Joshua will need to give Wilder & Fury a 50-50 split says Davison
By Scott Gilfoid: Trainer Ben Davison says Anthony Joshua and his management team are going to need give Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury a 50-50 deal if they want to make either of those fights happen. Davison, who trains former IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs) says Joshua and his promoter are going to need to decide whether they want to look at the Fury and Wilder fights in terms of it being a business.
If Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn approach those fights from a business perspective, then they’ll get neither of them, according to Davison. Right now, it appears that Joshua and Hearn are completely focused on the business aspect of making the Wilder and Fury fights, which is why they’re not happening. Davison feels that Joshua could end his career missing out on the Wilder fight just like Lennox Lewis and Riddick Bowe retired without facing each other.
“Their [Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn and Anthony Joshua] problem in making the fight [with Deontay Wilder] is they’re looking at it too much as a business fight,” Davison said to IFL TV about the Joshua vs. Wilder unification fight. “It depends on what your goal is. If your goal is to make as much money as possible, then yeah, negotiate it out, fight to the death over the last few percent, whatever it is. In my eyes, if you want to make the fight, it’s 50-50, if two champions are coming together. It’s 50-50 if you want to make that fight, because you will end up in a situation where we did with Lennox Lewis and Riddick Bowe. We may never see that fight,” Davison said.
In a perfect world, Hearn and Joshua would view the Wilder fight in terms of it being a fight that needs to be made for the sport of boxing. If they saw him as a competitor in a fight that will show who the best heavyweight is in the division, then it would be a simple matter of giving Wilder the 50-50 deal that he’s asking for to make the fight happen. That’s not what’s happening though. Joshua and Hearn view the Wilder fight as a money thing, and they don’t believe he’s popular enough to share equally in the revenue a Joshua-Wilder fight would produce.
Hearn and Joshua both seem so focused on measuring the worth of Wilder in gauging what he brings to the table for the fight, and they don’t appear to value what he contributes to the fight enough to give him even a percentage deal. That’s why Hearn keeps banging on about giving Wilder flat fees. He doesn’t see him as being worthy of a percentage deal. It’s believed that Hearn is finally ready to offer Wilder a percentage deal, but it’s along the lines of 70-30 in Joshua’s favor. Giving Wilder 30 percent means that Hearn doesn’t even value him enough to give him the 33% that Joseph Parker is said to have gotten for the Joshua fight last March.
“I believe Joshua wants that [Wilder] fight, but I believe his team’s views will say to him, ‘Okay, this is what you’re worth, and this is what Wilder’s worth. If this fight generates this, you should earn this amount.’ Okay, is it just business to you, because if it is, no problem. You may never get the fight,” Davison said. “It’s about credibility and status. If he [Joshua] wants a fight against the other two [Wilder and Tyson Fury], it’s going to have to be 50-50, because neither of them are going to take it. No one wants to give an inch. It might be different if he were making Floyd Mayweather money. He [Joshua] doesn’t make Floyd Mayweather money. If he [Joshua] wants to make that fight [against Wilder], it’s 50-50. He [Joshua] needs to stop looking at this like a business, and stop arguing out percentages, this man’s worth and that man’s worth,” Davison said.
What Davison says makes a lot of sense. He obviously has a good head on his shoulders, and would arguably be a better promoter than Hearn and other guys in that line of work. Hearn’s hard stance about Wilder not deserving a 50-50 deal will make it all but impossible for the Joshua vs. Wilder fight to take place during the most important point of each of their careers, which is right now while both of them are still undefeated.
The Joshua vs. Wilder fight will obviously happen when something changed in negative sense in the careers of one or both of them. After Joshua or Wilder gets beaten once or twice by other heavyweights, then the two of them will finally be able to negotiate a fight between them. There just won’t be as much interest from the boxing public as there is now. It would be similar to the Amir Khan vs. Kell Brook fight. If that match-up had taken place back in 2011 before Khan was beaten by Lamont Peterson and Brook was knocked out in consecutive fights to Gennady Golovkin and Errol Spence, Khan-Brook would likely be a bigger fight than it would be if the two of them face each other in March or April 2019.
“His [Joshua] biggest payday is with them [Wilder and Fury] two. Let the fans get what the fans want. That’s how I see it. It depends on how they want it,” Davison said.
What the boxing public doesn’t know is if Joshua really wants to fight Wilder and Fury. If Joshua’s real goal is to milk his IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight titles against old timers like Alexander Povetkin and against the weak opposition that Hearn has been bringing in for him to mow down, then it makes sense for AJ to continue to have his promoter Eddie give low ball offers to Wilder. If Joshua doesn’t want a fight with Wilder, there’s an easy way to avoid it by giving him flat fee offers and low percentage rate deals that he’ll never agree to while he’s still holding the World Boxing Council heavyweight title.
Again, this could change once Wilder or Joshua lose to someone else. But for the time being, the fight isn’t being made, and that’s a disappointing to the boxing world. The British boxing fans might want to see Joshua fight Dillian Whyte three or four times, but the U.S fans have zero interest in seeing that fight. Joshua’s recent fight against Povetkin was said to have done poor numbers in the U.S.
If Joshua can’t pull in good ratings for his fights being piped into the U.S against the likes of Povetkin, then you would have to believe that the interest from American boxing fans in seeing Joshua vs. Whyte 2 would be nil. That’s a fight that would interest no one aside from the most hardcore fans. Hearn wants Joshua to fight Whyte, so it’s going to happen. After that, you can bet that Hearn will come up with an excuse to match Joshua against another one of his Matchroom Boxing stable fighters in Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller, and that’s if there isn’t an immediate trilogy fight between AJ and Dillian.
You really can’t rule out Hearn continuing to peddle the Joshua vs. Whyte fight to the UK public, because he promotes both of those guys, and he would have only his hands on the levers of the promotion for the fight. It’s a win-win for Hearn to keep trotting Whyte out for in house fights against Joshua until the UK boxing public are physically sick from seeing those two matched against each other. Once that happens, Miler will likely be the next one that Hearn throws in with Joshua three or four times. Hearn promotes Miller, so it’s more Matchroom Boxing in house fights for him.
“In our situation in the rematch [with Wilder], we have to weigh up risk and reward,” Davison said in talking about the Wilder vs. Fury 2 rematch. “The reward has to match the risk. We feel we’ve been done unjustly, so for that to happen, it’s going to have to be big risk, so it has to be a big reward. So if he’s going to see it again, one [Wilder] can’t have more and the other [Fury] less. Obviously, there’s the potential of a rematch, but the difference is they need a rematch for their team, because he’s [Wilder] not looked on as a champion. His credibility as a champion has dropped, because a high percentage of people thought Tyson won the fight,” Davison said.
It sounds like Davison is just babbling in an exercise of free association while on his back on a sofa. Fury isn’t calling the shots for a rematch with Wilder, because he’s not a world champion and he’s incredibly lucky that his fight with Wilder wasn’t waived off in the 12th round after he hit the deck hard. Fury was considered knocked out by Wilder in the twelfth round in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans, and that’s just the way it is. Fury’s stock dropped big time from the Wilder fight. It didn’t go up, that’s for sure. The only boxing fans that are excited about Fury’s performance against Wilder are the ones that didn’t realize that the fight would have and should have been halted in round 12 after he was dropped from a right-left combination from Wilder. It’s understood that most referees would have halted the fight if they saw Fury motionless on the canvas after getting knocked down by Wilder. This particular referee, Jack Reiss, that worked the Wilder-Fury fight gave the 6’9″ Tyson a big break by not halting the fight when he went down hard from a combination from Deontay.
“They need that fight to rebuild their credibility. Whether we want it [is uncertain], but they now need for us, because we know we won the fight, as a lot of people do,” Davison said about Wilder supposedly needing the Fury rematch to rebuild his credibility with the boxing public. “For us to go over there, it’s got to match the reward. If not, then we’re looking at it [Wilder vs. Fury rematch] potentially over here. If it’s over here, it needs to be a stadium fight,” Davison said.
You hate to say it, but Davison sounds like a poor sport. Wilder doesn’t need to reestablish his credibility. He’s the one that should have been given a knockout win in the 12th. He’s the one that should be celebrated now for coming on strong in the late rounds to KO Fury. With a different referee working the fight, Wilder would have been given a knockout win in the 12th, and he would be on top of the world right now for the way he rallied to stop Fury.
“I’d like to see Joshua-Wilder. It needs to happen,” Davison said. “I think it should be a good fight, as long as it lasts. Tyson [Fury] stepped up and did what he done. I think it’s time for Joshua to step up [and fight Wilder],” Davison said.
It is time for Joshua to step it up against Wilder, but what can you do? If Joshua and Hearn don’t feel that Wilder deserves a 50-50 deal, then the fight isn’t going to happen right now. Joshua needs to understand that it’s better for him to give Wilder 50 percent than it is for him to get nothing for not fighting him, and wind up facing guys that the boxing public has no interest in seeing him fight. There are plenty of fighters that the boxing public has no interest in seeing Joshua fight, but only two guys, Wilder and Fury, that they do want to see him compete against.
“They’ve not made contact with us about making a fight with us,” Davison said about Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn about negotiating a match with Tyson Fury. “I know he [Joshua] said today he wants to get his hands on the WBC [belt]. He wants the Wilder fight. I think the Dillian Whyte fight [for Joshua] is a great match-up, and I think Dillian Whyte deserves a world title shot. The public wants a great match-up. I think it’s time these two get it on,” Davison said about Wilder facing Joshua. “I’d like to see them get it on, and Tyson to box the winner. That fight [Joshua vs. Wilder] is more likely to happen than Joshua-Tyson,” Davison said.
The likely reason why Hearn hasn’t made contact with Fury for a fight with Joshua is that up until recently, he wasn’t too excited about making the fight between them. Fury looked flabby and unimpressive in his two comeback fights against Sefer Seferi and Francesco Pianeta. Hearn wasn’t impressed with Fury’s performances against either of those guys. Against Wilder, Fury looked decent until he got tired in the second half of the fight. That’s when he fell apart, got dropped twice, and was lucky not to be stopped. Hearn would probably try and make a fight with Fury right now, but he seems more interested in exhausting all the fights available for Joshua against his Matchroom fighters Dillian Whyte and Jarrell Miller first. Once Hearn has matched Joshua against Whyte and Miller enough to where the UK boxing fans are sick of seeing those fights, then he’ll turn his attention to Fury. Of course, that won’t help if Hearn isn’t willing to give Fury the 50-50 deal that he’ll be looking to get. If Hearn feels that Fury doesn’t deserve a 50-50 deal, then we’ll likely see Joshua facing guys like Kubrat Pulev, Adam Kownacki and Bryant Jennings once he’s exhausted all his fights with Miller and Whyte.
“I can’t make decisions for Tyson,” Davison said in talking about Fury’s next fight. “In my opinion, anything else [than a 50-50 split of the revenue]. I can tell you that for sure. I know Tyson never accepts anything less than that, and I think rightfully so. For sure,” Davison said.
Davison can’t negotiate fights for Fury, so he’s not one to ask about what kind of percentage he deserves and would get in a rematch with Wilder. Yeah, Fury can certainly ask for 50 percent of the loot until he’s blue in the face for a fight with Wilder, but it’s doubtful that he’s going to get it. Fury might get 50% of the money for a fight with Joshua though, as Hearn is chomping at the bit to make the Joshua-Fury fight, because it would be a huge fight in the UK. Hearn would obviously want Joshua to have 50% of the money for a Fury fight than he would in getting an 80-20 split for a fight with Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller. There’s much more money to be had in a Joshua vs. Fury fight than a Joshua-Miller match.
“Everybody knows what the outcome was,” Davison said about the Wilder vs. Fury fight. “At the end of the day, if you win a fight, you win a fight, and I see it, he [Fury] won the fight. People say it was two knockdowns, so it was four rounds [that Wilder won as a result of those two knockdowns, in addition to the other rounds he appeared to win]. It’s not four rounds. It was four points. It’s a massive difference. I cannot see five rounds being to Wilder,” Davison said.
Unfortunately for Fury, it wasn’t just the 9th and 12th rounds that he struggled against Wilder. Fury was out-slugged and outworked in five of the first six rounds. The shots landed between the two fighters were close in the first six rounds, but Wilder was landing the much harder blows. Fury was lucky to have won one round in the first six rounds of the fight. If you add those five rounds to the 9th and 12th rounds, Wilder deserved to win the fight. It’s a good thing for boxing fans that the fight was scored a 12 round draw, because they get to see Wilder and Fury do it again. But in looking at the fight, Wilder was the superior fighter of the two. Fury was landing a lot of weak punches, and being busy with a pesky jab. Fury was more of a nuisance to Wilder than a threat on the night. The outcome was clearly a win for Wilder if you look at the first six rounds, and then add in the knockdowns from rounds 9 and 12.
“He should get credit for not creating a riot in the ring,” Davison said about Fury, who played it low key after the results of the fight were announced that it was a 12 round split draw. “He conducted himself very professionally.”
When he talks about a potential riot taking place at the end of the Wilder-Fury fight, Davison might be forgetting where the Wilder vs. Fury fight took place. The took place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. If some of Fury’s boxing fans started rioting after the results of the fight were announced, they would have been outnumbered by Wilder’s boxing fans. It’s likely that Fury didn’t start bellyaching about the fight being ruled a 12 round is because he probably felt lucky that the match wasn’t waived off after he hit the deck in the 12th. Further, there aren’t too many fights where a challenger is knocked down twice by the champion, and then they’re given a win over the belt holder. It just doesn’t happen. As such, Fury needs to count his lucky starts that he wasn’t given a loss, because he clearly could have been with the way he fell apart in the championship rounds of the fight.
None of the heavyweights can live with,” Davison said about Fury, who he feels beats the top guys in the division when he’s at his best.
Obviously, the 6’7″ Deontay proved that he can live with Fury in their fight on December 1 when he had him knocked out in the 12th. If that’s not living with Fury, then I don’t what is. It’s interesting though that Davison isn’t touching on the fact that the Wilder-Fury fight would have easily been stopped had it a different referee and if it had perhaps taken place in a different part of the world. Would the referee that stopped the Joshua vs. Carlos Takam fight in the 10th round have given a count to Fury after he was dropped by Wilder in the 12th? You can argue that the referee might have even halted the fight in the ninth round when Fury first went down from one of Wilder’s big shots.