Wilder predicts U.S fans will reject Joshua vs. Miller fight
By Scott Gilfoid: Deontay Wilder is predicting a less than favorable reaction from the U.S boxing fans for heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua’s fight on June 1 against Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller in the United States. This is Joshua’s debut in the U.S, and it’s important that he makes a big splash against the 315 pound Miller. Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) will be defending his IBF, IBO, WBA an WBO titles against Miller (23-0-1, 20 KOs at Madison Square Garden in New York.
While Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn is gleefully predicting that the U.S boxing fans are absolutely going to love AJ, Wilder sees the Joshua-Miller fight being rejected by the American boxing fans. Wilder points out that even Miller, 30, isn’t well known in the U.S, and he’s not even popular in his home city of New York. Moreover, Joshua isn’t known in the U.S either, Wilder says. As such, Wilder sees the Joshua vs. Miller fight being given the cold shoulder by the American boxing fans. The casual ones won’t know who Joshua or Miller are, and the hardcore fans will view it as a mismatch and pass it up in Wilder’s view.
“He’s going to take over the U.S,” Hearn said to IFL TV in predicting that Joshua will be loved by the American boxing fans once they see him against ‘Big Baby’ Miller on June 1.
It sounds almost like a pipe dream for Hearn with his prediction of how the U.S boxing fans will react to the Joshua vs. Miller fight. It’s quite possible that Hearn could be right, but it might take a lot more more marketing than what they currently have planned. As far as Gilfoid can tell, the Joshua-Miller news tour will be limited to New York and London in the UK. This isn’t going to be a huge 11-city, two country tour with Joshua and Miller. If the fight had that kind of a promotional strategy, then you could say that the reach of the fight would be huge. The casual boxing fans in the U.S would hear about the Joshua-Miller fight on DAZN. But with the press conferences only taking place in New York, it’s hard to see the U.S casual fans hearing about it. But perhaps Hearn has something up his sleeves to get more fans in the America to find out about it. If Hearn put Joshua and Miller on a big bus, and drove it through all the major cities in the U.S like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, San Antonio, Phoenix, Chicago, and San Diego, the Joshua vs. Miller fight would get a heck of a lot more attention. With the news conference only taking place in New York, the fight might not do as well as Hearn is hoping.
“Jarrell is still an unknown fighter here in America,” Wilder said to Talksport.com. “Jarrell is from Brooklyn and stuff like that, but they don’t even know him in his own city. He’s not a name that’s been developed in the market here so for me I don’t think it’s gonna be a great look for him because even Anthony’s not that known here in America,” Wilder said.
It’s clearly early in the game for Joshua to be fighting Miller, who just now starting to fight recognizable names in the heavyweight division.
If you look at Miller’s 10-year pro resume, these are the only names that stand out:
– Tomasz Adamek [42-years-old]
– Mariusz Wach [39-years-old]
– Gerald Washington [36-years-old]
– Johann Duhaupas [38-years-old]
– Fred Kassi [39-years-old]
It’s pretty obvious from looking at Miller’s best opposition that he’s faced during his career, that he’s been matched with care by his promoters. He’s not been facing the best, which is why Miller isn’t a household name at this time in America. For Joshua-Miller to be the huge fight that Hearn thinks it’s going to be, Miller would have needed to have a lot better fighters during his career than the woeful opposition that he’s been facing. It’s possible that Miller would succeed if he had fought better guys during his 10-year pro career, but we can’t know that because he hasn’t done it.
These are the fighters that Miller SHOULD have fought for him to be the popular guy that Hearn needs him to be to bring Joshua attention on June 1:
– Adam Kownacki
– Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz
– Kubrat Pulev
– Joe Joyce
– Dillian Whyte
– Deontay Wilder
– Alexander Povetkin
– Dominic Breazeale
– Oscar Rivas
– Tony Yoka
– Tyson Fury
– Dereck Chisora
– Sergey Kuzmin
– Robert Helenius
– Joseph Parker
– Andy Ruiz
– Christian Hammer
– Bryant Jennings
Miller hasn’t fought any of those guys, and that obviously has impacted his popularity in the U.S. You can be unbeaten in the U.S, and still not have a fan base. Unfortunately, there are promoters who like to match their fighters weakly to build up fluff records in order to impress boxing fans. That kind of match-making works for the promoters to get their fighters ranked high enough for them to get title shots. The downside of weak match-making is the fighters fail to win over a large fans base with the casual and hardcore boxing fans. You can argue that’s what Miller’s problem is. Miller has been spoon fed fodder opposition by Hearn and his the promoter to keep him unbeaten, but it’s kept him from becoming popular. Miller is now about to challenge for a world title against Joshua without ever having faced anyone talented before, and the result of that could be less than huge ratings for the Joshua-Miller fight on DAZN. That’s not to say that Miller can’t win the fight. Joshua has horrible stamina, and his punch resistance is weak. If Miller pushes a fast enough pace, he could cause Joshua to boil over and be left on the side of the road on June 1. It’s the old philosophical question when it comes to the the attention the Joshua vs. Miller fight gets from American boxing fans. “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” If no one hears about the Joshua-Miller fight due to the lack of popularity of the two fighters, the fight will be ignored by Americans, who have busy lives.
Wilder says that even the American boxing fans that are familiar with Joshua were put off with him rejecting the $50 million offer that was given to him for a fight with him. They’ve heard of the $15 million flat fee that Hearn offered Wilder for the Joshua fight, and they think that AJ doesn’t truly want the fight with him.
Hearn had been planning on having Joshua defend his titles on April 13 at Wembley Stadium in London, England. Hearn needed a big name for Joshua to fight to fill that huge stadium. When Hearn failed to get Whyte, Wilder and Tyson Fury to agree to the offers that he made to them, he had no other choice but to negotiate a fight with the unbeaten Matchroom co-promoted Miller (23-0-1, 20 KOs) to face Joshua on June 1 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Miller isn’t near popular enough in the UK for Joshua to sellout Wembley Stadium. It was too much of a low level fight for Hearn to place Joshua vs. Miller at Wembley. Hearn could have been stubborn about it and still had Joshua fight on April 13 at Wembley, but the crowd would likely be far less than the 90,000 seat stadium holds. You never know though. 70,000 boxing fans showed up to see Joshua fight WBO champion Joseph Parker last March at the Principality Stadium, in Cardiff, Wales. If that kind of crowd was willing to see Joshua face what many boxing fans felt was a paper champion in Parker, then it’s quite possible that an even larger crowd would have been willing to see AJ fight the 315 pound Miller at Wembley Stadium.
“They’re going to see the best heavyweight in the world, and they’re going to see a great fighter,” Hearn said. “Big Baby is going to try and take his world championship in his own backyard.”
Oh boy, Hearn sounds like he’s convinced that the American fans are going to love what they see of Joshua. If the Joshua-Miller fight fails to bring in the subscribers on DAZN like Hearn hopes it’ll be, then this is going to be a real disaster for him. Joshua’s previous fight against Alexander Povetkin is said to have brought in low ratings on DAZN last September. Of course, Povetkin, 39, isn’t an American, and the fight took place outside of the U.S at Wembley Stadium. Povetkin is arguably a better heavyweight than Miller, and he might be better known than