Is Deontay Wilder stalling? Jason Gonzalez sure thinks so
With the American heavyweight titlist Deontay Wilder rejecting a nine-figure deal with the sports streaming app DAZN, fight fans are going to have to wait longer before the historic matchup between Wilder and Anthony Joshua of England to be made.
What’s it going to take for these two giants to collide in the ring?
Two years later, and neither Joshua nor Wilder have even come remotely close to being on the same accord in order to make the fight happen. Both Wilder and Joshua claim that they “do it” [fight/box] for the fans, but if that were true, then Wilder and Joshua would have at least fought once by now. So enough is enough with the shenanigans. The people aren’t buying it.
It seems that both Wilder and Joshua are following in the footsteps of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. Can anyone recall the length of time it took for Mayweather and Pacquiao to finally face each other? In case you forgot, Mayweather-Pacquiao was a fight that was six years in the making. By the time they fought each other, Mayweather was 38-years-old and Pacquiao was turning 37, not to mention, he was also flattened by Juan Manuel Marquez almost three years prior to facing Mayweather.
By the time that the two biggest names in the sport meet, it was nothing more than a money grab. The contest had minimal, if any implications in the future of boxing. At the time  both Mayweather and Pacquiao made the most money they have ever made in their career, albeit fighting past their prime. Too bad that the fight didn’t do anything to elevate boxing as a whole.
Wilder, 33, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama was in Brooklyn, New York a week ago to announce his upcoming mandatory defense against Dominic Breazeale, on May 18 at Barclays Center. Before the bout with Breazeale, Wilder, the WBC champion, was in negotiations for a rematch with Tyson Fury, whom he drew with in December of last year.
However, that was scratched when Fury signed a co-promotional pact with Top Rank, who’s partnership with ESPN, will result in the network televising Fury’s fight.
At the presser Wilder announced that he will remain with Showtime, one of the major networks of Premier Boxing Champions. However, the terms of the deal with Showtime weren’t released.
“Showtime is family,” said Wilder. “It’s a pleasure to be back here in Brooklyn. Barclays Center is very close to my heart. I’ve been here so many times and I have a real connection to this arena. I’ve had some of my most memorable moments in the ring here. It’s always great to get a mandatory out of the way. They’re like flies buzzing in my ear. I just want to get them out of the way so I can do great things for the heavyweight division. I want one champion, one face, one name, but you need a lot of cooperation to make that happen. I want to prove to the world that I’m the best. That’s what I believe in my heart. Until someone proves me wrong, I will continue to believe that. Breazeale is the next man in line. I can’t wait for this one.”
Wilder, along with his manager Shelly Finkel and advisor Al Haymon met with DAZN executive chairman John Skipper to discuss a deal that would have ultimately led to a showdown for the undisputed heavyweight world championship against Joshua, assuming that Wilder wins all of his interim bouts prior to facing Joshua, who is set to make his American debut at Madison Square Garden against Jarrell Miller on June 1. DAZN gave Wilder a choice of two lucrative deals to pick from, in hopes that he chose one.
The first offer on the table, was a three-fight deal worth a cool $100 million. The first fight of the package deal would have netted Wilder a pay day of $20 million, and this is just for fighting Breazeale.
The second fight would have been against Joshua for $40 million. Wilder would have fought Joshua in the fall for the undisputed heavyweight championship. Lastly, the third fight would have been an immediate rematch [win or lose] with Joshua for another $40 million.
The second offer presented to Wilder, was a four-fight deal that would have also paid him $20 million to fight Breazeale, $40 million for a fight with Joshua, $20 million to fight someone else in between, and lastly $40 million more for a rematch with Joshua.
A little over a year ago, Wilder was offered $15 million to fight the then 27-year-old native of London. Joshua, 29, now 22-0, (21) is regarded by many as the future of the division. Now the monetary compensation for fighting Joshua twice, has increased by a whopping $65 million, it makes sense for Wilder to drag it out future discussions of a potential bout with Joshua.
But it still doesn’t make sense; he contradicted himself. Wilder has been calling Joshua out for an extended period, and this was his moment to practice what he preached. The DAZN deal was a win-win for Wilder but instead he opted to leave a significant amount of green stuff on the table. Just think about it, in what market would Wilder garner $20 million for fighting Breazeale?
No one was standing in his way. Showtime Sports President Stephen Espinoza informed Maxboxing.com earlier this month at Barclays Center that neither he nor would anyone else intervene, preventing a big fight from happening.
“We [Showtime] are not going to get in the way nor stop any [PBC] fighter from making money,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, I would rather that they not fight on another network or app, but if it happens, it is what it is, and I am not going to stand in the way to prevent the fight from happening.”
It was time for Wilder to show and prove, but for whatever reason he declined. Is it fear? Probably not. Could it be to stall negotiations for the purpose of “milking the cow” so to speak? Conventional wisdom would suggest that Wilder is.
You would be remiss to not think that the next round of negotiations isn’t going to be worth more than $40 million.
At the pace that we are moving, Wilder and Joshua will probably fight in 2021 or 2022. By this time Wilder will be 35 or 36 years old and Joshua will be 31 or 32. Does this narrative sound familiar to you folks? Doesn’t it smell a lot like Deja vu?