Holyfield says Wilder deserves 50-50 split with Joshua
By Scott Gilfoid: As far as Evander Holyfield is concerned, WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder deserves a 50-50 purse split for a fight against IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. The fight has been held up because Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn is only willing to give Wilder a flat fee of $15 million for a fight that could ultimately pull in $100M.
That comes out to an 85-15 split in AJ’s favor. Wilder says he’s not interested in Hearn’s flat fee. He wants a 50-50 split. Hearn has been unwilling to budge from the same $15 million flat fee that he offered Wilder to face Joshua in September. Hearn says if Wilder wants to fight Joshua in his next fight on April 13, then the same $15 million flat fee is still on the table.
Hearn even sent Wilder the contract with the $15 million flat fee written in. Hearn wants Wilder to sign the contract and send it back to him. If Wilder doesn’t sign it, Hearn will pick from Dillian Whyte and Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller for Joshua’s opponent on April 13. Hearn promotes Whyte and Miller.
“With Deontay, he got quicker hands,” Holyfield said to Fighthub in discussing how Wilder is faster than Joshua. “He’s got the one-two, and that’s all it takes. With all great fighters that were 6’7”, all it took was a 1-2, because you had enough power to get them out of there. The more physical fighter is going to be Deontay. Right now, I think it’s a 50-50 fight. Their styles are so different. If one of them fights the wrong fight, they’re going to get tore up,” Holyfield said.
Joshua and Hearn might be thinking that if they wait long enough to age Wilder, he’ll lose some of his hand speed and he’ll slow enough for his shots to be seen better. Right now, Wilder is still too quick for Joshua. All it takes is one big shot from Wilder that Joshua doesn’t see to lay him out flat. The referee could count to 100 and Joshua still wouldn’t get up from a knockdown by Wilder if he lands cleanly. A long count wouldn’t save Joshua if Wilder hits him with one of his right hands.
For that reason, you can argue that Hearn and Joshua are trying to age Wilder in hopes that his hand speed will deteriorate enough for his punches to be seen. Joshua is a slow fighter, who gets by with his size and power. He pushes his punches due to his slow hand speed. Joshua’s game won’t be impacted nearly as much as he ages compared to Wilder, who is one of those guys that has a lot of fast twitch fiber in his muscles. As such, Hearn and Joshua might wait Wilder out until he starts showing a lot of hand speed in three to five years before they eventually decide to fight him.
”Deontay was a champion first, so why wouldn’t it be a 50-50 [purse split]. Deontay, he was the champion first. He fought all the people they asked him to fight,” Holyfield said.
Hearn thinks that it matters that Joshua holds more titles than Wilder when it comes to deciding the purse split. Unfortunately, that’s not how it’s seen by boxing fans. The WBC belt is by far the most prestigious of the heavyweight titles in the division. The other belts are more secondary trinkets that have never had the same prestige in the eyes of many fans. As such, it doesn’t matter if Joshua holds the arguably lesser titles, because the WBC belt one is the long recognized title that a lot of fans as seeing the true world class title.
Wilder has faced the better opposition than Joshua with his recent win over Luis Ortiz. Joshua’s best win of his career was against an old, shot and ring rusty 41-year-old Wladimir Klitschko last year. Joshua would have lost that fight if not for Wladimir’s poor decision-making in deciding that he didn’t need to go for the KO after he had Joshua tired and wobbling around the ring after he knocked him down in the
6th. Against any other heavyweight that had him in a similar state, Joshua would have been knocked out. Only against an indecisive heavyweight like Wladimir could he survive to keep from getting knocked out.
Officially, Joshua says he’s eager to fight Wilder on April 13, but his actions suggest otherwise. Joshua is stuck on the same $15 million flat fee offer that Hearn has offered Wilder, and he’s not interested in sweetening the offer by bumping it up to $50 million to make it potentially a 50-50 fight. I mean, if the fight is going to bring in $100 million+, it doesn’t make a whole heck of a lot of sense for Joshua and Hearn to be offering Wilder a $15 million flat fee, does it? The best way for Hearn and Joshua to ensure that Wilder puts his signature on a contract for April 13 is for them to give him the 50-50 percentage deal that he’s been asking for. As long as Hearn and Joshua stubbornly stick to the $15 million offer that they’ve been offering Wilder, the fight isn’t going to get done. Wilder knows his worth, and he’s not about to sign the fight when he’s going to be getting a tiny fraction of the money that Joshua pulls in. If the fight is going to bring in $100 million or more, why would Wilder ever agree to a flat fee of $15 million?
If Joshua looks bad and/or loses to Alexander Povetkin this Saturday night in their fight at Wembley Stadium, then that’s going to weaken his and Hearn’s argument that Wilder only rates a $15 million flat fee for a fight against AJ. Likewise, if/when Wilder knocks out Tyson Fury in their planned fight for December, his popularity is going to shoot through the roof with the boxing public clamoring to see him and Joshua get it on. Joshua and Hearn will be lucky if they can get Wilder to agree to even a 50-50 purse split at that point. He might want an even bigger split because he’ll be the man after he defeats Fury.