For the first time since the raging big man revival of the 90’s, boxing’s biggest fight is in the heavyweight division. Heavyweight titlists Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder are on a collision course and fight fans are demanding to see this clash of heavy hitters now rather than later.
Betting odds for Anthony Joshua vs. Deontay Wilder super fight will likely favor Joshua at this point, but that doesn’t mean that this one wouldn’t generate huge interest with fight fans everywhere.
Just recently, The UK’s Joshua dominated and stopped game challenger Carlos Takam in ten rounds to defend his IBF and WBA world titles. And, although betting odds favored the defending champ greatly, 78,000 screaming fans packed themselves into Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales to see the spectacle with the foregone conclusion.
Both before and after the spectacle, however, fans and media asked Joshua about Wilder.
Meanwhile, back in the United States, fans continue to bury the reigning WBC heavyweight titlist from, Birmingham, Alabama about fighting Joshua—and Wilder is not shy about speaking his mind when it comes to all things Joshua.
“I’ve called Joshua out, he knows what I want. The UK fans know what I want and I want him,” Wilder recently told FightHype.com. “You’re a champion, I’m a champion. The people say you the best, they speak for you. You’re a coward, you can’t speak for yourself. I speak for myself and I say I’m the best. So let’s see who’s the best.”
The bravado from the “Bronze Bomber” is not lost on a usually poised Joshua, who has also, uncharacteristically, issued threats of bodily harm Wilder’s way.
So, if both fighters want the bout and fans are eager to support it, why isn’t it getting done? Why are we being told that it’s not something we’re going to see in the immediate future?
It’s all about money.
Joshua sells out stadiums in his home country and has pulled in nearly $20 million as a pay-per-view draw for his last couple fights. Wilder, on the other hand, is not a big star in the United States and has struggled to generate moderate ratings on free network TV.
The issue standing in the way of Joshua-Wilder will be the purse split and, specifically, how much Wilder will be asking for if he packs his belt and heads off to the UK to battle “AJ.” Wilder reportedly turned down $3 million (more than double his career-high payday) to take on Joshua’s promotional stablemate Dillian Whyte overseas and it’s expected he will demand a larger percentage of the take for a Joshua fight than Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn feels comfortable giving away.
“You cannot possibly think that a fighter with the commercial value—like particularly Joseph Parker and Deontay Wilder—should warrant anywhere near a 50% split in that pot, and it’s not being disrespectful. It’s just fact,” Hearn recently told Fight Hub. “But they will, in their head, think, ‘I’m a champion, my belt’s on the line, that is the split.’ If it is, of course, the fights will never happen.”
Hearn insists that Wilder will be properly compensated, but Wilder’s desirability as an opponent for Joshua can’t be so easily dismissed in negotiations. His status as WBC belt holder will also make him a likely candidate for compensation above actual market value.
Hopefully, money issues can be put aside long enough to sign this one—the biggest heavyweight bout since Tyson-Lewis and the kind of mega-fight the sport needs to bring in new fans from all over the world.