A look at both sides
A fight between Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder is without a doubt one of most lucrative matchups in the sport. It would also give boxing it’s first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis.
Wilder says he was hopeful of a potential clash with Joshua after stopping Luis Ortiz by 10th round TKO on March 3. For his part, Joshua scored a unanimous decision win over WBO champion Joseph Parker in their unification bout on March 31.
After the fight both Joshua and Wilder publicly said each was open to facing the other in a potential showdown for the undisputed heavyweight championship. The timing for both men meshed perfectly for one of the most anticipated fight’s in boxing, if only boxing worked like that uh?
After more than three months of failed negotiations, it don’t look like it may happen anywhere in the near future as Wilder says he has shifted his focus. He plans to now move forward with obtaining his goal of a 51-0 record with 50 knockouts. The all-time record for career victories without a loss for any heavyweight is Rocky Marciano’s 49-0.
According to a statement from PBC, the Alabama native is looking at facing any highly-ranked heavyweight contenders. He is facing a mandatory defense against Dominic Breazeale next according to sources close to the situation. A Breazeale fight would likely take place in the fall on Showtime.
In today’s heavyweight division it’s not unrealistic that he may be able to reach the 51-0 mark. He’s currently 40-0 with 39KO’s so a run of eleven fights over the next say 4-5 years is not out of the realm of possibility.
Wilder maintains he would still like to be the undisputed champion someday but he’s frustrated with team Joshua. He had this to say in a statement released by the PBC earlier tonight;
“I’m not surprised but it’s ridiculous that this situation’s ended like it did – them wasting three and a half months of peoples’ time,” said Wilder.
“They never wanted the fight in the first place, and it showed. I wish they would have come out and just said ‘We don’t want to fight at this point in time, maybe we can try back another time.’ That would have been more respectable. Instead, they played this back and forth game like they’ll knock me out in three rounds, he’ll ram his jab down my throat, and that I haven’t done enough, and, look at my resume, like Joshua’ resume is so much better. It doesn’t add up.”
Wilder verbally agreed to the $15M flat fee that Eddie Hearn offered for the Joshua, (21-0, 20KO) bout but wasn’t satisfied with the contract he received the following week. His biggest issue wasn’t the lack of a date and venue but the one-way rematch clause. If Wilder would’ve won the fight then Joshua had an immediate rematch clause but should the result been the other way then Joshua didn’t have to give Wilder a rematch.
“As champions, it’s either both have a rematch or we don’t. It’s another example of saying, ‘I don’t wanna fight.’ We already took a low-money offered deal, and are willing to come to your country. But if he beats me, we move on? Hell nah. They should have just come out and said Joshua’s not ready. They’re not going to let Joshua fight me until [Joshua’s trainer] Rob McCracken says he’s ready,” said Wilder.
“Joshua will never be ready for somebody like me. That’s why Eddie Hearn is trying to sign me to sign me to a three-fight deal because he needs me. But I don’t need an Eddie Hearn to tell me when I can fight or when I can’t, or, if he’s not pleased with me to sit me on the shelf. The only fighters who do are those who need help. But they’ve seen a promoter who contradicts like a compulsive liar, failing to get his own top fighter the biggest purse of his life, so how can he help them? They took this route and messed up their own reputation.” said Wilder.
According to a source close to the negotiations Joshua also demanded that he be allowed to select the bout’s referee and judges without input from Wilder’s team. Hearn denied the claim but had this to say in regards to the negotiations;
“They had the contract and it’s been in their hands. Shirley (Shelly Finkel, Wilder’s co-manager) needs to make up his mind, was it with or without a date. He did say September 15th, right? But that was the term sheet and that was almost five weeks ago, way before Canelo and Golovkin was made. We didn’t think at the time it (Canelo/Golovkin rematch) was going to get made.” said Hearn
“But, didn’t I say to you and everyone else that it would have to be in October or November? That’s what I said wasn’t it? When Deontay went on video from Instagram and said he would accept the offer, didn’t I say Cardiff in November (or October)? Yeah I thought so. So this rubbish about not knowing when and where is bollocks.”
To be fair, Hearn did tell 3KingsBoxing.com the day after Wilder verbally accepted the fight that it would have to be October or November due to Canelo vs Golovkin being on September 15th. He also said that Joshua needed a “full training camp” of more than eight weeks.
Hearn has maintained that their failure to return the contract soon enough is the reason the fight is not happening. He said Finkel and the whole world knew the WBA had been trying to order a fight between Joshua and Alexander Povetkin (34-1, 24 KO). Hearn originally said when the contract was sent that he needed a response within 48hrs.
“They knew I was getting calls daily from the WBA, they knew because I told them. It’s been that way since April but there was 6 or 7 exceptions (7 day exceptions) but they weren’t having it no more. That’s Shirley’s fault. Shirley told Rafael (Dan Rafael, ESPN) that they were sending the contract back with comments on Friday (today) and they (WBA) saw that. They wasn’t waiting no more when he told Rafael that and he said with comments not a signed contract but a contract with comments. You can’t do that when they’ve been waiting almost over two months. Deontay is mad but he’s mad at the wrong guy.”
Finkel denies that Hearn ever told him anything about 48hrs or the WBA. Finkel did say that he asked Hearn for another week on June 22nd however.
“If Eddie told us he was having a problem with WBA, you gotta get it back sooner, we would have gotten it back sooner. It had no date or venue. Originally we were given September 15th but that was Canelo’s date, nobody fights on that date. There was a couple of other things but that’s why I asked for the week and wasn’t told that wouldn’t work, then I got a letter stating Deontay would not be next.” said Finkel.
Wilder does however believe there is a way to make this fight. He thinks him and Joshua need to meet face-to-face to workout a deal. Most fan’s are familiar with the Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao negotiations and know that for that fight to finally get made it took the two superstars running into each other at an NBA game and then they met one-on-one in a Miami hotel room afterwards. Finally after years of back and forth they were able to come to an agreement for their mega-match in 2015.
“Me and Anthony Joshua have had many behind-closed-doors conversations. I’ve shown him every e-mail that’s been sent, who has been lying, who is not responding to e-mails and who is holding this fight up. He even, at one point, asked me to show him the proof of the $50 million offer,” said Wilder,” who, with Finkel, offered to send the terms’ sheet to Joshua’s attorney only to never hear back.
“As terrified as he is of fighting me, Joshua would have fought for that $50 million. But he can’t do nothing because he’s signed with Eddie Hearn. I think Joshua’s team has their best interest in mind before Joshua’s best interest and that no one around Joshua has confidence in him to beat me. Joshua’s lost fans while I’m gaining more fans every day. Anyone still saying this is my fault is an Eddie Hearn zombie.”
At the end of the day we’re still looking at a whole lot of posturing in my opinion. That posturing is coming from both sides as well, not just one. It really comes down to who fan’s want to believe not who they should believe because if boxing fans have learned anything it’s that they should never believe anyone 100% when it comes to who’s to blame for a fight not getting made.
All it takes is to look at the last three months of the back and forth and most any unbiased individual will quickly realize we were sold a pipe dream. In today’s world of boxing, big fights consistently “marinate” at least two sometimes three or four full negotiating cycles and this was just the first cycle. In all reality history tells us that we shouldn’t be expecting this fight to happen next either.
Joshua vs Wilder 2020 anyone?
By: Chris Henderson