By Keith Idec
Deontay Wilder and his team had several problems with the most recent contract promoter Eddie Hearn sent them for a proposed heavyweight showdown with Anthony Joshua.
Their primary problem was that there was only a rematch clause in the contract in the event Joshua lost.
If Wilder would’ve won, he would’ve had to fight Joshua again in an immediate rematch. If Wilder would’ve lost, Joshua wouldn’t have been contractually obligated to a rematch with him.
That didn’t make sense to Wilder, co-manager Shelly Finkel and adviser Al Haymon. The way Wilder and his team see it, they’re both undefeated heavyweight champions and Wilder was the one willing to travel overseas to fight Joshua either in his home country of England or Wales.
“As champions, it’s either both have a rematch or we don’t,” Wilder told premierboxingchampions.com for a story posted to PBC’s website Friday. “It’s another example of saying, ‘I don’t wanna fight.’ We already took a low-money offered deal, and are willing to come to your country. But if he beats me, we move on? Hell nah. They should have just come out and said Joshua’s not ready. They’re not going to let Joshua fight me until Rob McCracken [Joshua’s trainer] says he’s ready.”
Wilder also told premierboxingchampions.com that the contract Hearn sent them stated that only Joshua’s team would have had a say in who would referee and judge their fight. The British Boxing Board of Control would have assigned the referee and judges to the Joshua-Wilder fight, but according to Wilder, his team wouldn’t have had any input in the selection of officials.
“Joshua will never be ready for somebody like me,” Wilder said. “That’s why Eddie Hearn is trying to sign me to a three-fight deal because he needs me. But I don’t need an Eddie Hearn to tell me when I can fight or when I can’t, or, if he’s not pleased with me, to sit me on the shelf.
“The only fighters who do are those who need help. But they’ve seen a promoter who contradicts like a compulsive liar, failing to get his own top fighter the biggest purse of his life [$50 million], so how can he help them? They took this route and messed up their own reputation.”
Hearn has offered Wilder a guarantee of $5 million to face any opponent Wilder wants to fight in September or October as part of a two-fight, $20 million that deal also would include an April 13 fight against Joshua at Wembley Stadium in London. Per that agreement, Wilder would make a $15 million flat fee for facing Joshua.
Since negotiations ceased Tuesday, Wilder has changed his mind. He now says that he wants a 50-50 split to fight Joshua next year.
Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) is expected to make a mandatory defense of his WBA title against Alexander Povetkin (34-1, 24 KOs) on September 22 at Wembley Stadium. Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs), of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, likely will make a mandatory defense of his WBC championship in his next fight against Dominic Breazeale (19-1, 17 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.