By Scoop Malinowski
A couple of weeks ago Lennox Lewis, the former undisputed Heavyweight King of his era, seemed to be blaming Anthony Joshua for being the impediment which blocked the Joshua vs Deontay Wilder fight from happening this year.
Lewis said: “(Joshua should) 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.”
But now Lewis has apparently changed his tune and is taking a more balanced, realistic and fair position. Now Lewis is saying the negotiation process should be proportionate to the number of world title belts involved, Joshua holds three while Wilder has one.
“I know who wants the fight and who doesn’t want the fight. I’ve been there. So it’s really down to probably the promoters not speaking on good terms and it’s really just a fight about money. I say if you want the fight, be fair. One guy has got a belt (Wilder), the other guy has got three (Joshua). Cut it up like that.”
That means Joshua should get a 75% split and Wilder 25%, which is absolutely fair, logical and perfectly reasonable. Let’s see how the Joshua and Wilder camps respond to this suggestion by Lennox Lewis.
Next week the media should present the Lennox Lewis contractual blueprint to both Joshua and Wilder’s camps and publicize the responses. And if one side cries out and angrily rejects such a reasonable scenario, Lennox Lewis and the boxing media should sharply rebuke whichever side resists the absolutely fair and reasonable 75-25 split.
Lennox Lewis has the power, the respect and the experience to help boxing mediate the biggest heavyweight fight possible. He’s been there, he’s done that, he knows what it’s like to be ducked and dodged by Riddick Bowe, “Evader” Holyfield and Mike Tyson and Don King. And Lennox Lewis also has the neutrality, honor, prestige and commanding respect to expose and humiliate the side that is ducking the fight and pretending to want to negotiate.
Can Lennox Lewis be the mediating force that can help produce the biggest heavyweight fight in boxing today? Fingers are crossed.
(Lennox Lewis art by John Murawski.)