By Scoop Malinowski
Anthony Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn offered Deontay Wilder $12.5 million guaranteed for a heavyweight unification title fight. Team Wilder – consisting of Al Haymon, Lou DiBella and Shelly Finkel – countered that the offer was too low because they believe Joshua vs Wilder could generate $100 million.
Wilder has stated in several interviews that he would accept a 60-40 split in Joshua’s favor. Joshua currently holds the IBF, WBA, WBO title belts while Wilder owns the WBC belt.
Joshua doesn’t seem to buy the logic of the Wilder camp and called their bluff. Joshua said this week, if Wilder and his handlers genuinely believe the clash of heavyweight titans is indeed worth $100 million – then they should make him a counter-offer for $50 million. Then, Joshua says, a deal will be hammered out immediately.
“If it is a $100 million fight and they are happy with taking 60-40, I’ll take 50-50. Give me $50 million dollars up front and I swear I’ll take that fight tomorrow,” Joshua told Sky Sports.
“They’re not making offers like that, but they’re talking about it, so it’s not real. We offered them a lucrative deal and we are just waiting to hear if he’s serious or not. They like to jump on social media, rather than emailing us back in a professional manner. I don’t understand where they’re coming from, nevertheless, there’s many heavyweights out there that are serious.”
Joshua’s team is the side that are taking aggressive steps to force the fight while the Wilder camp seem to be playing a charade to make it look like they are interested. Wilder is still unknown in America and draws sparse crowds for his fights, despite a shiny record of 40-0. It’s obvious, the Wilder camp would prefer to build up Wilder into a franchise fighter who can attract large crowds and heavy ticket sales. A KO loss to Joshua at this stage would wreck Wilder’s career. If Wilder managed to score a lucky KO punch on Joshua, Joshua’s comeback would be a huge seller, just like the comeback fights of Muhammad Ali, Manny Pacquiao did big business.
“It (Joshua vs Wilder) has to happen,” Joshua said. “There’s not really been many fights in the heavyweight division in history that haven’t happened when you’re talking about championship level. In terms of history, I think that this fight has to happen because it wouldn’t be great for this era of boxing if it doesn’t happen.”
Joshua vs Wilder not happening would equate to Ali vs Foreman, Ali vs Frazier, Lewis vs Holyfield, Klitschko vs Peter, Tyson vs Spinks not happening.
Matching the best vs the best is what keeps the sport thriving and keeps the fans interested.
Wilder dodging Joshua to continue to KO more patsies and tomato cans controlled by Al Haymon is a disgrace to the sport and it’s glorious history.
(Ali and Cosell oil painting by Scoop Malinowski)