The Sell-Job of the Decade

An ongoing saga that’s only begun

By now most readers are familiar with my stance on the ongoing soap opera that has been the Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder negotiations. I’ve maintained from the very beginning that both sides have been doing a whole lot of posturing and very little real negotiating.

You’ll never convince me no matter how hard you try that this fight was ever a realistic possibility to happen next. I’ve went as far as to actually tell both sides this on the record, yet the show went on. And, what a show it was uh?

I could lay out a timeline of the “negotiations” but by now most avid followers of the sport know them pretty well so I’ll highlight a few issues. [note to read any previous articles from on this saga just click on any of the tags below]

Let’s begin with the initial offer from team Joshua of $12.5M flat;

The pro-Joshua fan base fell hook, line and sinker for this and it was an absolute joke. Why you ask? Simple, Joseph Parker got over 30%. Look at the size of this fight in proportion to the Parker fight. Sure both only brought one belt to the table and neither is exactly cash cows but to even begin to think that Wilder and Parker are remotely close in market value isn’t realistic, period. My biggest problem with this offer is that nobody accepts a flat fee in a fight this big.

“Wilder should make a counter offer then”

Joshua said in an interview with IFLTV that if they (Wilder) wanted a 60/40 split and they thought it was a $100M fight so if they would give him $50M he would sign tomorrow. He made this statement as more of a tongue in cheek type of thing but it opened the door for Team Wilder to take control of the narrative and that’s exactly what they did as Wilder went public with a $50M offer that sent fan’s in an uproar.

First line of defense for pro-Joshua fan’s was “he meant pounds, not dollars”. That was quickly dismissed with a replay of the interview with Joshua so next was “where did Wilder get that much money from?” and “it’s not a real offer”. Well yeah technically it’s a very real offer and Hearn knew as much and would later admit that.

Now here’s where the “bullshit” comes in. People in the sport or that understand how the inner workings of a deal like this works never questioned the finances but did question the details and that’s exactly what Hearn did. He asked for a contract and well… yeah there wasn’t one but “he never said yeah” Hold that thought.

If you’re keeping score by any chance it’s currently 1-1 on the Bullshit-O-Meter.

Next was the “turning down” of the $50M or the “counter-to-the-counter offer”.

To be fair, Joshua has maintained at least since March that he wants this fight in the UK and feels like he owes it to the fans. I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with that and neither does any realistic boxing fans or insider. Hell members of Wilder’s own team have said as much. Fair enough, let’s get that “counter-to-the-counter”, then.

Approximately the first week of June we in the media started hearing rumors that a new offer from Hearn was on the table. Any attempt to verify the offer was met with the standard “no comment” or “can’t get into any details” type of responses from both sides. Actually, most of us felt this was a good sign in that they were now negotiating for “real” or at least how they should be.

(Remember this next part) was told on several occasions that constant daily communications were taking place and things were progressing nicely but there was a time limit due to the WBA wanting to mandate an Alexander Povetkin fight for Joshua. No problem because this was rather “old news”, right? These “time limits” came and went and nothing happened. No surprise as deadlines in boxing are pretty much a myth anyway.

Then boom out of nowhere, Deontay Wilder exclaimed on social media to the whole world he accepts the offer from team Joshua! Bang! Fan’s are back in that uproar on both sides. Great news right? Well not so fast as apparently Hearn and team Joshua were caught “off guard” by this acceptance at the “last minute”. Now the pressure is on to get that contract sent over and get this deal done! was told by Hearn that a contract would be in the hands of Shelly Finkel by the end of the week and that the fight would likely take place in October or November. Fair enough.

The end of the week rolls around and no contract was received but it was received a couple of days later on that Monday (June 18th) according to team Wilder. For the record anytime a contract of this magnitude is received it is gone over (reviewed) very carefully by not just the fighter’s but also their respective manager’s, advisor’s and attorneys. This takes a couple of days on average at least. Last week Finkel told that they had a “couple of questions” in regards to the contract and were waiting on a reply from Hearn. Earlier this week, Hearn told that those questions were already answered last week, Finkel acknowledged this to be true and they would have the contract back to Matchroom this coming Friday, June 29th. We were also told the contract was for a flat fee but not given an exact amount, although it has since been revealed it was $15M. If both sides are in agreement on everything stated and Wilder has “agreed” to the deal, what’s the hold up? Well….. by now you should know the answer, right?

P.S. $15M flat still isn’t a good offer. And, no Wilder didn’t accept it. Saying yeah “I accept” in the media or on Instagram is NOT accepting an offer, signing a contract for that amount is.

Bullshit-O-Meter: Tied
Fan Interest-O-Meter: Off the charts on both sides.

Conclusion, Joshua vs Povetkin is next and always was.

Ask yourself this, how when there was no negotiating going on in the media these two sides were able to converse back and forth daily but as soon as it was back in the public eye they had to revert back to “waiting” on email replies and such? You really think they’ve lost each other’s phone number in the last two weeks all of a sudden or do you think they already knew what was gonna happen? You think maybe, just maybe this was to help “build” this fight? Or maybe you believe the outrage by Wilder on social media since the announcement of Joshua/Povetkin? Or do you think maybe, just maybe it’s more build up?

You ever heard the term “marinating” big fights? You reckon that’s what is happening here? I can’t make that decision for you and even with all my experience in this sport I myself sometimes get caught up in the hype but take a deep look at this and ask yourself is this fight bigger now then it was just 6 weeks ago? Of course it is.

Social media has been ablaze this afternoon with fan’s of both fighter’s blaming the other side. Now imagine how big it’ll be after another cycle of negotiations and back and forth in the media…..

By: Chris Henderson