By Tim Royner: Keith Thurman thinks it’s still too early for IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua to face WBC belt holder Deontay ‘Bronze Bomber’ Wilder in a unification fight. Thurman feels that Joshua needs a few more fights under his belt before he’s fully ready to take the fight with Wilder.
WBA/WBC welterweight champion Thurman says Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) looked a little green in his fight with Wladimir Klitschko, and he thinks he could use a little more time before he faces the 32-year-old Wilder (39-0, 38 KOs).
Joshua vs. Wilder might not happen right now anyway given the demands by the American fighter. Wilder wants a 50-50 deal. Joshua and promoter Eddie Hearn aren’t ready to meet Wilder’s request. Wilder will need to give in considerably before he can get a fight with Joshua. Hearn hasn’t given any clues to the media what he believes Wilder deserves, but it wouldn’t be shocking if a 65-35 cut is what he’ll wind up getting.
“That fight should happen from Deontay’s standpoint,” said Thurman to Fighthype in talking Joshua-Wilder. “He’s ready for anything. He’s been ready. Joshua ain’t really ready. To say Joshua needs a little more time, that’s fine. Deontay is like, ‘I’m ready for that dude right now. I’m ready for him yesterday. I expect that from Deontay, and that’s 100. He is ready, but Joshua is a little young. He’s not really green, but we saw that a little bit in the Klitschko fight, and hasn’t been a 12 round fighter as long as Deontay has. I think he can go around the track a few more times before he goes toe-to-toe with Deontay,” said Thurman.
Joshua, 28, is 5 years younger than Wilder, and he could wait until the Bronze Bomber is older before making that fight. That strategy could backfire on Joshua, since he’s not improving in the stamina department, and he’s been hurt in his last 2 fights against Wladimir and Carlos Takam. Wilder is looking like the younger fighter now. With Wilder’s huge size and his right hand power, he could stay on top for another 10 years. It’s going to take someone with a strong beard for them to withstand Wilder’s right hand power.
Wilder hasn’t had too many 12 round fights either. Wilder has only gone the 12 round distance once in his 9-year pro career, and that was against Bermane Stiverne in 2015. Stiverne took a lot of big shots in that fight, and probably the only reason he didn’t get stopped was due to Wilder having broken his right hand in round 2. Aside that fight, Wilder’s second longest fight was his title defense against Johann Duhaupas in September 2015. Wilder knocked out Duhaupas in the 11th.
I think Anthony Joshua can still build his name. Joshua doesn’t need it right now,” said Thurman. ”He’s young, and he doesn’t need that fight right now. He can take a few title defenses. Anthony Joshua has never been hit the way Deontay can hit him. Deontay has never been hit the way Joshua can hit him. It can happen today. It can happen tomorrow. It can happen a year from now. I just hope it happens. That is the heavyweight fight of this generation now,” said Thurman.
Joshua doesn’t need Wilder to make a lot of money. He can continue to fight in the UK against the contenders. If Joshua wins the WBO belt against Joseph Parker in early 2018, that would give him his 3rd heavyweight title. Joshua wouldn’t need to fight Wilder to be considered the No.1 heavyweight in the division. Joshua would be viewed by the boxing public as the best heavyweight in the world by view of the fact that he has 3 titles. Joshua is already seen by many as the best heavyweight despite only holding 2 of the 4 belts. Joshua vs. Wilder will be a bigger fight in a year or two if they let it marinate. As long as both of them continue to win, the fight between will attract more interest if they wait for as long as possible. Floyd Mayweather Jr. proved that it’s better to wait on a big fight than it is to give the boxing public what they want right away. Mayweather let his fight with Manny Pacquiao marinate 6 years before making it in 2015. Unfortunately, Pacquiao was a mere shadow of his former self by that point in his career. The still broke records and made both of them a fortune.