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Wilder’s promoter gives Anthony Joshua a 50-50 take it or leave it offer

Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder boxing photo

By Scott Gilfoid: Anthony Joshua has received a huge $50 million take-it-or-leave-it offer from Deontay Wilder’s promoter Shelly Finkel. The offer is a 50-50 split of the revenue, and it must be accepted by this Thursday for the fight to take place. Joshua recently said that if Wilder gives him a $50 million offer, he would agree the next day.

Well, Team Wilder has offered Joshua exactly that and they’re going to give him until tomorrow to accept it. If Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) chooses not to accept the money, then he was never serious about wanting to fight Wilder in the first place.

There’s already talk that Joshua asked for 50 million in pounds and not $50 million in American dollars. Finkel says he believes that Joshua’s request was in U.S dollars when he said he would readily accept the fight if he were offered $50 million (£35.9m).

“We want [Joshua] to fight Deontay in his next fight and we offered him $50m,” Finkel said to “If he accepts it, it will be there. Al Haymon and I have never not delivered what we’ve offered.”

So there it is. Finkel says the money will be there if Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing accept the $50 million offer. But if they do agree to the offer, then it will mean that the control of the promotion will go to Team Wilder, not to Hearn and AJ. Wilder’s management will be able to pick out the location of the fight as well as the date, and it’ll be a 50-50 deal. That doesn’t mean that the fight won’t take place in the UK, because they could very well stage the fight over there. After all, there’s a mess of boxing fans that will come see the Joshua vs. Wilder fight if they stage it in the UK at Wembley Stadium or at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

“We were offered $12.5m (£8.8m) to fight him but we have offered four times that. If [Joshua] says he is not going to take $50m, it means he doesn’t really want to fight him next,” Finkel said.

If Joshua rejects the $50 million offer, and starts saying that he meant that he wants 50 million pounds [$69 million U.S dollars], then it pretty much suggests that he doesn’t fancy the fight and is just looking for a way out. One way of doing that is by saying that when he asked for 50 million, he meant that he wanted 50 million in pounds.

Hearn seems to doubt whether the offer from Wilder is legitimate for some reason. Hearn outright says he doesn’t think Wilder’s team has that kind of money.

”No disrespect to Wilder, but he doesn’t have that kind of money, so we need some proof of the amount, and it’s upfront, held and secure, we will be interested, of course,” Hearn said to IFL TV.

Earlier on Wednesday, Wilder contacted Hearn by e-mail, saying that he’s offering $50 million to Joshua for a unification match with him. The fight will take place one of the last three months of this year if Joshua agrees to it. The winner of the Joshua-Wilder fight will be the undisputed heavyweight champion and have all 4 titles in their possession. Hearn stressed recently that he absolutely needs to make the Joshua vs. Wilder fight this year, because in 2019, AJ has his mandatory defenses that will be due. If Hearn is serious about that, then he’ll make sure he agrees to the fight offer from Team Wilder and setup the contest in late 2018.

This is a big risk by Wilder’s management to give Joshua a $50 million offer, because if the fight fails to bring in the $100 million that Finkel believes it will, then they would still need to pay AJ his money. Joshua isn’t a pay-per-view fighter in the U.S and neither is Wilder. There’s no way of knowing whether a fight between them would bring in the kind of revenue in the U.S and the UK that would justify paying that kind of money to Joshua. $100 million is a huge amount of money for two heavyweights that have failed to establish themselves as big stars in the States. Someday, Joshua might become a star in America, but thus far he’s not even close to that.

Hearn will be in the U.S this week in New York for his fighter middleweight contender Daniel Jacobs’ fight against Maciej Sulecki on Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Jacobs and Sulecki will be fighting in a WBA 160lb title eliminator with the winner becoming the mandatory challenger to WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin.

Hearn says he’s going to be meeting with Wilder’s management team of Finkel and Al Haymon on Friday while he’s in the U.S to try and hammer out a deal for the Joshua-Wilder fight. During an interview on Wednesday, Hearn looked very tired and more than a little nervous. You have to wonder whether the huge offer by Finkel for the Wilder fight has Hearn worried about what could happen if he agrees to it and his fighter Joshua gets beaten.

Wilder is one of those guys that can look bad for a number of rounds, but then suddenly end the fight with one punch. It would be shame if Joshua were to get knocked out badly the way some of Wilder’s past opponents have. Joshua’s PPV numbers might drop off the cliff if he gets knocked cold by Wilder.

Sometimes that’s all it takes is one bad loss for a fighter to lose his popularity almost entirely. Look what happened to Manny Pacquiao after his loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2015. Pacquiao went from bringing in over 1 million buys per fight to a guy that is no longer a PPV attraction. I’m not sure that would happen with Joshua if he gets knocked out by Wilder, but it certainly could happen.

“Anthony, get your man Eddie and [his father] Barry Hearn to check their email. I got something special for you,” Wilder said. “By the way, all the money’s in the bag. So I expect you’ll be a man of your word.”

Wilder is assuming too much about Joshua about him being a man of his word, because we’re already hearing that from some people that he meant he wanted 50 million pounds [$69 million for the Wilder fight, not $50 million. That’s a crazy number, because that fight is never going to be worth $69 million. Joshua would need to be a huge name in the U.S for him to rake in that kind of dough, and he’s not a well-known over there.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. brings in those kinds of numbers for his fights on PPV in America, but he’s a huge star and he knows how to sell his fights with his trash talking. I don’t think Joshua will be able to sell his fights in America with his British accent and his polite way of speaking. Hearn couldn’t shoulder the job of being the chief trash talker to get the U.S boxing fans interested in the Joshua vs. Wilder fight, because the casual American fans don’t have any clue who he is.

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