By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Lou DiBella doesn’t think Anthony Joshua will be any more eager to fight Deontay Wilder after watching Luis Ortiz nearly knock out Wilder on Saturday night.
DiBella, who promoted the card headlined by Wilder-Ortiz at Barclays Center, figures Wilder’s comeback and knockout of Ortiz will make the British knockout artist reluctant to fight Wilder later this year. Joshua-Wilder is the biggest fight that can be made within the heavyweight division and would generate eight-figure purses for England’s Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) and Alabama’s Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs).
Wilder, who dropped Cuba’s Ortiz (28-1, 24 KOs, 2 NC) three times and stopped him in the 10th round, wants that high-profile fight as soon as possible. Joshua and his promoter, Eddie Hearn, haven’t shown as much interest in that fight taking place sometime later this year.
“Well, any vulnerability shown in the seventh round that would make Joshua wanna get in there,” DiBella said during the post-fight press conference, “he’s gonna watch the 10th round and not f*cking wanna get in there is my guess. He’ll watch the seventh round and say, ‘Yeah, yeah. OK. I can clip this guy.’ And then he’ll watch the 10th round say, ‘Well, maybe I don’t want that.’ ”
The high-profile fight between Wilder and Joshua might not happen until sometime in 2019.
If Joshua defeats New Zealand’s Joseph Parker (24-0, 18 KOs), the WBO champion, in their title unification fight March 31 in Cardiff, Wales, the IBF/IBO/WBA champ could battle Brooklyn’s Jarrell Miller (20-0-1, 18 KOs) sometime in August at Barclays Center. Miller must also defeat France’s Johann Duhaupas (37-4, 24 KOs) on April 28 at Barclays Center.
That could leave Wilder to defend his WBC title against fellow American Dominic Breazeale (19-1, 17 KOs) in his next fight.
Regardless, DiBella hopes Joshua-Wilder happens sooner rather than later.
“I like the Joshua fight,” DiBella said. “I mean, is there danger? Of course there is. They’re two very good heavyweights that can punch a lot. But, I don’t know – if Deontay hits Joshua the way Klitschko hit Joshua, Joshua don’t get up. And if he does get up, he goes back down.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.