Hearn says Deontay Wilder’s management won’t meet him for negotiations
By Scott Gilfoid: Anthony Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn complains that he can’t get WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder’s management reps Al Haymon and Shelly Finkel to meet with him to negotiate a unification fight.
Hearn says Wilder wants him to agree to the $50 million deal before his people will meet with him. Hearn doesn’t seem interested in doing that, however. He wants to meet face to face with Finkel and/or Haymon to start negotiating the fight.
Wilder’s management set a deadline of Thursday, which has gone by without Hearn agreeing to the $50 million offer. It’s unclear whether the offer is still on the table or not from Team Wilder or even if it was accepted in the first place, because Hearn isn’t saying. Wilder’s team is interested in a 50-50 split, which Hearn has never agreed to. Hearn offered Wilder a $12.5 million flat fee a couple of weeks ago, and that was what he felt he was worth. Hearn didn’t give Wilder a percentage deal, as he thinks he doesn’t bring in enough fans for him to be worth that.
”I returned the email of Deontay Wilder and said we are very interested in making this fight, please send us a draft contract,” Hearn said to Sky Sports News. “He replied and said ‘you have to accept the fight and then we will send you the contract’. I’ve never known anything so bizarre since I’ve worked in boxing.”
It may seem bizarre to Hearn, but Joshua is the one that said that if he’s given a $50 million offer from Team Wilder, he’ll agree within 24 hours. They’ve done just that in offering Joshua $50M, but instead of Joshua agreeing to the fight, he and his promoter Hearn seem frozen and aren’t agreeing to the fight for some reason.
It’s unknown if Hearn/Joshua wants more than the guaranteed $50 million that Wilder’s manager Shelly Finkel is offering to them or if they’re out of their league in trying to negotiate with experienced managers. Wilder is right in wanting to hear whether Joshua and Hearn agree to the $50 million, because if he merely wants to meet with them to ask for more money, then that’s not going to work. It appears the $50 million is a take it or leave it offer from Team Wilder. That means either Hearn/Joshua agree to it or they don’t. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like they’re ready to agree to the fight.
“I had a meeting with Shelly Finkel scheduled for Thursday, he cancelled that meeting,” Hearn said. ”I requested a meeting for today (Friday) and he emailed me, while also emailing the entire press world, saying ‘there is no point in meeting it would be non-productive – we have to accept the deal first.’”
They obviously want to hear whether Hearn accepts the take it or leave it $50 million offer. I’m not sure what’s so hard to understand about what Team Wilder is saying. They want to know if Hearn agrees to the $50 million. Why meet with Hearn if he can’t say whether he agrees to the offer?
If Hearn doesn’t agree, then Wilder could be facing his WBC mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale next in June or July. The 6’7” Breazeale is a good solid heavyweight with Olympic experience in 2012 for the United States. Hearn was hoping Wilder would fight Dillian Whyte, who he promotes, but that fight is not going to happen. Whyte isn’t Wilder’s mandatory despite Hearn matching him up against 39-year-old Lucas ‘Big Daddy’ Browne and Robert Helenius in his last two fights in an attempt to get him the WBC mandatory spot. Those two past their best heavyweights weren’t high enough on the WBC’s list for Whyte to get the mandatory spot with the WBC for beating them.
Hearn thinks it’s a PR stunt, but he doesn’t know that for a fact because he hasn’t accepted the $50 million offer from Wilder. If Hearn likes the offer, he should accept it. But by Hearn not saying anything, it suggests that he’s not agreeable to it. You can understand why Wilder’s management doesn’t want to bother meeting with Hearn. If the guy isn’t giving the green light on the $50M, then he could start looking to ratchet up the money for Joshua if they did meet with him. It’s always better to get either a yes or no from a take it or leave it offer before time is put into meeting.
Hearn and Joshua might end up kicking themselves later on for not agreeing to the $50 million offer from Wilder’s team. Look at it this way. If Joshua loses his next fight, he’ll be lucky to get half of that figure in a fight with Wilder later on. Joshua’s value will immediately plummet once he loses to someone.
There’s still time to let the Joshua-Wilder fight to marinate before they face each other. Joshua can fight Alexander Povetkin, Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller and Dillian Whyte. Those are fights that Hearn wants to make in the worst way. Wilder’s team should let Hearn get those fights done before they offer the $50M to Joshua again. In the meantime, Wilder can face Dominic Breazeale, Tony Bellew, David Haye or Adam Kownacki. Those are good fights for Wilder. He can get a few more knockouts under his belt, creep closer to Floyd Mayweather’s 50-0 mark, and then look to make the fight against Joshua if he and Hearn are willing to listen to reason by that point.
At some point Hearn and Joshua are going to want to make the fight with Wilder. It might not be now. If Hearn feels that $50 million isn’t enough for Joshua, then it’s best that Wilder move on and wait for AJ to lose a couple of times before they come back to restart negotiations. Hearn is obviously on his high horse right now and hard to negotiate with.
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