Why Anthony Joshua vs Deontay Wilder is possible but in doubt

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Why Anthony Joshua vs Deontay Wilder is possible but in doubt

Boxing is doing great, fans should appreciate if they aren't already, the fights we have been able to see in recemt years, Mayweather vs Pacquiao, Golovkin vs Alvarez, Thurman vs Porter, Brook vs Spence, Thurman vs Garcia, Jack vs Degale, Joshua vs Klitschko. Some fights end up being popular, others don't.

It seems like the most popular potential super fight at the moment is Joshua vs Wilder, they are both undefeated, they are both world champions, they have both knocked out all their opponents, and because fans want drama, they want scary fights, they want to see blood, they want to see pain, they want to see courage, they want to see impact, the fact that these unbeaten, hard hitting world champions are over 6'5, over 16 stone, helps it's value.

Boxing is a business, Eddie Hearn is a promoter, his job is to get fighters who he promotes, in big fights, he helps his fighters make a lot of well deserved money, and he creates opportunities for them to give the fans a great fight, he delivers most of the time, doesn't get enough credit in my opinion, but, he does not promote every boxer in the world, and as a businessman, he won't tell his fighters to take dangerous fights which are fairly worthwhile, when he could make the situation suit them more, make the fights very good worthwhile, no matter how badly we want to see the fight. The disagreements are between Wilder and Hearn, I believe, Wilder's promoter should be making his case, because a promoter does that job better than a boxer does, obviously.

There are many problems with the potential fight, the main problem, which branches out to many issues, is money. In business, you try to be clever, make the most you can, make the most out of what you can claim, other people, who you don't know, or your rivals, not your problem. In boxing, often in fights, it is the A-side, vs the B-side, how do you become the A-side?, beat the A-side, until then, the B-side can only get his opportunities if he is paid less than the A-side, he has to pay for any control he might have over the venue, he has to put up with more demands, it is harsh, but it is boxing, which is both a sport, and a business.

I think the reason why Wilder and Hearn have failed to make any progress so far in negotiations, is that there is not always an official confirmation of becoming the A-side, there are times when a fighter declares himself the A-side, and the opponent disagrees.

When you have a world title, and you have defended it more times than the two other world champions who hold the other three belts, you are undefeated, and in your mind, avoided, denied opportunities, you will probably resent being referred to as the B-side. On the other hand, if you have always spoken highly of a fighter, you have promoted him, you are a big part of his team, and he has been in possibly the most popular fight of the decade, in front of 90,000 fans, and as a result, has become a household name, a popular athlete, celebrity, the most talked about fighter in his sport, and the fighter with the best win in his division, you are probably going to resent anyone denying that your fighter is the A-side, especially when (for whatever reasons) the potential opponent hasn't generated the publicity which you're fighter has, and you feel he is using only a belt to put himself on the level of your fighter.

People can criticse Joshua, Hearn, but all the critics out there, they would (if they understood) try to claim (not steal, claim) as much money as they possibly could, if they were going to get in the ring, and fight, put their life on the line. People can accuse Deontay Wilder of shying and away from challenges, but pride, it can be a help, it can be a hindrance, letting someone you see as arrogant, someone who can you think is taking away your chance to provide the best you can for your family, you will feel as if you are being done an injustice.

Can a fighter who has defended his world title 6 times be the B-side against a fighter who has had half the fights, defended his belt 4 times? Is the definition of the B-side a challenger who is fighting a champion? If you have two belts, and you fight a champion with one, does that make you the A-side? If you are the only or the two fighters to beat a former super champion, a boxing legend, does that make you the A-side?, if you have made far more money, in higher profile events, in your last 2-3 fights, than your opponent in his fights, does that make you the A-side?

The fact that there are no definitive answers to any of these questions means there will be a circling conflict, a back and fourth debate, and the negotiations will be a dead end, and a waste of time. Someone has to give in, either Hearn accepts Wilder isn't really the B-side, or Wilder accepts he is, until one of them steps up in that regard, swallows their pride, how could the fight possibly be made?

I think, for a couple of reasons, Wilder should be the one to do the compromising. If Eddie Hearn tried to fight Wilder himself, well, it would be painful to say the least, short, and explosive, maybe a 5 second fight. If Wilder tries to talk business with Hearn, tries to pull him up on realism, finances, he will get nowhere, and will only frustrate himself whilst Hearn keeps the high ground. If Anthony Joshua lost a leg tomorrow, had to retire, he would be remembered for one big fight, the Klitschko fight, if Wilder lost a leg tomorrow, had to retire, he would be remembered for very little indeed, no big, real meaningful fights. On a more likely and less life hampering note, Joshua, in his position, sells tickets faster, can get opponents with bigger names, can earn more money, can get more recognition, than Wilder, because the Klitschko fight made Joshua into a star in boxing, Wilder hasn't been able to raise his profile yet.

If Wilder wants to get the recognition, the credit he deserves, then he will have to give himself the best chance of getting into a big, career changing fight, he needs this fight, his opponent doesn't, he's got every reason to be happy where he is, but he needs the fight, Wilder, and because so much depends on this, and Hearn isn't making himself or his fighter suffer by being stubborn, Wilder, and without meaning to, is damaging his own career.

Wilder has to lower his price, I believe he is entitled to 40%, but I do not believe Hearn will have that, I think if Wilder suggests a 70/30 split for Joshua, Hearn will hear him out, and they can have a realistic discussion about a fight. If, in the unlikely event that Hearn continues to try to persuade Wilder to settle for less money, after he has offered to take only 30%, then that would be outrageous, Wilder would have a good mind to show the boxing world the evidence, that he has tried to take the fight, take not half what Joshua is paid, and is turned down because he is told to take even less money, in that case, Hearn would lose respect as a professional, and more importantly, that could suggest it is either personal, which would be pathetic, or it would suggest that Eddie Hearn is against Joshua vs Wilder.

You could ask questions of Joshua and Hearn, what are their intentions? Is it that they feel they are entitled to the vast majority of the purse because they are the A-side (and Wilder wouldn't be losing out in the case he earns a small percentage, but a higher number of dollars than he has ever earned)?, when they say the fight can be made if Wilder talks realistically and accepts the financial minority, are they bluffing? Is that based on the predication that Wilder would never agree to their terms?, so they could avoid the Wilder fight without their reputation suffering.

If Wilder does the following,
Contact Hearn
Demand 40%, if he refuses to pay him that much
Do what Parker did, 35%
If that doesn't work, go down to 30.

If Wilder does this, one way or another, it will work out well for him, if Hearn and Joshua want the fight, if Joshua is really motivated, has the desire to fight Wilder, then everybody wins, they can make the fight, and it can be great for boxing, and if, assuming there are no other arguments or disagreements, which there shouldn't be, and Hearn still says no, reputation wise, and Ilin terms of confidence, mentality, that will be good for Wilder.

Currently, we can't know whether Hearn and Joshua want to fight Wilder at any point, and Joshua not only believes he's better but really wants to win the belt, beat Wilder, dismantle a dangerous fighter, or, they believe Joshua wins, but want to avoid the risk. When a fighter punches like Wilder can punch, it takes one, and the other guy is done, Joshua could be knocked out early, it is possible, and he could never be the same fighter again, he may be more limited for future fights, his future fights may generate less publicity, he would make less money, he wouldn't be in the position he is in now. Both are very possible, but I think either way, the fight would happen, they would agree to it, if Wilder lowered his price by 15-20%, if it is the latter, and the fight happens next year, then I'd say Wilder has a very high chance of winning, but if this goes on long, this pointless argument about money is dragged out, the fight happens in 2021, and Hearn and Joshua aren't even going to lengths to avoid Wilder, different story.

The fight is possible, because Wilder might agree to lower his price, in which case, the fight should be finalised at some stage, but the fight is in doubt, because Wilder might not agree to lower his price, he might stand firm and demand half the money, in which case the fight wouldn't happen because negotiations would be squandered.