Wilder met with DAZN, Joshua fight possible
By Jim Dower: WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and his management team, Al Haymon, Lou DiBella, and Shelly Finkel met with DAZN Executive Chairman John Skipper on Tuesday to put together a deal for wilder to fight on the streaming giant for a potential match later this year against IBF/WBA/WBO champion Anthony Joshua in the fall, according to ESPN.
If Wilder signs with DAZN, then we could see the unification match that boxing fans have been eager to watch for the last two years finally happen. It’s still too early to know whether DAZN will be able to sign Wilder, who will be looking to get the best possible deal. The negotiations will likely take some time before a deal is reached, if one can be.
If Wilder follows middleweight stars Saul Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin over to DAZN, he could get a get a huge lucrative contract over a period of years. Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KO) has been fighting for Premier Boxing Champions on SHOWTIME, and he seems to be happy with them. However, he’s not made the huge money that Canelo has made with his pay-per-view fights on HBO, and he’d obviously like to get enjoy a big contract with DAZN that rivals his.
“We did (meet) but nothing was resolved and internally we are going to continue to talk about it and then we will get back to them, but it went well,” Finkel said to ESPN.com.
Canelo recently signed a big 11-fight, 5-year, $365 million deal with DAZN. GGG also signed nine-figure, a six-fight deal for three years for an undisclosed sum. Whether Wilder would be given similar money as Canelo and GGG is the big question.
Canelo and Triple G are expected to face each other in a trilogy fight on DAZN this September. If DAZN can sign Wilder, then that fight could take place towards the end of the year too, and it would result in a huge surge of subscriptions for the streaming company. DAZN would have monstrous fights between GGG and Canelo, and Wilder and Joshua at the tail end of the year. It would be huge. GGG will be fighting one fight before he faces Canelo in a rematch this September. Wilder will be defending his WBC title next against his mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale in a fight that will take place possibly in the summer. Joshua will be defending his IBF/WBA/WBO titles against Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller on June 1 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Joshua will need to win that fight to stay in the hunt for a unification match against Wilder.
Skipper was on hand at the news conference with GGG this Monday to officially announce the signing of Golovkin to DAZN. Skipper isn’t saying anything about the status of his talks with the 32-year-old Wilder, according to ESPN.
With the signing of Golovkin, Canelo, Jacobs and a number of other fighters, it’s unclear when DAZN will be tapped out in terms of the money that they’re signing these guys for. The boxing fans wonder whether DAZN will be able to afford the expensive contracts they’ve give to these fighters if the subscribers don’t start coming in. Canelo and GGG are guys that will likely result in a lot of new subscribers to DAZN, but it’s unclear whether Wilder is a big enough name to bring people in as well.
Deontay is with Premier Boxing champions, and fights on SHOWTIME. Wilder surprised fans recently when he revealed that he’s a promotional free agent, and can fight for any network. Top Rank Boxing reportedly gave Wilder $12.5 million offer. Fury signed with Top Rank, and now he’s out of the picture for a rematch with Wilder.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing was hoping to sign Wilder, but he has his co-managers weren’t interested in meeting with him for the negotiations. Instead they went straight to the course in meeting with DAZN executive chairman Skipper. They weren’t going to use Hearn as the middle man to get the negotiations done. Wilder didn’t have any confidence in Hearn that he would be able to get the contract negotiated. Hearn is optimistic that they’re going to be able to get the Joshua vs. Wilder fight made in 2019, as long as Wilder signs with DAZN. Hearn has confidence that Skipper will be able to put the deal together with Wilder. Hearn failed to get Wilder and his team to negotiate with him, as some bridges were burned in the past, according to Wilder. Hearn feels that Skipper will be able to put a deal together with Wilder. Skipper succeeded in signing Canelo and Golovkin, which was obviously not an easy task for him to do, but he still did it.
Wilder’s title defense against mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale (20-1, 18 KOs) is expected to take place on SHOWTIME pay-per-view on May 18 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The reason Wilder vs. Breazeale is on SHOWTIME pay-per-view is because Wilder was offered $12.5 million from Top Rank recently, which he turned down. For Wilder to fight for less than that on regular SHOWTIME against Breazeale would have been a backwards move for him. By Showtime putting the Wilder-Breazeale fight on pay-per-view, it gives Wilder a chance to make the same kind of money he would have gotten had he signed with Top Rank. If Wilder signs with DAZN, then his fight with Breazeale will be on the streaming service rather than on Showtime PPV. That would be a good thing for boxing fans, many of which have already started complaining at the news of the Wilder-Breazeale fight taking place on PPV. The fans don’t want to pay big money to see Wilder fight Breazeale, as they don’t see that as a PPV worthy fight.
It’s important that DAZN have Wilder signed for at least long enough to stream the fight between him and Joshua. If Wilder wins that fight, he would be an ideal candidate for a longer contract with DAZN. However, it would be risky signing Wilder to a long contract, because he might crumble if he’s asked to fight Joshua, Dillian Whyte and some of the other quality heavyweights. Although Wilder has held his WBC title for four years since capturing the belt in 2015, he’s only faced one dangerous heavyweight along the way in Luis Ortiz, and he was was 39-years-old. What happens when Wilder gets inside the ring with Joshua is hard to know. Wilder could fall apart, and it wouldn’t surprise anyone.
The U.S boxing fans would be more interested in seeing Wilder and Joshua fight each other than watching a rematch between Wilder and Tyson Fury, which fail to produce fireworks. Joshua comes to fight, and he would be it an interesting match from start to finish against Wilder. Fury isn’t as willing to stand and fight as Joshua. The average American boxing fan would likely much prefer to see Wilder and Joshua square off in a unification fight than see a rematch with Wilder and Fury.