By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Eddie Hearn is very interested in investigating the $50 million offer Deontay Wilder personally extended to Anthony Joshua in an email sent to Hearn on Wednesday.
Hearn didn’t say Thursday that he believes their surprising proposal for that much-discussed heavyweight title unification fight is illegitimate. Joshua’s promoter can’t understand, however, why Al Haymon, Wilder’s adviser, and Shelly Finkel, Wilder’s co-manager, won’t meet with him Friday morning.
Hearn requested that meeting after Haymon and Finkel canceled a meeting that they scheduled a couple weeks ago for Thursday. Finkel indicated in an email to Hearn, a copy of which was obtained by BoxingScene.com, that a meeting would be “non-productive” if Hearn won’t first commit to accepting their offer (https://www.boxingscene.com/wilder-manager-contacts-hearn-reacts-publicity-stunt-claim--127564).
“Unless their offer is a complete bluff, they have to meet me,” Hearn told BoxingScene.com on Thursday, before a press conference to promote the Daniel Jacobs-Maciej Sulecki card Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. “Otherwise, they look like fools.”
In the email from Wilder, which he received at 4:02 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Hearn was given 24 hours to accept the deal. Hearn isn’t about to blindly agree to that offer without knowing the parameters of a deal for the biggest fight in boxing that hasn’t been made.
Hearn figures the $50 million offer, a record for one boxer in a heavyweight championship fight, would require England’s Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) to travel to the United States or elsewhere to fight Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs), of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He’s not sure, however, because Wilder didn’t provide any details in the email he sent Hearn on Wednesday.
“We haven’t had an offer yet,” Hearn said. “All we have is a piece of paper from a guy from Alabama. So let’s see a contract, let’s see the proof of funds, let’s see what we have to do and what our obligations are to earn that kind of money. If it’s real, we have to look at it, and it’s something that’s of interest. But if they expect us to make a decision and accept the fight today, based on a piece of paper from, as I said, a guy from Alabama, then they’re wildly mistaken.”
Hearn considers this $50 million offer little more than a perfectly timed, “brilliant” public relations maneuver.
“In the bottom of my heart, I feel like it’s a PR move,” Hearn said. “But because of my job and my obligations and they say it’s a lot of money, we have to investigate it. And if it’s real, it’s of interest, subject to what we have to do. Anthony has world-class contracts that obviously we have to adhere to. Anthony would like some involvement, some control in the show, because he’s the ‘A’ side. We wanna know where it is – not it’ll be wherever you’re told to be. It doesn’t work like that. So there’s lots to discuss, but we want to discuss it.”
While skeptical of Wednesday’s offer, Hearn doesn’t doubt Wilder’s willingness to battle Joshua in what would be a showdown between unbeaten knockout artists.
“They want the fight,” said Hearn, who recently offered Wilder a $12.5 million purse to fight Joshua. “They definitely want the fight. We want the fight. But they had to do something. What they’ve done is a real nice PR move. I’m sure it has some substance. But to the naked eye, it looks unbelievable. But to anyone who has a brain, it’s like, ‘Hang on a minute.’ And to put a 24-hour time span on agreeing to the deal tells you all you need to know.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.