By Scoop Malinowski
Lennox Lewis is blaming Anthony Joshua for Deontay Wilder’s ducking of the heavyweight superfight of the decade.
“Go order Eddie Hearn to make the fight with Deontay Wilder. Now is the moment when you must take charge of your own destiny. There is no question that it is Wilder who wants the fight and it is Wilder who wants to prove that he is the man in this new heavyweight era,” Lewis told Jeff Powell of Daily Mail.
“He explained to me all the difficulties he is having with Anthony and Eddie, of how AJ is listening to Hearn. Deontay most definitely wants this fight more than any fight. Joshua said he would take fifty million dollars in a heartbeat but when that offer came he didn’t accept. I would have taken fifty million quicker than a heartbeat and gone through with any fight. But I never ducked anyone.”
“Bowe did everything he could to avoid fighting me but I forced the situation. I did so by ordering my manager Frank Maloney to go out and do whatever it took to make the fight. Yes or yes. No arguments. Then Riddick had to meet me or vacate. It comes to the point where the boxer has to take over from the manager or promoter as The Boss. Oscar De La Hoya and me were the first to take charge of our business. I took control of my destiny and opened up my chance for greatness. Anthony needs to do the same with Eddie.”
Lennox does not seem to know all the facts, that Joshua is already at greatness and Wilder is the unknown, minor league seller. Lennox does not seem to know Hearn pressed for a face to face meeting with Shelly Finkel in New York City to talk details about the $50 million offer, Finkel refused (ducked) the meeting.
Lennox also doesn’t seem to realize that Finkel accepted Hearn’s final contract offer and then sat on the contract for almost two weeks until the impatient WBA, which had already extended it’s deadline for the contract to be signed, said enough and ordered Joshua to fight mandatory challenger Povetkin.
Lennox doesn’t seem to understand after Finkel and Haymon and Wilder refused to sign a contract they publicly had agreed on, they then began demanding the outrageously ridiculous 50-50 split.
With Lennox showing favoritism to Wilder and bias against Joshua, it seems Lennox could be being used as a media manipulation tool by Team Wilder. He should understand Joshua is the indisputable A side and Hearn’s offers of a $5m career high payday vs a patsy tomato can of Wilder’s handpicking and then $15m for the Joshua fight is more than fair for an unknown loud mouth who can’t even draw big crowds in the US.
If Wilder can beat Joshua he will be in the driver’s seat and call the shots. But right now Wilder is still a loud mouth unknown who can’t generate any money on his own.
Lennox tried and failed to force Riddick Bowe to fight him and it took his team extra years and years to finally secure fights with Holyfield and Tyson. The reason why Lennox failed to fight Bowe was 100% because of Bowe and Rock Newman’s reluctance to take the risk. Lennox should be able to understand Joshua is the A side in the driver’s seat and he calls the shots and $20m for Wilder vs a tomato can and then Joshua is very realistic and fair for a lousy seller like Wilder who only earns about $1 or $2m a fight.
I have great respect for Lewis but I suspect he’s being manipulated by Team Wilder to show support for Deontay.
Deontay won’t even fight Chisora or Whyte for $8m as he was offered by Hearn. Something really stinks when a brilliant boxing mind like Lennox Lewis takes sides and is trying to protect a loud mouth misfit Wilder.
If Lennox really wants Wilder to fight Joshua why doesn’t he offer Wilder solutions or advice? Why doesn’t Lennox remind Wilder that he’s the B side and $20m is more than fair for a guy who now earns only $1 or $2m a fight.
How does Lennox know Wilder is the one who really wants to fight Joshua, by far the most dangerous fight of his life, when he’s only ever fought nothing but Al Haymon hired, controlled opponents?
What particular advice instead of just empty words, can Lennox offer Joshua and Hearn to make the fight with Wilder?
Lennox Lewis was one of the greatest champions in boxing history and his words carry a lot of clout. Why the grand master of pugilist specialists is supporting and protecting Wilder is highly curious and borderline suspect.
Lewis should be telling Wilder that he is the one who has to go out there and make the fight and accept the terms from the clearcut A side. It’s Wilder who hasn’t proven a damn thing yet except that his act doesn’t sell even in America. It’s Wilder who has to step up and dare to be great. It’s Wilder who needs to man up and show us he has the courage to go to England and overthrow the king, like Oliver McCall did in 1994 and Marvin Hagler did in 1980.
Lennox Lewis, of all people in boxing, should realize this.
(Lennox Lewis vs Vitali Klitschko oil painting by John Murawski.)