Purses: Wilder $1.5M, Szpilka $250K; Glazkov $524K, Martin $250K
By Allan Fox: WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (35-0, 34 KOs) won’t be getting the big money tonight that we saw from welterweight stars Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao last year with them both making huge money, but he will get a nice paycheck all the same.
Wilder will be getting $1.5 million for his fight against challenger Artur Szpilka (20-1, 15 KOs) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Szpilka will be getting considerably less at $250,000. However, Szpilka will be getting extra Polish television money that will bump up his payday.
For Deontay to start getting the bigger paydays, he’s going to need to keep winning for a long time, and he’ll need to beat the dangerous fighters like Wladimir Klitschko, David Haye, Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua. If Wilder can beat most of those names, he should see his paydays start to increase. There aren’t a lot of big names for Wilder to fight once he gets past those guys, however. It might take rematches against those type of fighters for Deontay to get enough big fights to make him into a huge star in the United States.
Szpilka, 26, can be the spoiler in this fight tonight. He’s not expected to win, but if he can pull off a big upset over Wilder, then he’ll ruin all his big Alabama native Deontay has. Szpilka was picked out as someone that Deontay could beat without too many problems, but you can never be sure with Deontay. He looks good sometimes in his fights, but then he gets shaken up with shots and looks to be on the verge of being knocked out. Eric Molina had Deontay hurt last year and that was a surprise. Szpilka punches at least as hard as Molina, and he’s a better combination puncher. If Szpilka can put some heat on Deontay, he could pull off a big upset tonight.
The heavyweight co-feature bout tonight between Vyacheslav Glazkov and Charles Martin will see Glazkov getting a guaranteed $524,141 to Martin’s $250,000. With the money that Glazkov is making, he should be fighting Deontay Wilder rather than Martin.
Glazkov had the chance to fight Wilder, but he passed on the fight to go for the vacant IBF heavyweight title against the easier target Martin. It still won’t be an easy fight for Glazkov, because the 6’5″ Martin has a lot of size and decent punching power.
If Deontay wins tonight’s fight against Szpilka, he’ll be facing #1 WBC mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin next in either May or June, according to Dan Rafael. Povetkin could already be fighting Wilder right now, but he chose to take a tune-up fight against Mariusz Wach last November, and that slowed things up for him.
“Just had nice interview with Alexander Povetkin, who gets Wilder-Szpilka winner. If it’s Wilder, could be May/June at Barclays. #boxing,” Rafael said on his Twitter.
It’s still unknown if Deontay will face Povetkin next. If he can get a unification fight against the winner of the Tyson Fury vs. Wladimir Klitschko fight, then he’ll likely look to have the WBC give him permission to bypass Povetkin if he’s agreeable to a step aside payment. Povetkin absolutely wants the fight against Wilder next, as he’s tired of waiting and he wants to try to capture his WBC title.
It would be surprising if Wilder is able to bypass the Povetkin fight next, because he’s already been given an extra voluntary defense by the WBC. Wilder has defended his WBC title three times since winning it last year over Bermane Stiverne. The WBC likely won’t agree to Wilder steering around the Povetkin fight in order to face the likes of Tyson Fury or Charles Martin.
Wilder is just going to have to tough it out and take the Povetkin fight, which obviously will be a much smaller money fight than a unification fight against Fury. However, the good thing is if Wilder is able to make easy work of Povetkin, it will help increase the interest in a Fury fight because Wilder will bve seen as a more legitimate champion compared to how he’s seen now in the eyes of many boxing fans in the sport. Beating Povetkin will help legitimize Wilder just as Fury’s win over Wladimir Klitschko last November made him appear more legitimate. The problem is Deontay may lose to Povetkin, and that would ruin everything for him.