Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier, Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird, Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal: These are a few of the greatest individual rivalries in sports. But can any of them top Joey Chestnut vs. Takeru Kobayashi? No, probably not. And now it appears America will finally get a one-on-one showdown between the two competitive hot dog eaters. Chestnut revealed in a Facebook chat with New York Daily News readers that a matchup is on the horizon.
One reader asked if the two hot dog-consuming experts would ever meet for a showdown, and Chestnut confirmed that a face-off is in the works: "There has been talk of an exhibition," Chestnut said. "I don't even know if I should be saying it, but apparently he's agreed to it and Major League Eating has allowed me to do it, so maybe later this year."
Chestnut and Kobayashi both rose to fame thanks to the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, which takes place every July 4 at Coney Island, N.Y. Kobayashi won the contest every year from 2001 to 2006, and Chestnut has taken the title every year since 2007. Kobayashi hasn't competed since 2009 due to a contract dispute with Nathan's Famous, but Wayne Norbitz, the company's president and COO, told the Daily News that talks are underway, though a meeting hasn't officially been set.
"Nathan's Famous is in the very preliminary, exploratory stages of an effort to determine if it is feasible to stage a 2016 contest between Chestnut and Kobayashi as part of Nathan's 100th anniversary celebration [next year]," Norbitz said. "There have been no commitments made by any parties at this point, and no details are confirmed."
Even though he hasn't been able to compete in the Nathan's contest recently, Kobayashi has stayed busy. In his time away from hot dogs, he's broken the world record for most Twinkies eaten in one minute.