By Keith Idec
If Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder wanted to fight each other next, Lennox Lewis believes they should’ve done more than they did to make boxing’s biggest heavyweight fight happen.
Lewis, who retired as WBC heavyweight champion 14 years ago, criticized Joshua and Wilder in a series of Tweets he sent out Thursday.
“My thoughts on @anthonyjoshua and @BronzeBomber situation are that when I was champ, I wanted to face the best to show the world who’s the best. Period,” Lewis stated in his first Tweet. “I’ve heard them both speak on it, but I’ve also seen that AJ has changed his tune. This isn’t a 2yr down the line thing!
“Promoters have their own interest in making most money they can but fighters also carry weight in who they fight. If both sides wanted this fight, it would be happening. End of story. AJ taking Povetkin fight first isn’t a deal breaker 4 Wilder tho. Just don’t like the 2yr. talk.”
Wilder’s handlers offered Joshua a $50 million guarantee recently to fight Wilder in the United States later this year. The 6-feet-7 Wilder is a 2008 American Olympian from Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, countered with a $15 million flat fee for Wilder to battle Joshua in the United Kingdom. The 6-feet-6 Joshua won a gold medal for England at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and has become the UK’s biggest boxing star.
The 28-year-old Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) instead will make a mandatory defense of his WBA title against Alexander Povetkin (34-1, 24 KOs) on September 22 at Wembley Stadium in London. The 32-year-old Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) likely will box Dominic Breazeale (19-1, 17 KOs) in his next bout.
“I’m not in on all the details of #JoshuaWilder negotiations but when I wanted to fight Tyson before retiring, the only thing keeping that fight away was the networks,” Lewis stated in another Tweet. “I told my team and HBO to make it happen … end of story. I don’t want to hear about anything else!”
That said, Lewis understands at least part of the approach Joshua and Hearn took to negotiations.
“[The] way I see it AJ is the man,” Lewis Tweeted. “He gets to choose time and place for first fight. I’d make Wilder come to me also … but from what I see from Wilder, he’s willing to … and this is same attitude I would have. When the HW division finally has a pulse, we need action, not talk!”
The 52-year-old Lewis (41-2-1, 32 KOs) beat Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Vitali Klitschko during a terrific career that earned him a place in the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2009. He knows what it’s like, though, to have a huge heavyweight showdown disappear because he never fought longtime rival Riddick Bowe when they were professionals.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.