By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Eddie Hearn recognizes that T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas is a viable venue for an Anthony Joshua-Deontay Wilder showdown.
Joshua’s promoter made it clear, however, that Joshua ultimately will be the man that decides where their huge heavyweight fight eventually takes place. Hearn made that clarification in response to what Shelly Finkel, Wilder’s manager, said last weekend about bringing the highly anticipated title unification fight to Las Vegas.
Finkel noted that if casino executives in Las Vegas really want the Joshua-Wilder fight, it’ll take place there because they’ll offer more money than the fight could make in England, even if it could draw another capacity crowd of 90,000 to London’s Wembley Stadium.
“Well, it’s very kind of Shelly,” Hearn told BoxingScene.com. “But the fight will happen where Anthony wants the fight to happen. He has no problem with it happening in Vegas. We know all the Vegas numbers. We’ve run them for the Klitschko fight [the scrapped rematch]. And [Finkel] is right – you can generate a bigger gate, bigger than Wembley, bigger than the Klitschko fight gate, in Vegas. But depending on prices. If we wanna upscale the pricing in Wembley, of course you’re gonna create a bigger gate.”
Hearn had his first meeting with Finkel and Al Haymon, Wilder’s adviser, to discuss a Joshua-Wilder fight Thursday morning in New York. The meeting went well, according to Hearn, but he reiterated England’s Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) is unlikely to battle Alabama’s Wilder (39-0, 38 KOs) in his next fight.
Once negotiations intensify, the site for the Joshua-Wilder fight will be one of the major issues Hearn, Haymon and Finkel will need to resolve.
“Deontay wants this fight in America, but he says he’ll fight in the UK,” Hearn said. “We’d like to fight in the UK, but we say we’d fight in America. Maybe you do two. Maybe you do one in Vegas, one in Wembley. It’s still gonna be the biggest fight in the heavyweight division, even after the first fight, isn’t it? Do you know what I mean?
“So really, my aim, and I feel like Shelly and Al’s aim as well, is to make sure these guys, if they’re involved in a fight of this magnitude and this risk, are rewarded for life. As it happens, Anthony already is set for life, whatever happens. But in a fight of this magnitude, the ultimate responsibility of the advisers and the promoters is to give them a payday that is astronomical. And I believe the numbers are there to generate it.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.