Hearn: We’ll have to pay Deontay Wilder more than he’s worth
By Scott Gilfoid: WBC heavyweight champion Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder doesn’t bring much value to a fight against IBF/WBA champion Anthony Joshua, according to promoter Eddie Hearn. He says there’s no comparison between the two heavyweights as far as commercial value goes. As such, Hearn says that they’ll have to pay Wilder far more than his worth for him to accept a unification fight against Joshua.
The way Hearn describes Wilder, he feels that he’s not a big enough name to bring anything of value to a unification fight with the 27-year-old Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) right now. The negotiations between Joshua and Wilder could be a problem, as Hearn doesn’t see the American heavyweight as being anywhere close to his fight in what he brings to the table in a fight. Hearn says he doesn’t want to disrespect Wilder by giving him an offer that’s beneath his dignity to accept it, but he feels he’s going to have to overpay him for the Joshua-Wilder fight to get made.
The basic problem is Hearn doesn’t want to pay Wilder the money he brings to the table for the Joshua fight in my view. That’s how I read it. Hearn wants Joshua to eventually fight Wilder in a year or two, but he doesn’t want to pay Wilder his asking price for the fight.
“The problem is Deontay Wilder doesn’t pull in the numbers,” said Hearn to Thaboxingvoice in talking about Wilder not being a big draw in his view. “Deontay Wilder can’t afford to fight Joseph Parker. He can’t afford to pay him the money, because he can’t generate the money. Joshua is the superstar. He generates the money in his fights. Deontay Wilder doesn’t. When we get down to the nitty-gritty of the negotiations, I have no idea if they’re going to be realistic or not,” said Hearn.
Hearn paid Charles Martin more than he was worth for him to defend his IBF heavyweight title against Joshua. One of the oldest tricks in the book for a promoter to dodge a risky fight for his golden goose is for him to say his opponent priced himself out. It sounds like Hearn is getting ready to pull that old trick out of his hat for the Wilder fight.
So there it is. Hearn basically letting the boxing world know that he’s going to be a problem when it comes to the negotiations between Joshua and Wilder. When you have a promoter like Hearn, who doesn’t value the opposition for his fighter, then that becomes a stumbling block for big fights to get made.
It would be a huge disappointment for the boxing fans if the Wilder-Joshua fight doesn’t get made because Hearn is concerned with paying Wilder a fair percentage of what he brings to the fight. If Hearn doesn’t value Wilder, it leaves Joshua stuck facing guys like Carlos Takam and Dillian Whyte for the remainder of his career. Joshua is more popular in the UK, but Wilder rules the U.S, and his performances have been consistently more exciting for the boxing fans. Wilder’s brutal 1st round KO of Bermane Stiverne last Saturday night was a perfect example of that.
”We’re not looking to disrespect,” said Hearn in talking about future negotiations between Joshua and Wilder. ”We’re looking to produce the right numbers. I’m not saying Deontay Wilder has no value in the fight. Of course, he does, but you can’t compare the 2 commercially,” said Hearn in suggesting that Wilder doesn’t bring in the same money that Joshua does in his fights. “That can’t stop the fight from happening. We will have to pay Deontay Wilder significantly more than his value and worth in the fight, because if we gave a true reflection of his value in the fight, there’s no way he’d accept it. We know that we’ll have to give him more than his value in the fight,” said Hearn.
It sounds like Hearn could be the stumbling block to getting the Wilder vs. Joshua fight made. Oh well. That’s what would I thought would happen. It doesn’t matter if both fighters want the fight. If you’ve got a promoter on the A-side, who feels his guy deserves the whole slice of the pie with just crumbs remaining for the other fighter, then the fight isn’t going to get made. Wilder probably isn’t agree to an 80-20 or 70-30 split of the loot for a fight with Joshua. You can argue the starting point for negotiations in a Joshua vs. Wilder fight is a 50-50 split of the cash. From there, the wily Hearn can try and negotiation downwards for Wilder to try and get him to accept less than a square deal.
I wish Hearn a lot of luck, because he’s going to need it. Joshua is not going to have a big smile on his face if Hearn comes back to him empty-handed with no Wilder fight agreed on. Wilder and is team will want a good portion of the money to take the fight with Joshua. What’s the use of Wilder fighting Joshua in a huge money fight if he can’t share in the money that he helps bring to the table? You’ve to figure that whatever extra money that the Joshua-Wilder fight brings in from PPV sales will be directly related to Wilder. So, if the Wilder-Joshua mega-fight brings in double the PPV and ticket sales number as usual, then you’ve got to attribute that to Wilder, and pay him his half of the loot.