By Scoop Malinowski
Al Haymon had it choreographed perfectly. He successfully manufactured Deontay Wilder all the way to an unbeaten record and the WBC Heavyweight title – with nothing but a series of mediocre, handpicked patsies fed to his franchise fighter.
Everything was running smoothly and exactly how Haymon orchestrated it. But then along came an unforeseen storm in the form of Anthony Joshua.
Joshua had been perceived as being on about the same level of Wilder, not much more, not much less. Until Joshua spectacularly and sensationally knocked out the decade-long dominant kingpin Wladimir Klitschko. That performance in front of about 90,000 fans in England, vaulted Joshua into superstardom. Joshua followed that terrific triumph up with another masterpiece, the tenth round KO of Carlos Takam last night in front of another astonishingly gigantic full stadium.
Meanwhile, Wilder continues to be fed boring, meaningless tomato cans which don’t sell or generate any kind of excitement. Wilder will defend his belt next weekend against Bermane Stiverne in a fight that might be able to fill up a high school gym in Alabama.
Wilder and Haymon dodged a bullet when Tyson Fury crashed his career last year – they didn’t want to fight Fury either – but with Joshua now firmly entrenched as the biggest star in the sport, Wilder and Haymon look like minor league pretenders in comparison to the big business Joshua is creating.
Joshua is the natural born superstar. Wilder is the created, manufactured, protected pretender.
It is my suspicion that Haymon’s scheme was and is to never match Wilder with Joshua, despite the contrary messages from the Wilder camp. Just like Haymon’s agenda in 2009 was to never let Floyd Mayweather fight Manny Pacquiao, as I learned from the manager of Paul Williams, George Peterson, who told me in late 2009 that he had learned from Haymon that the Pacquaio vs Mayweather fight was never going to happen. Of course it finally did in 2015 after CBS President Les Moonves gave ultimatums to Haymon and Mayweather and forced them to fight Pacquiao.
You have to understand how Haymon operates. He wants to be a big player in boxing and the only way he can do that is to control a star fighter. His only potential star fighter right now is Deontay Wilder. Wilder is not there yet but he is the only Haymon stable fighter who has the potential to be further developed into a big star, marquee attraction, franchise type fighter.
But it can’t and won’t happen if Wilder gets knocked out by Joshua next year. Wilder would be finished.
Al Haymon is not in a position right now to risk Wilder against Joshua or even Dil Whyte, who they have avoided agreeing to fight despite being offered the biggest payday of Wilder’s career by Eddie Hearn.
You can also sense Wilder is pricing himself out of fighting Joshua by demanding his outrageous purse demand of $20 million.
The pressure is mounting heavily now on Wilder to put up or shut up. The public is no longer accepting Wilder fighting stiffs, bums, patsies and tomato cans any more. So what can Haymon and Wilder do?
One option is to falsely accuse Joshua of using performance enhancing drugs, which Wilder has already hinted at cryptically. That tactic worked for Mayweather who used the Pacquiao uses PEDs smear campaign to successfully duck Pacquiao for over five years.
I fully expect Haymon and Wilder to soon begin a PED smear campaign against Joshua and use that excuse as one of their excuses to dodge Joshua. And during this extended smear campaign, they will wait and hope Joshua somehow loses. Then they will be on top of the boxing world.
But smoke and mirrors and lies and smear campaigns will be very difficult to bring down Anthony Joshua who has looked absolutely devastating and unbeatable in his recent victories.
If Joshua keeps winning, which is looking extremely probable, sooner or later Wilder is going to have to shut up and put up – he’s going to have to get in the ring with Anthony Joshua and back up the big talk his big mouth keeps barking. The longer he waits and runs and ducks, the more of a clown pretender Deontay Wilder will look in the eyes of the public and media.
Wilder can talk, he can duck, he can dodge and he can run…but there’s no where left to hide, without looking like a protected coward.
With the severe shortage of name heavyweight contenders out there, Joshua vs Wilder is inevitable. And it should happen in 2018.
But there are two people who are desperately against seeing Joshua vs Wilder any time soon…Wilder and Haymon.