Hearn discusses Wladimir Klitschko’s rumored $60 million offer by DAZN
By Mike Williams: Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn chimed in on the rumors of former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko being given a huge $60 million offer to sign with DAZN to come out of retirement for a big world title fight. Hearn revealed there have been some talks, but nothing is imminent at the moment for the 42-year-old Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs), who has fought only once in the last four years.
DAZN offering $60 million to an inactive Klitschko, if true, would be an absurd about of money for a past his prime fighter. Wladimir’s last victory came four years ago when he defeated Bryant Jennings by a 12 round unanimous decision in April 2015.
“I think Klitschko’s had a couple of exploratory chats with people. Again, I don’t think there’s much movement or nothing’s imminent, but that’s the business of Wladimir Klitschko,” Hearn said to Fighthub in appearing not to want to get involved in talking about the negotiations between Klitschko and DAZN.
Part of the rumor floating around is DAZN wants to sign Wladimir, 42, and then match him against WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder. However, to make that fight happen, DAZN would need to throw a lot of money at Wilder to get him to take the fight. Wilder has already said he’s not interested in fighting Klitschko unless he makes a comeback and gets a couple of good wins under his belt Wilder isn’t going to just give Wladimir a title shot with him climbing off the couch to take the fight after two years out of the ring. Some heavyweight champions would likely gladly give Wladimir an immediately title shot after a 2 year layoff. Anthony Joshua already did that in 2017 in fighting Wladimir with him coming off of a two year break after having lost to Tyson Fury in 2015.
“I think it’s always going to be tempting for a heavyweight of the past to return when he sees how big and active the division is right now,” Hearn said in trying to figure out why the 42-year-old Klitschko might be considering a comeback after two years out of the ring. “One of Klitschko’s problems is that for all those years, he never really had the dance partners. Now they are out there. And I’m sure he’s tempted everyday to return. Whether he does or not, time will tell.”
Hearn offered Wladimir a big money rematch with IBF/WBA hevyweight champion Anthony Joshua in 2017, but he chose to retire rather than take the fight. But with DAZN giving big money to Saul Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin, and offering Deontay Wilder a rumored $100 million, it’s got to be hard for someone like Wladimir to resist making a comeback to take advantage of the money he can make. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Klitschko’s net worth is estimated at $60 million as of 2019. If Wladimir were to sign a $60 million deal with DAZN, he could greatly add to his fortune in a hurry without having to fight a long time.
There are three huge fights for Wladimir if he does decide to return to accept the $60 million deal by DAZN and they are as follows:
– Anthony Joshua
– Tyson Fury
– Deontay Wilder
It’s unclear whether Wladimir would make more money taking those fights on pay-per-view than he would if he were to agree to a $60 million deal with DAZN. If Wladimir lost his first fight of his comeback against Wilder, for example, you would have to imagine that fan interest would steadily decrease to the point where it would only be a small amount of die-hard boxing hardcore fanatics that would be interested in seeing the second and third fights of a three-fight contract with DAZN, if the streaming platform were to give the 42-year-old Ukrainian star a contract. It’s all well and good if Wladimir destroys Wilder, and then defeats Joshua or Fury in his second fight. The interest for the third fight against Joshua, Fury or Wilder would be tremendous. Unfortunately, Wladimir’s age, inactivity, and chin problems would make it highly unlikely that he’ll beat any of those three popular heavyweights in his first fight of his comeback. It’s DAZN that would be taking the risk in signing Wladimir. It’s too risky for Wladimir to take a tune-up fight against a decent heavyweight before facing Fury, Wilder or Joshua Besides, if DAZN is going to give Wladimir $60 million for a three-fight deal, they would likely want to get their money’s worth in having all three of the fights be against opposition that will bring in the subscribers to the internet streaming company. A tune-up for Wladimir against an unknown fighter or one of the bottom fringe contenders probably won’t do much to create fan interest for them to pay $20 to subscribe to see him fight. Wladimir never was popular in the United States, and his inactivity and his lack of success in his last two fights will likely result in few casual and hardcore boxing fans wanting to subcribe to DAZN in order to see him fight, be it against Fury, Wilder or Joshua.
Joshua, 29, is in a position where he fights on DAZN, but he has no one to compete against on that steaming platform. The only other two popular heavyweights that U.S boxing fans are familiar with, Wilder and Fury, fight for different networks. Fury is with Top Rank and fights on ESPN. Wilder is with Premier Boxing Champions and fights on Showtime. Although it’s still possible to arrange for fights between Joshua and Fury or Wilder, it’s not doable with Hearn unwilling to give those two the purse split that they’re looking for before they’ll sign for that fight. If DAZN can sign Wladimir, they can match him – or at least try to match him – against Joshua, Fury and Wilder. There’s a lot of potential subscribers that can be brought into DAZN if they sign the 1996 Olympic gold medalist Klitschko.
“He’s up there. He’s top five, yeah, for sure. But he hasn’t boxed for, what, nearly three years. So, we’ll see,” Hearn said.