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Hearn talks Wilder-Fury fight and Joshua

Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury boxing photo

By Scott Gilfoid: Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn maintains that he’s not green with envy with the upcoming Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury fight that is expected to take place in November. Hearn says he’s not upset by Fury taking the fight against Wilder that he wanted for Joshua, but a lot of fans believe that he’s VERY jealous. Fury could ruin Hearn’s big plans for a Joshua-Fury fight if he beats the talented Wilder.

Hearn says he still has doubts the Wilder-Fury fight comes off, but if it does take place, he feels it will make the Anthony Joshua vs. Deontay fight much bigger. Hearn figures that Joshua will make between four and five times more than he otherwise would make if Wilder doesn’t face former IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury (27-0, 19 KOs). Hearn states that Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) will make more money as well in a fight against Joshua after he beats Fury, although he doesn’t say how much more. Hearn’s previous offer that he stands firm on for Wilder is a flat fee of $15 million. If Hearn continues to only offer Wilder flat fee offers, he’ll have to be satisfied with the fight never happening. Wilder isn’t likely going to agree to the flat fee offers unless more money is involved than $15M. The fight is believed to be $100 million+. If Wilder ever agrees to a flat fee of $15 million, then Joshua is going to walk away with a massive amount of money in comparison.

“I think that’s a great fight for boxing,” Hearn said to Fighthype about the Wilder vs. Fury fight. “I have my doubts that fight will happen. But I hope guys make it to the fight. If there’s one guy that we would want Wilder to fight to grow the Joshua fight, it’s Fury,” Hearn said.

As you can see, Hearn still doubts that Fury vs. Wilder fight will happen. He says he wants the fight to happen for the sake of Joshua, but it’s reasonable to assume that he doesn’t want the fight. Look at it this way. If the Fury-Wilder fight gets announced in a week or two, it’s going to completely take away interest in Joshua’s upcoming September 22 fight against old timer 38-year-old Alexander Povetkin for their fight at Wembley Stadium in London, England. Hearn says that Povetkin is the No.3 heavyweight in the division, but as old as shot as he’s looked lately, he doesn’t look like he’s even the 10th best fighter in the division. More importantly than that, there’s little interest from boxing fans in the Joshua-Povetkin fight. Hearn might have thought that Joshua would get a free pass by him choosing not to match Joshua against Wilder for September. Hearn might have believed the UK boxing fans would be excited about Joshua’s fight with Povetkin, which figures to be a mismatch. Unfortunately, the fans aren’t interested in the Joshua-Povetkin fight, so Hearn royally blew it by not making that fight. If the Wilder-Fury fight gets announced next week, it’s going to immediately start hogging the headlines for the next two months, and fans aren’t going to be talking about the Joshua vs. Povetkin fight, and rightly so because it’s an awful fight.

”I think it’s a bad fight for Fury, because he’s yet to get the swag and flow yet,” Hearn said. ”He must be getting $20 million for that fight. I don’t know why he’s taking it. He sees something we don’t know. Good luck for him. It’s a good fight for the heavyweight division. If Wilder wins the fight and does good pay-per-view numbers, then he certainly increases his stock in the Joshua fight. He’s still a one-belt holder, but he definitely increases his stock with wins against Ortiz and Fury,” Hearn said.

As you can see from Hearn’s comments, he doesn’t seem to be in favor of Fury taking the Wilder fight because he’s not seen as the favorite. You can argue that Hearn’s mindset is to mostly make fights in which his fighters are considered the favorite. In other words, to make fights where his guys are a sure thing bet and have next to no chance of losing the fight. Fury vs. Wilder isn’t that kind of fight, which is why Hearn seems to be so against it from happening. Instead of Hearn giving Fury praise for taking a risk with his career, he criticizes him by saying he’s taking a fight that he doesn’t think is a smart one for him to take. When you look at the guys that Hearn hasn’t matched Joshua against during his career, it shows that he’s been careful with his career. Hearn hasn’t matched Joshua against Wilder, David Haye, Luis Ortiz and Povetkin. Hearn didn’t match Joshua against Povetkin and Wladimir Klitschko until they were both in their late 30s, nearing 40. Why didn’t Hearn match Joshua against Wladimir and Povetkin back in 2013 or 2014 when both of them were younger? I’m just saying. Hearn seems to make fights where his fighters have a great chance of winning and a small chance of losing.

”If Fury wins, there will be a rematch clause, because it’s a voluntary defense,” Hearn says in sounding unhappy. It would slow down our fight.”

I don’t think it matters if Wilder and Fury wind up facing each other in a rematch. I doubt that Hearn will bother to make a serious effort in putting together the Joshua vs. Wilder fight. I mean, I think Hearn will continue to offer Wilder flat fee offers in hopes that he’ll get fed up and eventually agree to one of them in order to finally face Joshua, but I don’t see the offers being ones that can be considered a fair deal. At best, Wilder will get 25 percent of the purse for a fight against Joshua in my opinion. I don’t see Hearn ever giving Wilder the 50-50 deal that he’s been asking for recently. Even 60-40 is won’t happen in my view. For that reason, I don’t think it matters one bit if Wilder faces Fury in a rematch, because it’s not going to slow the Joshua-Wilder fight from happening. What’s going to slow that fight from taking place is Hearn offering Wilder flat fee offers rather than the percentage deal that he wants of the revenue.

”Fury is a good fighter, a very skillful fighter, but I don’t see him beating Wilder,” Hearn said. ”At the moment, we’re fighting the #3 heavyweight in the world in Povetkin on September 22. I see that as a very tough fight. After that, the strategy remains the same to fight Deontay Wilder. But he’s got to beat Fury,” Hearn said.

Despite what Hearn says, Povetkin isn’t viewed as the number three heavyweight in the division. Luis Ortiz is seen as the No.3 heavyweight in the division by many boxing fans. The 38-year-old Povetkin has looked something awful in his last two fights, and he’s starting to show his advanced age. Even when Povetkin was young, he didn’t look great in beating guys like Chris Byrd, Eddie Chambers and Marco Huck. Those were very, very hard fights for Povetkin. He’s always been a small heavyweight, who was lucky that he didn’t fight in the same era as a prime Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, Vitali Klitschko and Riddick Bowe.

”Someone said to me, ‘you must be devastated that Wilder is fighting Fury,’” Hearn said. ”I’m exactly over the moon. The money that is offered to Joshua will be tripled or quad-tripled for the Wilder fight. Wilder will make more money as well. I think it’s a win-win for everybody.”

I don’t think Hearn really wants Wilder to fight Fury, because if he defeats him, then it strengthens his hand to demand a 50-50 fight for a match against Joshua. That means less money for Joshua than the 85-15 split that Wilder would be getting if he agrees to the $15 million flat fee Hearn is offering him and the fight then makes at least $100 million. If Wilder smashes Fury into next week in their fight, then

Hearn is going to have a hard time trying to get Deontay to agree to his flat fee offers. He’s going to need to either bump up the flat fee offers to $50 million for Wilder or simply give him the 50-50 percentage deal that he’s asking for. If Hearn chooses not to make the fight, it’s going to badly hurt Joshua’s popularity because he’s going to look like he’s being protected from Wilder.

”Joshua’s not in his prime yet. I think Wilder is at his peak, but he’s not showing any signs of decline,” Hearn said. ”Mayweather-Pacquiao fight happened five years too late, but Mayweather-Mayweather got the max money. That’s not what the fight fans want to hear. We’re doing this fight too early, but someone can lose. It’s only going to get bigger and bigger. I hope the Wilder-Fury fight does happen, because it’s going to make the Joshua fight four to five times bigger. It’s just a case of whether those two [Fury and Wilder] will ever get in the ring,” Hearn said.

Hearn is wrong about Joshua still not being in his prime. Joshua is about to turn 29, and he’s clearly in his prime of his career. Believe me; this is as good as it gets for Joshua, especially with the soft match-making Hearn is doing for him by throwing him in with soft opposition. The injury stage of Joshua’s career is just around the corner. Right now, Joshua is in his prime, but I see him starting to decline in a year or two. It’ll be a gradual decline at first, but then it’ll start speeding up once the injuries kick in.

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