Hearn worried Joshua-Wilder fight could be ruined if one or both lose
By Jeff Aranow: Eddie Hearn admits that he’s at the end of his rope with him being 100 percent frustrated at his inability to setup a championship fight between heavyweight champions Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder for all the belts.
Hearn worries that the longer they wait to make this great match-up happen, the more likely that one or both will suffer their first career defeat, and that would forever ruin what could have been a big unification contest between Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) and Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs).
It’s tough for Hearn to not get his way. With the exclusive deal that Matchroom Boxing has with Sky Sports in the UK, it’s led to an avalanche of the best British fighters coming to his promotional company, including 2012 Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist Joshua. Branching over to the U.S to work with DAZN, Hearn has continued to have incredible success in luring top fighters to his promotional company. But in the case of Wilder, Hearn has failed to get him to sign for fights against his Matchroom sport stable fighters Joshua and Dillian Whyte, and it clearly bothers him a great deal. Instead of staying patient and realizing the Wilder fight would happen eventually, Hearn has let it bother him. This obviously ties into Hearn having gotten things his own way for so long.
“Make it now,” Hearn said to skysports.com in talking about the Joshua vs. Wilder fight. “If Breazeale were to beat Wilder, if Miller was to beat AJ, we lose the biggest fight in world boxing, so hopefully everybody can keep winning.”
Wilder is defending his WBC title against Dominic Breazeale on May 18 in a fight that some feel is a match that could go either way. Joshua is fighting unbeaten Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller (23-0-1, 20 KOs) on June 1. Although Joshua is seen as a big favorite to win that fight, a knockout loss is a possibility if the 315 lb Miller can force into a fast pace that wears him down. Joshua gassed out against Dillian Whyte and Wladimir Klitschko. Whyte suffered a shoulder injury, and was unable to take advantage of Joshua fading. For his part, Wladimir looked like he was too cautious to go after Joshua after knocking him down in the sixth round two years ago.
With Wilder now about to re-sign with Showtime boxing for a big money 3-fight deal, he’s going to be wanting to fight Joshua. Given the money that Showtime is about to invest in Wilder’s career, which is said to be over $100 million+, they’re going to want value for their money. The best fight that can be made for Wilder is Joshua. The next biggest fight for Wilder is a rematch with Tyson Fury. Wilder’s co-manager Shelly Finkel is in negotiations with Fury’s management for a rematch. Even if Wilder loses his fight against Breazeale on May 18, the rematch against Fury will still get made. Breazeale doesn’t have to give Wilder a rematch due to him being the mandatory challenger. Under that scenario, it’s very likely that Breazeale will move on and face Joshua in a unification rather than give Wilder a rematch. There’s lots of money for Breazeale to get fighting Joshua in a unification. Hearn will be happy, because Joshua will get a chance to win the last remaining title not in his possession at heavyweight in the World Boxing Council. However, Joshua’s popularity won’t necessarily increase just by him grabbing the last title at heavyweight. The casual fans don’t keep track of all the deals about a fighter having all the titles. The fans only care about is seeing great fights, and watching fighters that are taking on the best and perceived as the best.
“It’s extremely frustrating, but like I said, it looks clear now what those big three are doing this summer, and it’s our responsibility, and I hope they understand their responsibility to give the fight fans what they want, which is the biggest fight in world boxing, hopefully at the end of the year,” Hearn said.
Hearn won’t need to worry too much longer about the Joshua vs. Wilder fight. It’s obviously frustrating for Hearn right now, but the big contract that Wilder is about to receive with Showtime is going to make it imperative that he make the fight with Joshua. Wilder will be receiving too much money for him to be making a lot of voluntary defenses against obscure opposition that the fans have never heard of, and don’t care about. Joshua and Fury are the only game in town. Wilder is still in the zenith of his career right now, and this is obviously the best time for him to fight Joshua and Fury. If Wilder waits until he’s 35 or 36, it might be tougher for him to win. Joshua is still only 29, and Fury is a just a little older at 30. Now that Fury has taken a lot of weight, he looks very youthful, like someone in his mid-20s rather than a 30-year-old.
Hearn was hoping that DAZN would sign Wilder, and then it would be a forgone conclusion that the Joshua fight would take place later this year. It would be part of the $120 million 3-fight contract. There’s only the big three – Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua – in the heavyweight division. All the rest of the guys are irrelevant as far as the boxing public go. They want to see those three guys battle it out, and you can believe that the head honchos at Showtime Boxing are going to want to see Wilder fight them Joshua and Fury as well.
Wilder would be smart to let the Joshua fight marinate for another two years if he can keep winning that long. There will be more money two years from now in a Wilder vs. Joshua fight than there will be if they face each other this year. Wilder would need to win one or two tough fights to let it marinate. The only guys Wilder will need to worry about are fights with Tyson Fury, Dillian Whyte, Adam Kownacki and Joe Joyce. If Wilder lets the Joshua fight marinate until 2021, he would need to fight those type of heavyweight to get the most mileage/money out of a unification fight against Joshua in two years from now.