By Keith Idec
Joseph Parker has drawn his financial line in the sand with Eddie Hearn and Anthony Joshua.
The unbeaten WBO champion won’t accept anything less than a 65-35 split for a heavyweight title unification fight against the British superstar. His handlers are pushing for a 60-40 split to secure a Parker-Joshua fight for either March or April.
New Zealand’s Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) told London’s Daily Mail that while he wants to prove himself against Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs), he’ll happily turn to WBC champion Deontay Wilder (39-0, 38 KOs) or another opponent if he isn’t satisfied financially with the deal Hearn offers for a Joshua fight.
“If it was about the money, I wouldn’t have been calling out AJ two years ago or a year ago,” Parker told the Daily Mail for a story posted to its website Friday. “I was calling him out and wanted to fight him then, even at that stage, even when it wasn’t worth a lot of money. But I’ve always wanted to test myself. I don’t mind fighting Wilder. If his team came and said, ‘We have a good offer for you,’ and it was a good offer that we’re all happy with, then maybe we’ll go down that route.
“I just want to fight the best out there and I think, respectfully, AJ is one of the best and Wilder is one of the best because they’re both champions. So I’d like to test myself against the best champions. … But there is Tony Bellew, Lucas Browne. There are a lot of options out there.”
England’s Bellew (29-2-1, 19 KOs) first would need to defeat David Haye (28-3, 26 KOs) in their rematch, scheduled for December 17 at O2 Arena in London. Australia’s Browne (25-0, 22 KOs) doesn’t have a fight scheduled.
From a financial standpoint, facing Joshua makes the most sense for the 25-year-old Parker. He wasn’t impressive in beating England’s Hughie Fury (20-1, 10 KOs) by majority decision in a mandatory defense of his title September 23 in Manchester, England, and would risk losing for a lot less money if he doesn’t fight Joshua next.
David Higgins, Parker’s promoter, has been vocal about Hearn’s initial offer being too low for a Joshua-Parker fight. He went as far as to call it an “insult.”
“Forty percent is what we think is a good deal,” Parker said. “That’s what our target is, but they’re not on the same page as us in terms of making 60-40. So anything below 35 percent wouldn’t be a go-ahead for us. We’re looking at fighting in March or April. If they’re keen to fight [then], we’re very keen to fight. It’s time that all the heavyweight champions unified, so we can see who the best in the world is.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.