Sunday Convo: The Jared Anderson promo train has stopped for maintenance

Last night in Toledo, OH, was supposed to be the moment where heavyweight contender Jared Anderson’s (15-0, 14 KOs) profile went sky high, but instead, it left fans wondering if it was too much, too soon for the 23-year-old. He didn’t stink out the place, which is a good thing, but he didn’t put on one of his normal dominating performances. I won’t go as far as saying he is overhyped, but I will say that his promo train has stopped for maintenance as they work on a few things for future fights.

Anderson’s ringwalk was phenomenal, and it played to the home crowd of 7,234 inside the Huntington Center. Anderson looked filled with confidence and pride as he walked towards the ring. It was the first thing everyone hoped to see after an emotional video between him and Boxing Hall of Famer Roy Jones Jr. surfaced earlier in the week where it seemed Anderson had a hard time dealing with the pressures of being a celebrity at such a young age. Jones Jr. assured him that he was ready for it, and as he headed to the ring, everyone tuning in thought the same. 

The bell rang, and the main event finally began as the clock approached midnight on the east coast. Anderson appeared ready to put on a show as he was shooting that left jab to Charles Martin’s (29-4-1, 26 KOs) face and chest, leaving the former heavyweight champion searching for counterpunching ideas. The second round was more of the same, but in the third, Anderson landed a cupping overhand right that sent Martin down to the canvas and was scored as a knockdown. Martin contested it was a slip, but the referee did not acknowledge it and continued with the count. Martin got up, but you started to get the feeling that the end could be near. Little did we know, we were in for an interesting fight moving forward.

Fast forward to the fifth round, where Anderson was in real trouble. Although he downplayed it during the post-fight interview, Martin hurt him badly. Martin landed a hard straight left hand that rocked Anderson so much that he immediately started looking at the clock above the ring during a clinch, to see how much time was left. Martin kept landing that straight left and was also hurting Anderson with the right jab. There was a weird silence throughout the arena, and a look of surprise as their hometown fighter was on the verge of being stopped. Anderson barely survived the round, but it was the wake-up call he needed to get him through the rest of the fight. That it did, but not without being rocked once again during the last ten seconds of the fight by Martin.

Anderson won unanimously, but there were some red flags that must be addressed. Throughout the fight, Anderson would pull back with both hands down, leaving himself wide open for a clean shot to be landed. It’s the same issue former WBC heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder has and paid for it when he faced opponents with a long enough reach. It also seemed like there were spots later in the fight where the concentration wasn’t there, and Anderson would get hit with clean combinations that could have been a lot worse for him if he had a higher-caliber fighter in front of him. All the credit goes to Martin, who showed up looking for the upset but isn’t quite near some of the heavyweights at the next level. He was a late replacement but gave Anderson all he could handle, which is what “The Real Big Baby” needed last night.


After the fight, Anderson was seen what appeared to be crying and full of emotion while being hugged by his mother. It’s something that keeps coming up in boxing as fighters are making themselves more vulnerable regarding their mental health. Ryan Garcia took a break from the sweet science as he worked on himself, and more recently, Joshua Franco retired after facing Kazuto Ioka in Japan, as he has stated it was due to mental health concerns.

Boxing has always had fighters dealing with this, but they wouldn’t come forward about it in the past as it could have been perceived as a sign of weakness. Not only in boxing but in all sports and environments, saying things that included the words “anxiety” or “mental health” meant that you were crazy to a lot of people as early as ten years ago. It reminded me of a fight in 1997, where former WBC heavyweight champion Oliver McCall had a mental breakdown during his rematch with Lennox Lewis, and no one could describe what was happening. During that time, you heard the word “crazy” being thrown around and looking back, that was unfair to McCall. Thank goodness we are passed making judgments on people these days for their mental health and instead offering assistance through therapy, service animals, etc. Society has accepted it more and more so as far as fighters opening up about it, we all should do a better job of accepting it to instead of finding a reason not to believe it. Let's hope that Anderson continues to get the help he needs on that end so he can reach a healthier mental state.


During the last portion of the ESPN telecast, Crystina Poncher shared that she spoke to Bob Arum after the fight and that the plan would be to get Anderson a title shot by 2025 by continuing to build towards it. That sounds like something that was thought of after the fight, as prior to, a huge performance by Anderson would have put that timetable a lot sooner. Arum isn’t wrong in thinking this, as Anderson is part of the next wave of heavyweights. By 2025, all of the current names within the division will be retired by then, and the lane will be wide open for Anderson to dominate for years to come. In the end, Arum is playing chess, not checkers, and knows he has time, and if he makes the right moves, Anderson’s reign can be for years to come if he continues to fight past the “four years” he told Mark Kriegel earlier in the week.

Although the Anderson promo train stopped for maintenance, that doesn’t mean he isn’t a future world champion because he is. What has to happen now is that he goes back to the gym and continues to work on some things that will not only make his dreams come true but will also keep him in that seat for a while.