Eddie is flabbergasted by Deontay Wilder’s belief that his name deserves to be etched into posterity alongside some of the greatest fighters throughout boxing history.
The former heavyweight titlist from Tuscaloosa, Alabama was asked recently if his name deserves a spot at the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York, and he responded unequivocally in the affirmative.
When informed of Wilder’s response, Hearn, the head of Matchroom Boxing, was completely flabbergasted. Hearn, to be sure, has quarreled with Wilder numerous times over the years, primarily through the press. Most recently the two butted heads again after Hearn had tried to reach out to Wilder’s representatives about making a fight with Hearn’s top charge, former heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.
“Oh my god,” Hearn told iFL TV. “He said he’s a guaranteed Hall of Famer? He’s beaten Luis Ortiz, who’s about 52. That is the only victory on his résumé against an elite heavyweight. I mean … the reality is who has Deontay Wilder ever beaten? Dominic Breazeale? Who, by the way, wasn’t bad five years ago, and I’m not saying that because AJ (Joshua) boxed him then, but he was finished by [the time he fought] Wilder … Stiverne? That was an absolute embarrassment. Who else has there been? Eric Molina? [Sarcastically] Definitely a Hall of Fame victory. [Artur] Szpilka? Who Derek Chisora knocked out in about two rounds.”
“Mate, that is frightening that he’s saying that.”
Hearn’s reasoning is based on the fact that he considers neither his own client Joshua nor WBC heavyweight titlist Tyson Fury (who has stopped Wilder twice) necessarily deserving of a Hall of Fame spot at the current moment. If those two are not a shoo-in for Canastota, why, then, according to Hearn, should Wilder be? On the other hand, Hearn believes the only top heavyweight in the world who will enter the Hall of Fame today is Oleksandr Usyk, the WBO, WBA, and IBF champion from Ukraine, who is coming off two consecutive decisions over Joshua.
“I’m saying that the fights with Anthony Joshua has been in, with victories over Klitschko, with victories and unifications over [Joseph] Parker, with a win over [Aleksandr] Povetkin, with a rematch [win] against [Andy] Ruiz — I’m saying that he’s not Hall of Fame yet" Hearn said. "I mean, Hall of Fame is something that is really about longevity.
“As good as Tyson Fury is, I’m not sure he goes into the Hall of Fame right now. But Usyk I think does, because he was undisputed at cruiserweight and moved up and became unified at heavyweight. But Deontay Wilder in a Hall of Fame? I’m baffled.”
Hearn said he recently re-attempted to reach out to Wilder’s representatives — but he received only radio silence. (Hearn tried to make contact earlier this summer prior to Joshua's rematch with Usyk last month). Wilder’s manager Shelly Finkel indicated recently that he is open to negotiating with Hearn on a Joshua-Wilder fight but only after Wilder gets past Robert Helenius in their heavyweight main event Oct. 15 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
“I like Deontay Wilder,” Hearn said. “I think he’s great for boxing. I would love to give him a load of money. I really would. I’ve been wanting to give Deontay Wilder tens of millions of dollars for the whole of my life. In fact that’s the one thing I could never understand about Deontay Wilder. I’ve never met a man who didn’t want tens of millions of dollars.
"And even the other day I reached out to their team and basically said, 'I would like to give you tens of millions of dollars', and they didn’t even reply. So the whole thing baffles me. And now when you told me about the Hall of Fame, maybe it’s starting to make sense. They’re just absolutely mental.”
“If he beats Robert Helenius, then definitely he should go in the Hall of Fame, yeah,” Hearn cracked. “Robert Helenius who Dillian Whyte won every round against Robert Helenius. Robert Helenius who lost to Derek Chisora as well, by the way.”