Did Eddie Hearn and DAZN play Deontay Wilder?

By Boxing News - 12/26/2019 - Comments

By Damian Poole: Ever since the WBC world champion Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder (43-0-1-41KOs) was offered $120 million for a 3-fight deal back in March by DAZN. I’ve had a suspicion that DAZN and Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing who promotes WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO Anthony “Two Times” Joshua (24-1-21 KOs) have been playing Deontay Wilder. And now with the recent news from Mike Coppinger that Wilder vs. Ortiz 2 sold 275K PPV, furthermore confirmed this notion of mine.

You are probably thinking to yourself, ‘what does DAZN and Eddie Hearn “playing” Deontay Wilder have to do with PPV sales?’ Well I shall elaborate my intrigued collective audience, but first we must go back to the past.

In 2015 to 2017, Deontay Wilder was fighting what some boxing fans like to categorise as “gatekeepers” with the likes of Eric Molina, Artur Szpilka, Gerald Washington and Bermane Stiverne to name a few. The Bronze Bomber’s average purse was around a $1.2 million give or take. For example, Wilder Earned $1.4 million for Eric Molina and $900K for Gerald Washington. Deontay Only started to earn larger purses when he stepped up his opponents such as Luis Ortiz, earning himself a reported $2.1 Million. As for the Tyson Fury fight, Wilder was guaranteed $4 million with some number suggesting it could be as high as $14 million but this was based on the presumption if the fight generated more than 1 million PPV’s

Fast forward to March 2019, DAZN approached Deontay Wilder and his team to make a 3 offer for $120 million. $20 for the Dominic Breazeale fight, $50 million to fight Anthony Joshua and another $50 million for the rematch. But Wilder elected to reject this offer and stay Loyal to Showtime. This was seen by some fans that Wilder was taking a gamble and betting on himself, to be honest. It had seemed to work as Showtime matched DAZN $20 million for the Breazeale fight. Showtime even announced the fight would not be a PPV bout, with Wilder echoing these sentiments when interviewed by the media.

“I didn’t feel like this fight was a pay-per-view fight,” said Wilder to ESPN.com. “It’s not a special fight, and it’s not a fight that you would miss your rent to go see.

For me, I don’t want people paying more than what they have to pay. I’m the peoples champion. And I’m not trying to take more than what is due to me. I’m not trying to gain an extra dollar,” said Wilder.

But unknown to Deontay Wilder this bold gamble and over generous offer by Showtime would set a dangerous precedent for the future negotiation that could not be sustained. Showtime made a massive loss on the Wilder – Breazeale fight with a peak audience of only 990,000 tuning in. With only 13,000 tickets sold out of 19,000. The loss in profit for showtime was further compounded by the fact it was not a PPV bout and with Wilders large purse there was no way this fight could have been seen as a financial success. I believe Showtime was gambling on getting the Wilder vs Joshua fight to make back the money they lost on the Wilder – Breazeale fight. But when Joshua lost to Andy Ruiz, Showtimes gamble back-fired and nearly bankrupted them in the process.


After the dramatic rise and fall of Showtime being a key player in the boxing scene, did Showtime president Stephen Espinoza feel he could no longer be able to sustain Wilder’s lavish $20 million purse? Nor could he see a healthy return in an investment for the Wilder- Ortiz rematch dubbed by some boxing fans as “The rematch no one asked for.”

It was later announced that FOX picked up the rights to host Wilder vs Ortiz 2, leaving Showtime without a heavyweight champion and any chance of hosting the worlds most anticipated/lucrative heavyweight fight between Britain’s Anthony Joshua and Americas Deontay Wilder. Now it was down to FOX to pick up the tab for Wilders expensive purse of a guaranteed $20 million and in the process, paying an extra $7 million for Luis Ortiz. But we will address Luis Ortiz purse later. The build-up to the rematch attracted big numbers with over a million people tuning in to see Wilder’s progress in the training camp. FOX was pulling out all the stops in promoting this rematch. One could say FOX really went to town in the advertising department. With a small group of loyal Wilders fans claiming his popularity increase proves Wilder is the new face of boxing, eclipsing Anthony Joshua.

Not long after the Bronze Bomber dispatched the now old and clearly past his prime Luis Ortiz, news reports came flooding in of poor gate sales and PPV numbers. According to boxing reports, Wilder only sold 7,400 seats from a capacity of 16,000. Generating only $4 million at the gate. Rick Glaser reported numbers as low as only 138,000 calling it a “Blood bath”. Though for me personally I find this number a little bit on the lower end of what I expected. But then again, in the past, Rick has been on the money when it comes to numbers and predictions. Dan Rafael at ESPN posted numbers of 225,000 which is more online with what I would expect. But recently Mike Coppinger Tweeted, FOX PPV is approaching 275,000 mark for the Wilder – Luis Rematch.


The loyal Deontay Wilder fans will tell you this fight was a success and increases his stance as the face of boxing. After all, if we take Mike’s PPV number and multiply it by the PPV price of $79. That would give a total of about $21 million for a fight no one wanted to see. I don’t believe Anthony Joshua made that much when he face Charles Martin. But like I said depending on who you ask, the fight was a success and I for one agree…. Let me correct myself, I agree this fight was a success if Deontay Wilder was still earning his averages purse of $2-5 million and not this exaggerated and lavish $20 million since fighting Breazeale and Ortiz.

But the truth is the combined purse of Deontay Wilder, Luis Ortiz and the undercards was rumoured to be around $29 million. So in order for FOX to break even, PPV sales would have to exceed 380,000 buys. But that’s not all of the figures. Keep in mind that FOX takes 50% of every PPV sold. So in order for FOX to pay out $29 million in guaranteed purses and then to start making a profit they needed to sell in excess of 750,000 PPVs. So from FOX’s point of view, they made a massive loss on Wilder – Ortiz 2. Heck, FOX did not even make enough to cover fighters purses. If you ask anyone at FOX behind closed doors, I’m sure they would tell you this fight was not a success and they took a massive hit.


If it wasn’t for DAZN offering Deontay Wilder the $120 million for a 3 fight deal (20 for Breazeale, 50 for Anthony Joshua and another 50 for the rematch) Then Wilder would still be earning his average purse of $5 million on Showtime. So if you think about it, Deontay needs to thank DAZN for his pay rise. And as I mentioned earlier on, Eddie Hearn Offered Luis Ortiz $7 million to fight Anthony Joshua when Jarrell Miller was caught with banned substances in his system. But team Ortiz turned down a lucrative offer to fight Deontay wilder instead for the same amount. It’s not like FOX could have offered Luis Ortiz any less than $7 million, otherwise it would have made team Ortiz look scared of Anthony Joshua and foolish in the process.

It’s almost like DAZN and Eddie were playing Deontay wilder by inflating his purse beyond reasonable levels knowing the likes of Showtime couldn’t not sustain a loss on their investment. Some reports say Showtime lost $15 million on the Wilder vs Breazeale fight, though these numbers were never verified. So take that piece of information with a pinch of salt. But you have to admit

Showtime are now no longer the force in boxing used to be. And now FOX have picked up from where Showtime failed. Are they going to keep pumping money into their “sinking boat”? Or are they hoping that Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury will earn them big money? If so they would need to sell at least 750,000 PPV just to break even if they paid wilder another $20 million and Tyson $10 million.

So from the outside it looks like DAZN and Eddie Hearn played Wilder by artificially increasing Wilder’s purse, when anyone in the boxing business knows Wilder is not worth that much. But they (Showtime, FOX) aren’t going to just hand Wilder over to their competitors unless they run out of money. Sadly showtime lost, and in the process also lost their grip/power in the boxing scene. I bet Eddie Hearn the 2nd hand car sales man and DAZN are laughing their arses off!!

What do you guys and gals think? Leave you comments and conspiracy theories below in the comments section.