By Keith Idec
Lennox Lewis doesn’t think Deontay Wilder deserves the 50-50 split Wilder now says it’ll take to make his heavyweight showdown with Anthony Joshua.
The former heavyweight champion contends Wilder is entitled to more money, though, than Eddie Hearn has offered him thus far for their much-discussed heavyweight title unification fight. Lewis feels a 60-40 split in favor of England’s Joshua would be reasonable for a fight that figures to be very profitable for everyone involved.
“AJ [versus] Wilder the biggest fight in the HW division,” Lewis wrote in a Tweet. “They will BOTH make more than each ever has … because they BOTH bring a level of interest to match. It’s what fans want to see. Negotiations should reflect that! I would say 60-40 split in AJ favour at Wembley for first fight!”
Hearn increased his initial offer from $12.5 million to $15 million, but Joshua’s promoter wants Wilder to accept a flat fee for their fight. Hearn and Joshua also want Wilder to travel to the United Kingdom for their fight, preferably at Wembley Stadium in London.
Wilder’s handlers offered Joshua what would’ve been a career-high guarantee of $50 million to fight Wilder in the United States. Joshua turned down that proposal.
Negotiations for their fight fell apart Tuesday, when WBA president Gilberto Mendoza ordered Hearn to make a deal with Alexander Povetkin’s promoter, Andrey Ryabinskiy, within 24 hours for Joshua’s mandatory defense against Povetkin. Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) and Povetkin (34-1, 24 KOs) are likely to fight September 22 at Wembley Stadium.
Wilder, meanwhile, is expected to make a mandatory defense of his WBC heavyweight title against Dominic Breazeale (19-1, 17 KOs) in his next fight.
If Joshua and Wilder win their upcoming bouts, Lewis feels Wilder should be granted more respect in the next round of negotiations. Joshua owns the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles, but Lewis considers the WBC crown the most important of the five championships that would be at stake in their fight.
Lewis held the WBC heavyweight title three times during his Hall-of-Fame career.
“Not just ANY belt, THE CROWN JEWEL among belts,” Lewis stated in another Tweet. “It deserves respect! There is no doubt AJ is the A-side … but you can’t just steamroll Wilder. This is the biggest fight that can be made for a reason … BOTH will bring extreme interest. Two undefeated champs for UNDISPUTED!
“I’m very familiar with the process that gets in way of big fights. Negotiations are just that. Each side fights for what they want. It’s give and take … but the upside of #JoshuaWilder for the fighters AND the fans should make this fight a reality. Cooler heads prevail!”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.