By Scoop Malinowski
Well, it’s official now but we knew this was coming all along.
The Alabama Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder is going to price himself out of fighting World Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua for the next few years.
Wilder, who is unknown even in America and draws but thousands, is pretending he deserves an even, equal split with superstar Joshua who fills 90,000 seat soccer stadiums.
”It will be 50-50 or else we don’t see a fight,” Wilder said to ESPN.com. “If they want to use splits, not to make a fight happen, then so be it. It is not like I am asking for more, I’m saying this is a 50-50 fight and that’s how it is. In the rematch, then we can talk about 60-40 splits or whatever. That is more acceptable.”
Wilder is using the money split to get out of the only heavyweight showdown the world wants. It’s the same old Al Haymon business model – build up and protect his own star, while carefully avoiding all the other stars. Haymon used this same business model on Floyd Mayweather who ducked Manny Pacquiao for six years, Paul Williams, Sergio Martinez and Miguel Cotto until he lost and left Bob Arum. Haymon also employed this business model to protect Adonis Stevenson from Sergei Kovalev and Artur Beterbiev. Haymon is also keeping his two unbeaten welterweight semi-stars Keith Thurman and Errol Spence from facing each other. Why? To sustain BOTH franchises as long term revenue makers.
Haymon simply cannot afford to take the risk of putting Wilder’s head on the chopping block. Haymon has no marketable stars now in boxing and thus he must preserve Wilder who is the only asset who has the potential to maybe be manufactured into a franchise type fighter who can generate gigantic profits.
If the carefully protected Wilder goes down in flames to Joshua now, which is the most likely result, because “Wilder can’t take a punch at all,” according to Wladimir Klitschko who years ago used Wilder as a spar mate, then Al Haymon is finished in boxing as a major player.
So the urgency, desperation and motives are there for Haymon to orchestrate the heavyweight duck of the decade. And Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn are probably in on the scam too. They make so much money with Joshua beating unknowns and second-raters that they really don’t need Wilder. If Haymon and Wilder manager Shelly Finkel, who has been said to be tight with Hearn, smooth over Hearn to play along with laying off pushing hard for Joshua vs Wilder, the Heavyweight Duck of the Decade could actually be portrayed as a double duck. Just like the media misportrayed in the Mayweather vs Pacquiao situation.
But trust me when I tell you, Haymon, Wilder promoter Lou DiBella and Shelly Finkel don’t want to risk their man Wilder against Joshua any time soon. They’re in this for the long run. They think they can Primo Carnera Wilder into becoming a Heavyweight attraction morph of Floyd Mayweather and Mike Tyson. And why not? Haymon orchestrated a stiff like Seth Mitchell all the way to a title shot vs Klitschko (which they declined). Haymon can surely manipulate Wilder into something bigger than Mitchell.
So expect Wilder and Joshua to make peace and stay away from each other…until the time is right for both to finally fight. Which will be at least five years down the road or after Haymon can choreograph Wilder to a fraudulent 50-0 to break Rocky Marciano’s record.
How unfortunate it is today where boxing is now all about protecting frauds and avoiding super fights for easy money paydays beating handpicked patsies. Gone are the days of Ali taking on Frazier, Norton, Foreman, and Leonard facing Duran, Hearns and Benitez exactly when the public WANTED to see those fights. In those days, fans and media didn’t have to demand promoters make the big fights, the promoters just made them, no bullshit, no excuses.
It will be interesting to see just what kind of toll the failure to produce Joshua vs Wilder will have on the already ailing sport of boxing. Pardon me, the BUSINESS of boxing.