Deontay Wilder wants Povetkin or Luis Ortiz
By Jeff Aranow: Deontay Wilder is after big game for his next fight in 2018, as he’s interested in defending his WBC heavyweight title against Alexander Povetkin or Luis Ortiz. Both of those heavyweights were previously scheduled to face Wilder, but unfortunately both tested positive for banned, preventing the fights from happening.
Wilder (39-0, 38 KOs) isn’t holding it against them for testing positive, and he’s still interested in fighting them. Wilder, 32, is recognized that Povetkin and Ortiz are 2 very good heavyweights in the division. He wants to test himself against them. Povetkin are 2 of the 3 heavyweights that have tested positive during training for a fight with Wilder. Andrzej Wawrzyk is the third.
The end game for Wilder in 2018 is a big unification match against IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs), but that fight won’t take place unless there’s parity with the purses. Deontay Wilder wants nothing less than a 50-50 split of the revenue for the match against Joshua. That request has been met with resistance by Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn, who says Wilder will never get that deal. Hearn is openly saying now that Wilder’s money request is unrealistic.
Hearn would still like for Wilder to face his Matchroom Sport heavyweight Dillian Whyte in early 2018 on February 3 in London, England. Hearn feels this fight would increase the popularity of the Wilder-Whyte winner, who he could then match against Joshua to maximize the revenue. A fight against Whyte is a nonstarter as far as Wilder is concerned unless he’s given his asking price of $7 million. It might not matter even if Wilder did fight and beat Whyte. If Hearn isn’t going to give Wilder the 50-50 money split for a fight with Joshua, then that match is never going to be made. If there’s no chance of Wilder ever facing Joshua, then there’s no point in him fighting Whyte. Beating Whyte won’t increase Wilder’s popularity in his home country of the U.S. Moreover, Wilder would be putting himself at risk of being potentially robbed by facing Whyte in London in February. It’s a lose-lose situation for Wilder. If he beats Whyte, no one will care, and he still won’t get the fight against Joshua with a 50-50 split. If Wilder loses or struggles against Whyte, then his stock goes way down, and that hurts his chances of ever getting a good money split for a fight against Joshua. Hearn is clever by trying to get Wilder to fight Whyte. The fight does nothing for Wilder, but it definitely can help Joshua and Whyte.
Joshua is the fight that Wilder wants most of all, but until his promoter Eddie Hearn is willing to give him his asking price of a 50-50 deal, he wants to fight the best in the division. Wilder doesn’t want to milk his WBC title taking on bottom feeders that the boxing fans have no interest in seeing him fight. The only way that Wilder can increase his popularity is the hard way by taking on and beating the best lions in the division like Povetkin and Ortiz. Hearn signing Jarrell Miller complicates matters now, as he’s not likely to let him fight Wilder now. Miller is still unbeaten, and he has a gift for gab. Hearn is likely going to save Miller for a fight with Joshua in 2018 as a substitute opponent or in 2019. Either way, Miller is likely off limits to Wilder until Joshua gets at him first to spoil his unbeaten record.
Ortiz (27-0, 23 KOs) was given clearance by the World Boxing Council to fight this week, and he’ll be in action this Friday night against Daniel Martz (16-5-1, 13 KOs) in a 10 round bout at Hialeah Park Racing & Casino in Hialeah, Florida.
“You got Luis Ortiz and Alexander Povetkin. I would love to get the opportunity back with some of them guys, the fights that people really want to see and due to their lack of responsibility, as far as being wise for the drugs they choose to put in their bodies that the fight didn’t happen,” said Wilder to ESPN.com.
It’s unlikely that Povetkin, 38, will choose to take a fight with Wilder in 2018, as he’s in position to become the mandatory challenger to Joshua and WBO champion Joseph Parker. Povetkin (32-1, 23 KOs) can make good money in a fight with Joshua if he can become his WBA mandatory challenger. A fight between Povetkin and Joshua in Russia would bring in a lot of boxing fans. It would be a big money fight. If Povetkin beats Joseph Parker to win his WBO title, then that would put him in a great position to get an even bigger payday fighting Joshua in a unification fight. However, it’s quite possible that Joshua will face Parker in early 2018. If Joshua wins the WBO belt, then Povetkin will be facing him anyway. Povetkin will likely take the path to a fight with Joshua rather than facing Wilder.
Ortiz is the guy that would be the easier fight for Wilder to make. Ortiz is ranked #3 with the World Boxing Council. Ortiz is no longer ranked in the top 15 by the WBA due to his recent positive drug test. Ortiz isn’t ranked in the IBF, and he has a low ranking of No.14 with the WBO. Wilder is the best bet for Ortiz right now for him to get a title shot in the near term. It’s likely going to take Ortiz a long time for him to get ranked high enough by the WBA and WBO to force a fight against Anthony Joshua. It’s not probable that Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn will give Ortiz a chance to fight Joshua as a voluntary challenger. Ortiz is a little too dangerous for Joshua. Hearn is pretty clever. He says that Joshua wants to fight the best, but when it comes to the actual match-making he does for him, you don’t see him putting him in risky fights. Hearn has never come close to matching Joshua against Ortiz, David Haye or Wilder. and it’s quite possible that we don’t see those fights happening for a while.