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Hearn: Joshua deserves bigger slice of pie for Wilder fight (if he wins WBO belt)

Eddie Hearn boxing photo

By Scott Gilfoid: The crafty promoter Eddie Hearn says his fighter Anthony Joshua will want a bigger purse split against WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in 2018 if he wins the WBO title against belt holder Joseph Parker on March 31 in Cardiff, Wales.

Hearn says Joshua will have 3 heavyweight titles when he begins negotiations for a unification fight against Wilder, and that means he should get a bigger cut. Hearn has already ruled out Wilder getting a 50-50 deal for a unification fight with Joshua. But if Joshua wins the WBO title, then Wilder will get even less of an offer from Hearn. Just how much less is unclear. If Hearn starts babbling about Wilder getting only 30 to 35 percent, which is the ballpark range that Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) is getting for the Joshua fight, then the fight will never get made.

The unbeaten Wilder (39-0, 38 KOs) is adamant that he wants 50 percent of the loot for the Joshua fight, and he says not going to budge on that. It Joshua is fine with being a 3-belt champion instead of the 4-belt champion of the heavyweight division, then there will be no problem. There’s nothing wrong with Joshua holding 3 titles instead of all 4 of the belts. Wladimir Klitschko was a 3-belt champion for many years, and he wasn’t too bothered about it.
”If you go to the negotiating table with three belts instead of one, then you want an increase in the pie,” said Hearn to in discussing the Joshua-Wilder negotiations.

It sounds like Hearn is going to be a problem here, doesn’t it? Joshua might need to step in at some point to give Hearn his barking orders to get the Wilder fight made. If Hearn tries to lowball a hard-bargaining fighter like Wilder, he could end up with no fight between them. It won’t be all bad for Joshua. He’s got his WBA mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin to fall back on if the Wilder fight doesn’t take place. Hearn expects the World Boxing Association to order the Povetkin fight for Joshua soon, and he sees that one possibly taking place in December for Joshua.

Hearn also wants to make the Joshua vs. Tyson Fury fight in the summer. So, if Hearn is unwilling to give Wilder the 50-50 purse split that he’s asking for to make the fight with Joshua, then he still has Fury and Povetkin as good options this year. However, Fury is probably going to be the same way in wanting at least 50 percent of the purse for the Joshua fight. If Hearn is stubborn and unyielding with his negotiations with Fury, it means there won’t be a Joshua-Fury fight. At that point you’ll have to wonder whether Hearn lacks the flexibility to negotiate the bigger fights for Joshua. It’s one thing Hearn laboring to put a fight together between Joshua and Parker, and a much different thing in negotiating bigger money fights against Wilder and Fury.

“The Wilder fight could be in America. We want to fight Wilder before the end of the year. Our plan is box three times this year – end of August or early September, then December,” said Hearn. ”We’d rather the fight was in the UK but we’re not bothered if it has to be in America. No problem.”

I wonder why Hearn would be willing to have Joshua fight Wilder in the U.S instead of the UK. That seems out of character for Hearn to make that kind of move. The only reason I could think of for Hearn to throw a bone like that to Wilder is in a substitute for him agreeing to a smaller purse of less than 50 percent for the Joshua match. I don’t think that’s going to work. Wilder, 6’7”, might want the U.S home advantage as well as the 50-50 deal for the Joshua fight, especially if he crushes Luis ‘The Real King Kong’ Ortiz (28-0, 24 KOs) in their fight on March 3 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. That’s arguably a tougher fight for Wilder than Joshua’s unification fight against Parker. Ortiz is highly respected talent in the boxing world, and there are a lot of fans that think he would possibly beat Joshua. Hearn had the chance to make the Joshua-Ortiz fight in 2016, but he opted to go in a different direction. Hearn made excuses about Ortiz not looking good in his fights against Dave Allen and Malik Scott. Ortiz wasn’t motivated for those fights because they weren’t the top names that he wanted to fight. Ortiz wanted Joshua and Wilder. Now he’s got Wilder, but he still didn’t get the fight with Joshua.

If Wilder destroys Ortiz in 1 to 3 rounds, he’s going to be in a great position to get the 50 percent split of the purse for the Joshua fight. Whether Hearn wants to admit it or not, Wilder is in a great position to shape his own destiny in his fight against Ortiz. Joshua could end up in bad shape in terms of his negotiating pull if he struggles to beat Parker in their fight on March 31 at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Joshua needs to win that fight with flying colors without any hiccups. If Joshua loses to Parker, then he can forget about a 50-50 split of the revenue for a fight with Wilder. Joshua might even have to get in line to fight Wilder. It’ll depend on whether Wilder wants to be charitable or not in giving Joshua a title shot at his WBC belt straightaway with him coming off a loss to Parker. Wilder showed Ortiz some kindness by giving him a second chance at fighting him after he tested positive for 2 banned drugs last year. Perhaps Wilder will be forgiving of Joshua if he gets beaten by Parker. We’ll have to see.

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