because a comeback could end in tears

In the words of McGregor, “fair f—- to you, Floyd.”

But now it’s Joshua’s turn. The Londoner went life-and-death with Wladimir Klitschko in a back-and-forth battle for the ages in 2017. He overcame a busted nose to outlast Carlos Takam, annexed the WBA title when he took on the unbeaten Joseph Parker, and pulverized Povetkin last year.

His choice of opponent now is not one that will enhance Joshua’s legacy, but it will be one that enhances his bank balance.

Before Mayweather beat up Berto, he knew he’d earn a guaranteed $32 million. That figure would clearly rise once sponsorship, live gate receipts, and pay-per-view sales were counted after the 2015 event.

For beating up Miller, Joshua will earn the same – $32 million and, like Mayweather’s, those numbers will keep rising after the event.

To paraphrase McGregor, “fair f—- to you, Josh.”

Mayweather will be remembered for his flawless record, the mastery of his craft, and his dominant wins over his greatest rivals.

Joshua is not there, yet. But he’s close.

Read more: This is how Anthony Joshua flies in private jets, wears a $450,000 watch, and drives expensive Jaguars without spending a penny

If he obliterates Miller in headline-grabbing fashion in New York this summer, the fight could well be a springboard to bigger and better things across the pond.

Joshua is a beast in the ring and a gentleman outside of it. He’s got a similar appeal to The Rock – a big, friendly, giant. A bada–. He’s tall, dark, and handsome. He’s friendly to fans, ferocious to fighters. But above all, he’s never once failed in one of the most gruelling, soul-sucking, and bruising sports out there.

Joshua meets Conan O'Brien.

Joshua meets Conan O’Brien.
YouTube / Team Coco

He has the ingredients to become an even bigger superstar but to grace the sofas of Jimmy Kimmel, James Corden, and Jimmy Fallon, to be an even more valuable hit with blue-chip sponsors, and to sell out Las Vegas arenas with celebrities shelling out thousands of dollars to watch him at ring-side, Joshua needs to do what Mayweather did – negotiate fights with his greatest rivals, and then beat the snot out of them while barely breaking a sweat.

He’s done that once already, toppling Klitschko, the division’s old master. But there are two more giants waiting to rattle his cage – Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, both of whom will be looking to fight each other a second time this summer after dueling to a draw in December 2018.

It is only a matter of time before Joshua fights the winner, most probably in Las Vegas. And when he does, you can be sure of one thing – he will generate the sort of money that Mayweather only made a few times in his career. Joshua will be a pay-per-view fighter in multiple countries earning hundreds of millions of dollars. He is taking on boxing before our very own eyes, but only time will tell whether he wins like Mayweather, or loses like countless others.