Hearn: If Wilder doesn’t sign for Joshua fight, then Whyte is April opponent
By Scott Gilfoid: Eddie Hearn still insists that Deontay Wilder is the number one option for Anthony Joshua to fight early next year on April 13 at Wembley Stadium in London, England, but if he chooses not to ink the contract, then Matchroom Boxing stable fighter Dillian Whyte will be the one that faces AJ provided that he wins his next fight against former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker on July 28.
Nevertheless, Hearn insists that WBC heavyweight champion Wilder is the main focus for Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) to fight on April 13, but Whyte (23-1, 17 KOs) is the backup plan for him if the American Deontay doesn’t sign for the fight. It sounds very much like Joshua’s promoter Hearn of Matchroom Sport has already lined up the 30-year-old Whyte as the April 13th opponent for Joshua to fight. It appears like it’s a just a formality to make that fight happen.
It’s not looking good for Wilder to take the fight with Joshua due to Hearn sticking with the same $15 million flat fee offer that he gave him previously. Although Wilder and his management did agree to that offer previously, they’re no longer agreeing with it now. Hearn will need to increase the offer and likely give Wilder a rematch clause that works for him and not just for Joshua, which was the previous deal.
“If Wilder does not sign to fight Joshua and Whyte wins (against former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker), that’s the Wembley fight. But I have to stress, 100% focus is the Wilder fight after Povetkin,” Hearn said to Sky Sports Boxing at Toe 2 Toe.
Obviously, Hearn is throwing out Whyte’s name as a potential opponent for Joshua to fight on April 13 at Wembley Stadium in order to get Wilder to agree to the $15 million offer that was given to him previously. The idea is if Wilder gets scared that he’s going to be frozen out of the Joshua fight in April, he’ll sign for the $15 million and accept the one-way rematch clause that works only in Joshua’s favor. This is a predictable move by Hearn, who has become accustomed to using his A-side muscle to work deals in Joshua’s favor against his opponents. Wilder will make more money than he ever has before if he signs for the Joshua fight on April 13, but he won’t be able to share equally in all the money that he helps bring to the fight. As such, if the fight brings in $100 million+ due to Wilder attracting more boxing fans, then Joshua will enjoy a tremendous payday whereas Deontay will be stuck with his $15 million flat fee and nothing else. Hearn only offering Wilder a flat fee is a clever move in order to get Joshua the lion’s share and then some. If Hearn were offering Wilder a percentage split of 55-45, he would make massive money in walking out of Wembley Stadium potentially with $45 million to Joshua’s $55 million instead of just the $15 million flat fee. Of course, there’s much disagreement in how much the Joshua-Wilder fight will bring in.
Some boxing fans feel that it will only bring in $50 million all total due to Joshua and Hearn’s insistence in staging it in the UK rather than in the U.S. If the fight were staged in the U.S, it could potentially make huge money, but Joshua wouldn’t have all the advantages from fighting at home. If the Wilder-Joshua fight only makes $50 million, then $20 million would be a fair deal rather than the $15 million flat fee that has been offered to him by Hearn. Since there’s no way of knowing how much the Joshua vs. Wilder fight can make, it’s better that Hearn offer Deontay a percentage split of the revenue instead of a low-ball flat fee offer that would be viewed by him as unfair. In mega-fights, the fighters work on percentage deals for the most part, not by flat fee offers. Hearn’s flat fee offer to Joshua makes him look inexperienced at putting together major fights that involve stars outside of the UK. Hearn seems to be operating on a domestic level thought process, as if he’s working out a fight between
two UK guys rather than a domestic fighter against one of the most talented fighters in the world in Deontay. Hopefully, Hearn gets up to speed and figures out that he’s not working out a domestic level match in this case. This isn’t Joshua vs. Dave Allen that Hearn is trying to put together. This is Joshua vs. arguably the most talented heavyweight in the world in Deontay Wilder. Offering Wilder a flat fee of $15 million makes Hearn look bad. If Hearn only wants to offer flat fees, then he should offer Wilder one that he and his management would be more willing to accept like a $50 million offer. Of course, even an offer of $50 million to Wilder is useless without a rematch clause that works both ways. Having a rematch clause that only works in Joshua’s favor is grossly unfair.
“I spoke to him [Joshua] yesterday. He was very bullish. He said, ‘I’m going to walk through Povetkin, and then I’m going to walk through Wilder,’” Hearn said to Sky Sports News.
As for Hearn telling the media what Joshua is saying about Wilder and Alexander Povetkin, he should really let him speak for himself rather than being the one that is doing the talking for him. Joshua’s fight against World Boxing Association mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin is expected to be announced at any time for September 22 or 29 for Sky Box Office PPV at Wembley Stadium.
“Dillian Whyte is a winner. He wants to fight anyone and he has no fear,” Hearn said to Sky Sports News. “He’s a bad geezer. When it gets going, and when it gets down and dirty at the O2 on July 28 – I’m guaranteeing it will be – he will be right in the thick of it.”
Obviously, that bit from Hearn about Whyte being willing to fight anybody isn’t entirely true, is it? I mean, Whyte recently had the chance to fight former heavyweight world title challenger Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz in a World Boxing Council title eliminator to become the mandatory challenger to Deontay, and Whyte turned it down. What does that say about Hearn’s belief that Whyte has no fear to fight anyone? If Whyte wasn’t afraid of Ortiz, then why didn’t he sign for the fight? I think Ortiz isn’t afraid to fight anyone, but Whyte hasn’t shown himself to be in the same class in terms of willingness to fight all the dangerous guys.
”Some great rounds with the boys today camp is buzzing can’t wait for July 28th to let my hands fly let’s go baby let’s go #WHYTEPARKER @MatchroomBoxing @SkySportsBoxing #TEAMBODYSNATCHER,” Whyte said on his Twitter.
Parker, 26, has a very good chance of removing Whyte from the Joshua sweepstakes for April 13 by beating him on July 28 in their fight at the O2 Arena in London, England. If Parker (24-1, 18 KOs) hands Whyte his second career defeat, it’ll be a crushing blow to Hearn, who won’t be able to plug him in as Joshua’s opponent for the 13th of April. Believe me; there will be much less interest from the UK boxing fans in a Joshua vs. Parker II rematch than there will be in a Joshua-Whyte II rematch on April 13. Hearn would have little option but to give Wilder his 50-50 purse split that he’s asking for to fight Joshua. It’s too soon for Hearn to put Joshua and Parker back in with each other because it’s too soon to sell that fight to the British public. Besides, the first fight was horrendous due to the referee preventing inside fight, which hurt Parker’s game to the extreme. I think a lot of Joshua’s loyal boxing fans would prefer to forget the black eye from the Parker fight because the win was tainted due to the referee taking away inside fighting.