By Keith Idec
Deontay Wilder gets the feeling it might take a face-to-face meeting between him and Anthony Joshua to eventually finalize their heavyweight title unification fight.
Wilder likened their situation to that of Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, who came to a preliminary agreement to fight only after they met behind closed doors in Pacquiao’s hotel suite in January 2015 in Miami.
Mayweather and Pacquiao finally fought just three months after that face-to-face meeting.
An aggravated Wilder feels Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, is more at fault for them not fighting next than Joshua. Wilder told premierboxingchampions.com that had Hearn not talked him out of it, Joshua would’ve accepted his handlers’ $50 million offer to fight Wilder in the United States.
“As terrified as he is of fighting me, Joshua would have fought for that $50 million,” Wilder said. “But he can’t do nothing because he’s signed with Eddie Hearn. I think Joshua’s team has their best interest in mind before Joshua’s best interest, and that no one around Joshua has confidence in him to beat me. Joshua’s lost fans while I’m gaining more fans every day. Anyone still saying this is my fault is an Eddie Hearn zombie.”
Whoever you blame, England’s Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) and Alabama’s Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) will have to win interim bouts before trying to make their fight for some time in 2019.
The 28-year-old Joshua – who owns the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO championships – will make a mandatory defense of his WBA title against Russia’s Alexander Povetkin (34-1, 24 KOs) on September 22. The Joshua-Povetkin fight likely will take place at Wembley Stadium in London.
The 32-year-old Wilder, meanwhile, is expected to fulfill his mandatory obligation against Dominic Breazeale (19-1, 17 KOs) in his next fight. Breazeale, of Eastvale, California, is the mandatory challenger for Wilder’s WBC championship.
Wilder was willing to accept a $15 million flat fee to fight Joshua in October or November. Their highly anticipated showdown would’ve taken place either in London or Cardiff, Wales, had Wilder and Joshua reached an agreement.
Wilder wants a 50-50 split with Joshua now that negotiations have broken down in frustrating fashion.
“I’m not surprised, but it’s ridiculous that this situation’s ended like it did – them wasting three-and-a-half months of peoples' time,” Wilder said. “They never wanted the fight in the first place, and it showed. I wish they would have come out and just said, ‘We don’t want to fight at this point in time. Maybe we can try back another time.’ That would have been more respectable.
“Instead, they played this back and forth game, like they’ll knock me out in three rounds, he’ll ram his jab down my throat, and that I haven’t done enough. And look at my resume, like Joshua’ resume is so much better. It doesn’t add up.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.