Lennox Lewis says Joshua doesn’t want Wilder fight
By Scott Gilfoid: Former heavyweight world champion Lennox Lewis says Anthony Joshua doesn’t want to face unbeaten WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder. What makes it painfully obvious to Lewis that Joshua just doesn’t fancy the fight with the 6’7” lightning quick Deontay is the $50 million offer that he turned down from Team Wilder.
Lewis says that if he were offered that kind of cash for a fight during his career, he would have taken it straightaway. Joshua’s rejection of all that sweet cash gives a clear indication of where his mind is at when it comes to taking a fight against Wilder. Turning down that kind of money gives one the indication that Joshua is terrified of facing Wilder and losing.
After studying the situation, Lewis has concluded that Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) isn’t daring himself to be great by taking the fight with the talented Deontay. There seems to be a failure in desire to want to succeed on Joshua’s part. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn seems to have become an enabler in coming up with excuses for why AJ doesn’t need to face Wilder by saying that he’s not agreeing to the $15 million flat fee offer for a fight on April 13. The offer is viewed by many boxing fans as embarrassingly low for a fight that could bring in $100 million.
”It is clear Joshua doesn’t want the fight. He explained to me all the difficulties he is having with Anthony and Eddie, of how AJ is listening to Hearn,” Lewis said to the dailymail.co.uk ”Deontay most definitely wants this fight more than any fight.”
So there it is. Lewis says Joshua doesn’t want the fight with Wilder. I’ve been saying this all along. Wilder has been chasing Joshua for the past three years without any luck. It’s now completely forlorn. I hate to say it but I totally agree with Mr. Lewis. Joshua hasn’t shown the desire to want to test himself against Wilder to find out which of the two is the king of the heavyweight division. Yeah, Joshua has been blabbering a lot about wanting to fight Wilder, but when push comes to shove, he’s failed to take the fight. Instead of telling Hearn to make the fight with Deontay at whatever price that it takes to get the fight done, Joshua has been standing behind his promoter with the $15 million flat fee offer that he’s given Wilder, saying that he won’t improve it. I mean, come on. If you want to make the biggest fight in boxing between the two best heavyweights in the division, you don’t let your promoter give your opponent a flat fee offer. That’s silly. Flat fee offers are made to the small fry opponents, not for arguably the best heavyweight in the division in Deontay. The $15 million flat fee offer that Hearn has made to Wilder is a sign that he doesn’t want to make the Joshua-Wilder fight. You can’t blame Hearn for not wanting to make the fight. If Joshua gets knocked cold by Wilder, the gravy train could come to a screeching halt. All that cash that Joshua is making in selling his mismatches on Sky Box Office and at Wembley Stadium could come to an abrupt end. Fans love backing a winner things going well, but when their heroes are exposed by better talents, they jump ship almost immediately and never come back. You can’t blame Hearn for being reluctant in putting Joshua in with Wilder, because there’s a very good chance that AJ will be knocked clean out. Since Joshua isn’t taking charge in pushing Hearn to make the fight with Wilder, it’s a strong sign that he doesn’t believe he can get the job done.
During Lewis’ career, he was never afraid to take on the talents in the heavyweight division. We saw Lewis face these lions without a bat of the eye:
Donovan ‘Razor’ Ruddock
Mike ‘Hercules’ Weaver
Lewis wasn’t afraid to take on the best during his career. He didn’t care if he would potentially lose. Lewis fought even when there was a chance he would lose, and sometimes he did get beaten. But at least he was willing to take the risks, which unfortunately we haven’t seen from Joshua. He’s been matched in a way by his promoter Hearn that has been risk aversive. When Joshua did face Wladimir Klitschko, it was when the Ukrainian was 41-years-old and coming off of a two-year layoff from the sport. Joshua didn’t fight Wladimir when he was still active and in his prime in 2013 or 2014. Joshua was matched against Wladimir when he was coming off of a long layoff and one of his worst career defeats in a 12 round decision loss to Tyson Fury.
”Joshua said he would take $50m in a heartbeat but when that offer came he didn’t accept,” Lewis said. ”I would have taken fifty million quicker than a heartbeat and gone through with any fight. But I never ducked anyone.”
It’s too bad Lewis can’t give Joshua a boost of courage by giving him a pep talk to motivate him to face his fears and take the fight with Wilder. Even if Joshua gets knocked out straightaway, it’s not like his career will be over. Hearn can go back to feeding him soft touches on Sky Box Office. Joshua’s fans don’t seem to care who he fights, so they won’t all jump off the bandwagon when/if Deontay smashes him. A lot of the fans will still be there for Joshua. Look at Amir Khan’s situation. He was knocked clean out by Saul Canelo Alvarez two years ago in 2016. To rejuvenate Khan in the minds of his British boxing fans, all Hearn did was feed him journeyman Phil Lo Greco. Upon Khna knocking Lo Greco out in the 1st round, tons of his fans started talking about how they believe he can beat Errol Spence. The fans come back to see their heroes, and it doesn’t take much effort at all to rebuilt their brand in some cases. I think it would be the same with Joshua after he loses to Wilder. Sure, a massive amount of Joshua’s boxing fans will jump ship after that fight, but once Hearn starts feeding him easy marks like he’d been doing since he started his pro career in 2013, the fans will be back. Joshua hasn’t fought a good heavyweight yet, and the fans are completely on board with him, thinking he’s great.
If Hearn goes back to his old style of match-making for Joshua in putting him in with soft jobs, his boxing fans will slowly float back and start assuming he can beat Wilder in the rematch. I don’t think it would be the smartest thing for Hearn to throw Joshua back in the ring with Deontay if he’s knocked out by him in the first fight, but I think he would have to face him again if he wanted to bring his fans back. Lewis would surely face Wilder a second time if he was knocked out by him. You wouldn’t have to drag Lewis kicking and screaming into the ring with Wilder. Of course, Lewis would have already fought Wilder long ago if he was fighting in this era. Lewis wouldn’t have walked away from negotiations for a Wilder fight in order to take a lesser fight against Alexander Povetkin the way Joshua did. That’s the difference between Lewis and Joshua. Lewis was fearless, and his Olympic gold medal in the 1988 for Canada wasn’t controversial like Joshua’s 2012 Olympic gold medal. We’re talking about two different types of heavyweights, aren’t we? It’s too bad Joshua can’t follow Lewis’ lead and be more like him, but oh well.