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Joshua-Klitschko to split $36M purse

Anthony Joshua Wladimir Klitschko

By Scott Gilfoid: IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua and the aging past his best 40-year-old Wladmir Klitschko have reportedly agreed to a fight on December 10. According to The Guardian, Joshua and Klitschko will be splitting up $36 million [£30m] for their fight.

With that kind of cash at stake, it’s not surprising that the faded Klitschko has chosen to put himself at a disadvantage by agreeing to fight Joshua in the UK rather than insisting on fighting in a neutral venue.

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn is expected to make the announcement for the Joshua-Klitschko fight this week. One of the sticking points that has slowed up the negotiations was the HBO-Showtime angle. Joshua is under contract with Showtime, while Wladimir is with HBO. Hearn had to work all that out in order to get the fight put together.

It’s unclear whether both networks will televise the fight. As important as the match is, it’s hard not to believe that both networks will be airing the fight on December 10. At 40, Wladimir clearly isn’t the top heavyweight in the division any longer. You can argue that Wladimir isn’t even the No.5 best heavyweight right now, as he’s lost a lot from his game.

You have to rate these heavyweights above Wladimir right now: Deontay Wilder, Joshua, Luis Ortiz, Joseph Parker and David Haye. However, Wladimir has the name recognition above the other heavyweights, so a fight between him and Joshua is going to be big despite him not being the heavyweight that he was 10 years ago or even two years ago.

As far as who gets the bigger slice of the $36 million pot of gold, I would imagine that Joshua does given that he’s the IBF strap holder. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if the revenue spit if 55/45. I can’t see Wladimir agreeing to a 60/40 split of the cash, even though he’d still make a killing compared to the green he’d get for fighting Joseph Parker, Andy Ruiz Jr., Deontay Wilder or Luis Ortiz.

I think Wladimir would lose to all of those guys right now. He still has punching power, but he doesn’t let his hands go with his power shots. Wladimir isn’t going to beat those fighters using just his jab. The same goes for Wladimir’s fight against Joshua. He’s not going to defeat Joshua with a jab. If he can’t throw power shots, and I don’t think he can from what we saw in his loss to Tyson Fury last November, then Joshua will win this fight easily by throwing nothing but power shots until Wladimir collapses on the canvas.

This fight might be over as early as the 2nd round if Wladimir is incapable of winning Joshua’s respect by throwing power shots back at him. If Wladimir is just going to jab and hold, he’s not going to last long on December 10.

Matchroom Sport will stage the Joshua vs. Klitschko fight at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, UK. It’s great news for Joshua, but dreadful for Wladimir. You can twist that any which way you want by saying that Wladimir is showing raw courage by agreeing to fight in the UK, but I think it’s not a smart move. If Wladimir doesn’t need the money, then there’s no reason for him to give a younger challenger the home country advantage.

I felt the same way when Kostya Tszyu fought Ricky Hatton. Why give Hatton the home country advantage? It was a mistake that cost Tszyu his title, because I think he would have won if the fight had taken place in a neutral country and if there was a referee working the fight that could control Hatton’s wrestling on the inside. That wasn’t even a fight, it was a wrestling match.

This will be Joshua’s second title defense of his International Boxing Federation title that he won last April in defeating Charles Martin by a 2nd round knockout. In Joshua’s first defense, he beat #13 IBF fringe contender Dominic Breazeale by a 7th round TKO. Breazeale was supposedly chosen because he was a recognizable name to the U.S fans, as Joshua had just signed a multi-fight deal with Showtime Boxing.

Breazeale fought for the U.S in the 2012 Olympics. However, Breazeale was still an unknown fighter in the U.S, as the country is a HUGE one, and Olympic sports are only watched sporadically by casual boxing unfortunately. There are too many other channels to watch. As such, Joshua burned up a title defense against Breazeale in picking him from near the bottom of the IBF’s rankings rather than choosing a talented contender ranked near the top like Luis Ortiz.

As bad as Wladimir looked against Tyson Fury last November in losing a 12 round decision, I think it’s a step down for Joshua from his fight against Breazeale. Wladimir looks that far gone. At least with Breazeale, you could count on him to stand and absorb punishment for a certain amount of rounds. I don’t see Wladimir lasting more than two rounds at best against Joshua. It’s going to be a mismatch.

Klitschko vs. Joshua could snap the nine-year pay-per-view mark in the UK set by Ricky Hatton vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2007, which brought in 1.2 million buys. It might break the record if enough casual boxing fans think it’s a going to be a competive fight. If those same fans saw how awful Wladimir looked in losing to Tyson Fury last November, then I think the fight might be lucky to get even 500,000 buys. The Fury vs. Klitschko fight was so, so boring to watch. There were tons of holding, lots of moving, and very few punches thrown by either fighter.

There might be a lot of boxing fans that are interested in seeing the Joshua vs. Klitschko fight, and I suppose those fans will be happy to see a total wipeout with Joshua destroying Wladimir. But for the fans that like to see competitive matches, I think they’re going to be disappointed. The Joshua-Klitschko fight has mismatch written all over it, I hate to say.

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