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Wilder: ’50-50 with Joshua or NO fight’

Anthony Joshua Deontay Wilder

By Scott Gilfoid: Anthony Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn are going to have to give WBC heavyweight champion Deontay ‘Bronze Bomber’ Wilder his asking price of a 50 percent cut of the revenue for them to get a big unification fight against him in 2018. Wilder made it clear on Monday that it’s either a 50-50 deal with IBF/WBA champion Joshua or no fight.

Joshua and Hearn are going to need to not think about money and greed. Hearn has been banging on about how Joshua has already made his money and that his focus now is on his legacy. If that’s truly the case and not Hearn just flapping his gums, then he needs to give Wilder his asking price of 50 percent to make the fight happen. I don’t think for a second that Wilder is going to lower himself to agree to less than 50 percent. Wilder wants to wet his beak in 50 percent of the money. He doesn’t want to have to scour for chump change for a fight of that magnitude.

What Wilder might not realize is by asking for 50 percent of the dough, he’s giving Joshua and his wily promoter Eddie Hearn every excuse under the sun to get out of having to fight him. It seems clear to many boxing fans that Joshua and Hearn don’t fancy the fight with Wilder. I mean, they do a lot of name dropping of Wilder’s name, but they don’t appear to be seriously interested in making that fight. Why would they? Hearn and Joshua have a good thing going in the UK. They’ve got a huge revenue stream going with Joshua’s mismatches being televised on Sky Box Office pay-per-view, and bringing in huge money no matter who he faces. Joshua is making tons of money fighting guys like Carlos Takam, Dominic Breazeale and Eric Molina. Why would he want to ruin that by facing Wilder and potentially getting knocked out? A brutal knockout loss for Joshua at the hands of Wilder likely would end the gravy train. The money would likely dry up for Joshua, and he would have to take riskier fights to start bringing in the green again.

Wilder says he thinks he could knockout Joshua in the 1st round. Wilder sees something in Joshua that makes him feel he can KO him in the 1st round. It’s likely Joshua’s slow movement, poor defense and his fragile chin. 41-year-old past his prime Wladimir Klitschko had Joshua badly hurt and on the canvas in their fight last April. The only reason Joshua was saved from being knocked out was Wladimir didn’t have the self-confidence and courage to finish the job. Joshua was so hurt, Wladimir likely would have knocked Joshua out with a glancing blow after the 6th.

Hearn has already said many times that Wilder is never going to get 50 percent of the loot for a fight with Joshua. Hearn said the fight will never happen under those conditions. Hearn isn’t saying how much of a percentage split that he’s willing to agree to for a Joshua-Wilder fight, but it’s not hard to imagine it would be in the 65-35 range. Hearn says WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker rates a 30 percent cut of the money for a fight with Joshua. Even with that cut, Hearn says he’s going up from what he feels Parker is truly worth as an opponent. In other words, Hearn seems to rate Parker as no better than that a mandatory challenger would be receiving for a fight against Joshua. Mandatory challengers get 25 percent of the revenue.

”It will be 50-50 or else we don’t see a fight,” said Wilder to ESPN.com. “If they want to use splits, not to make a fight happen, then so be it. It is not like I am asking for more, I’m saying this is a 50-50 fight and that’s how it is. In the rematch, then we can talk about 60-40 splits or whatever. That is more acceptable,” said Wilder.

So there it is. Wilder taking a firm stand for what he’s willing to accept for a fight against Joshua. Hopefully, Joshua and Hearn have an open mind when it comes to negotiations, because it sounds like Wilder isn’t going to bend an inch in his asking price. He wants a 50-50 fair deal, and he’s going to stick with that request until the bitter end. If Joshua and Hearn want to be stubborn about it and stick with whatever low percentage that they want Wilder to accept, then the fight won’t get made. It’s simple as that. It’s hard to imagine Hearn giving Wilder a 60-40 deal. I don’t see him doing that either. Hearn will likely negotiate to the hilt and stand firm on Wilder getting 38 percent. I cannot see Hearn going above 38 percent for Wilder, which obviously will never fly.

”Whether we fight or not, the pressure is not on me, it is going to be on him,” said Wilder. “I knock Joshua out and don’t be surprised if it is in the first round. But I definitely knock Joshua out,” said Wilder.

I can see Wilder knocking out Joshua in the 1st round. The 6’7” Wilder has the punching power, speed and the confidence to knockout Joshua straightaway in round 1. What gives Wilder the ability to do this is his self-belief. He’s already got the physical tools to get the job done against Joshua, but his mind is what makes him so dangerous. Wilder is utterly fearless inside the ring, and that’s the worst kind of opponent that someone like Joshua can have. If you were to put Wilder’s mind into Wladimir’s body last April, Joshua would have been finished in the 6th. There would have been no coming back from that round in my opinion. Heck, if Wilder had been in Wladimir’s corner as his trainer, Joshua wouldn’t have survived the 7th. Wilder would have motivated Wladimir just like his late, great trainer Emanuel Steward used to, and we would have seen the “Steel hammer” fighting like he used to in his prime.

If the Joshua vs. Wilder fight never gets made, then it leaves Hearn with less than ideal options. Hearn can eventually match Joshua against Tyson Fury once he loses the weight, gets his boxing license back, and gets a couple of tune-up bouts under his belt. Joshua and Fury can fight possibly 2 times depending on how the first fight goes. After that, Joshua will be stuck fighting the likes of Joseph Parker, Dillian Whyte, Jarrell Miller and possibly Alexander Povetkin. There are fights to be made for Joshua, but only Wilder and Fury are the big enough ones to attract attention from the boxing world. The rest of the options for Joshua are lesser fights against marginal opposition like Miller, Whyte, Povetkin, Manuel Charr, Luis Ortiz, and Hughie Fury. There are some good young heavyweights coming up the ranks in Joe Joyce, Daniel Dubois and Tony Yoka. Those guys won’t be ready to fight Joshua until 2019 or later. Joyce will be ready in 2019. Dubois and Yoka will need more time.

If Joshua never fights Wilder, he’ll be okay. Joshua can make good money fighting the lesser heavyweights. Joshua has already shown that he doesn’t need to fight quality opponents for him to make huge cash. He can continue to milk his titles by facing non-threatening opposition, and possibly holding onto his titles for many years to come. Hearn has been blabbering about Joshua reigning over the heavyweight division for the next 10 years. Maybe he can if he only fights weaker heavyweights and prices himself out against the talented/dangerous guys like Wilder.




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