A brand-building exercise. The dawn of the next great era in heavyweight boxing.
Anthony Joshua has never come close to agreeing terms with either of his arch rivals, Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder, despite plenty of verbal sparring on social media. Boxing on this week: Upcoming fights, bouts in , how to watch every moment on TV and live stream In comparable sporting arenas, bitter and compelling rivalries are played out time and time again, with the same athletes participating.
Picture home and away fixtures in the Six Nations or the Premier League. Admittedly, Wilder and Fury have already fought once and claim they will do so again, but no date has yet been named and both have prior commitments.
Joshua expected to leave his last fight with a routine win over Andy Ruiz Jr, but the Mexican-American, with the well-documented paunch, sprang a surprise upset.
The complication is, of course, that unlike in most other sports, fixtures are not pre-arranged a season in advance. Contracts, connections and partnerships are hugely significant.
A comparatively informal, business-style hierarchy runs boxing. While the British Boxing Board of Control, and other equivalent bodies exist, they mainly manage the safety of the sport and its various ranking systems.
They have little involvement in actually making fights happen. This slotted alongside his existing broadcasting deal with BT Sport, who broadcast his fights to UK fans, and his promotional deal with Frank Warren.
He is co-managed by Al Haymon. Haymon is a powerhouse in the business of boxing and his company, Premier Boxing Champions, has partnerships with multiple broadcasters. This means we see more simple-to-make match-ups, rather than the blockbuster bouts fans want.
When nothing materialised, on several occasions, Hearn has tried to float the idea of Joshua re-matching Whyte. This is simpler because he is also promoted by Hearn and a regular on Sky Sports.
The upshot is that either Wilder or Fury completing negotiations with Joshua has looked near-impossible for a long time. Whether his defeat at the hands of Ruiz Jr. And vice versa, so creative problem solving may be needed.
What are the possible solutions? Pundits have spoken about broadcasters sharing the rights to some of the biggest bouts. However, with some of the huge profits on offer in heavyweight boxing, there could be more than enough to incentivise making the fights, even with a split.
Another road may be for DAZN to throw more money at the problem. Another solution could be even more straight forward, at least at first glance.
A second Ruiz win would de-value Joshua to the point that, even if his rivals still wanted to fight him and claim his once-great scalp, there would be less of an incentive for his backers to cling quite so preciously to their demands, stipulations and broadcasting exclusivity.