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Wilder’s $50 million P.R. stunt?

Anthony Joshua Deontay Wilder

By Damian Poole: Like many of you, I was totally caught off guard by the $50 million offer by Deontay Wilder to Anthony Joshua and Eddie Hearn earlier this week. Technically this offer is a reply to Anthony Joshua comment he made to IFL TV, Anthony said “I’ll take 50 million if that’s the case, Wilder’s team bring me 50 million up front and we’ll take the fight. Basically the offer by Deontay Wilder is his way of calling AJ’S bluff. Does this mean the offer is a P.R stunt or does Wilder really have $50 million? Remember this offer came from Wilder via personal email not his managers.

At first I though this was a brilliant move by Wilder to offer the money Anthony requested. I was concerned that Wilder was not serious about this fight as we the public, had not heard a peep from Wilder ever since Eddie Hearn’s original opening offer two weeks ago. It was the perfect time for Deontay Wilder to pledge this offer and catch Slick Eddie off guard and out of his comfort zone as he is currently in American promoting the Danny Jacobs fight. Hearn said this to IFL TV about the offer:

“I got a email actually from Deontay Wilder, not Sherry or Al or anyone like that. It said,” ‘Dear Anthony, you said in a interview if I gave you 50 million you’d sign for the fight tomorrow. I’m going to give you a 50/50 split of the fight.’ “Which isn’t of interest. But with a guarantee of 50 million which is of interest. Please accept this fight by tomorrow. Which kinda made me feel it’s a P.R move more than anything else especially as it’s coming from Deontay Wilder.”

The more I learned about the offer from Deontay, the more it seemed to be disingenuous. Wilder wants full control of the fight, NO rematch clause, fight date around September-December, No venue information and no word how he will guarantee the money will be paid I.e. lump sum via escrow or installment payments. But Joshua must accept with in 24 hours. Basically, sign a blank piece of paper.

First of all, why would Deontay Wilder not want a rematch? It would be the biggest fight in heavyweight boxing History and generate so much profit. Maybe because Wilder knows all of Anthony Joshua’s contacts in the past have a rematch clause. By taking that option away Anthony would be less likely to accept the fight and expose Wilder’s fake offer.

Secondly, Why stage the fight later on in the year? Wilder him self has said in previous interviews he would want to fight Joshua around July and stage a rematch in December. I have a theory though, I suspect Wilder already has a fight lined up with Dominic Breazeale, But if Wilder takes that fight before the Joshua, it would be seen as Deontay ducking Anthony. So by offing unrealistic terms to the deal and gambling that Anthony will decline the offer, Wilder can safely say Anthony Joshua is ducking and announce the fight with Dominic.

Lastly, why only give 24 hours to accept the offer which might I add expired yesterday? Eddie Hearn had arranged to meet up with Deontay Wilder’s managers, Al Haymon and Shelly Finkel on Thursday before Wilder made his offer. Since then, Al and Shelly cancelled the arranged meeting and reschedule for Friday. After the 24 hour deadline. Convenient rite? Maybe it is a tactic to put more pressure on Hearn and Joshua to keep them in the dark about the fake offer so they won’t accept it?. Surely (not Shirley) Wilder’s managers would expect Hearn and Joshua to have a thousand questions that could of been answered on Thursday if they was serious. Which leads to suspect they are not and it’s all a R.R stunt. After all there are legal ramifications to consider. Anthony is signed up to Sky Sports, if he accepted this offer only to find out it was broadcasted on a American channels that conflicted with sky Sports, Eddie and Anthony would have serious legal issues on there hands.

The latest news, Shirley has now cancelled the Fridays meeting in a email to Eddie Hearn. According to Boxing News and Views, the email reads.

‘Dear Eddie,

With all due respect you know Al and I for a long time and you know this is not a publicity stunt. I assure you that we’re serious and we would be glad to sit down with you and provide proper security for the funding and work out all the details.

But it all has to start with Anthony Joshua accepting the $50million offer that he asked for, which is also by far the largest guarantee and largest purse any heavyweight champion in history has ever made.

Until then, it would be non-productive to meet. Please have Anthony accept the offer that he asked for and let’s get this fight made.

Thanks, Shelly’

This is really disappointing, Shelly not wanting to arrange any kind of meeting to discuss Wilder’s offer can only be seen as fake, ingenious P.R stunt. I mean, how would it be non-productive to have a meeting? Seriously? Questions get answered, the fight gets made and we the boxing fans get to see the best vs the best for undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. This is not how you do business, which might explain why Deontay Wilder’s career has been stalling for the last 40 fights , Struggling to sell gate tickets and become a PPV star in his home country. Where as Anthony Joshua is the polar opposite. I’m just saying.

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