Trainer Ben Davison says Anthony Joshua and his management team are going to need give Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury a 50-50 deal if they want to make either of those fights happen, writes Scott Gilford for www.boxingnews24.com. Davison, who trains former IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion, Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs) says Joshua and his promoter need to decide whether they want to look at the Fury and Wilder fights in terms of it being a business.
If Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn approach those fights from a business perspective, then they’ll get neither of them, according to Davison. Right now, it appears that Joshua and Hearn are completely focused on the business aspect of making the Wilder and Fury fights, which is why they’re not happening.
Davison feels that Joshua could end his career missing out on the Wilder fight just like Lennox Lewis and Riddick Bowe retired without facing each other.
“Their [Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn and Anthony Joshua] problem in making the fight [with Deontay Wilder] is they’re looking at it too much as a business fight,” Davison said to IFL TV about the Joshua vs. Wilder unification fight.“It depends on what your goal is. If your goal is to make as much money as possible, then yeah, negotiate it out, fight to the death over the last few percent, whatever it is. In my eyes, if you want to make the fight, it’s 50-50, if two champions are coming together. It’s 50-50 if you want to make that fight, because you will end up in a situation where we did with Lennox Lewis and Riddick Bowe. We may never see that fight,” Davison said.
In a perfect world, Hearn and Joshua would view the Wilder fight in terms of it being a fight that needs to be made for the sport of boxing. If they saw him as a competitor in a fight that will show who the best heavyweight is in the division, then it would be a simple matter of giving Wilder the 50-50 deal that he’s asking for to make the fight happen. That’s not what’s happening though. Joshua and Hearn view the Wilder fight as a money thing, and they don’t believe he’s popular enough to share equally in the revenue a Joshua-Wilder fight would produce.
Hearn and Joshua both seem so focused on measuring the worth of Wilder in gauging what he brings to the table for the fight, and they don’t appear to value what he contributes to the fight enough to give him even a percentage deal. That’s why Hearn keeps banging on about giving Wilder flat fees. He doesn’t see him as being worthy of a percentage deal. It’s believed that Hearn is finally ready to offer Wilder a percentage deal, but it’s along the lines of 70-30 in Joshua’s favour. Giving Wilder 30 per cent means that Hearn doesn’t even value him enough to give him the 33 per cent that Joseph Parker is said to have gotten for the Joshua fight last March.
“I believe Joshua wants that [Wilder] fight, but I believe his team’s views will say to him, ‘Okay, this is what you’re worth, and this is what Wilder’s worth. If this fight generates this, you should earn this amount.’ Okay, is it just business to you, because if it is, no problem. You may never get the fight,” Davison said. “It’s about credibility and status. If he [Joshua] wants a fight against the other two [Wilder and Tyson Fury], it’s going to have to be 50-50, because neither of them are going to take it. No one wants to give an inch. It might be different if he were making Floyd Mayweather money. He [Joshua] doesn’t make Floyd Mayweather money. If he [Joshua] wants to make that fight [against Wilder], it’s 50-50. He [Joshua] needs to stop looking at this like a business, and stop arguing out percentages, this man’s worth and that man’s worth,” Davison said.
What Davison says makes a lot of sense. He obviously has a good head on his shoulders, and would arguably be a better promoter than Hearn and other guys in that line of work. Hearn’s hard stance about Wilder not deserving a 50-50 deal will make it all but impossible for the Joshua vs. Wilder fight to take place during the most important point of each of their careers, which is right now while both of them are still undefeated.
The Joshua vs. Wilder fight will obviously happen when something changed in negative sense in the careers of one or both of them. After Joshua or Wilder gets beaten once or twice by other heavyweights, then the two of them will finally be able to negotiate a fight between them. There just won’t be as much interest from the boxing public as there is now.
It would be similar to the Amir Khan vs. Kell Brook fight. If that match-up had taken place back in 2011 before Khan was beaten by Lamont Peterson and Brook was knocked out in consecutive fights to Gennady Golovkin and Errol Spence, Khan-Brook would likely be a bigger fight than it would be if the two of them face each other in March or April 2019.
“His [Joshua] biggest payday is with them [Wilder and Fury] two. Let the fans get what the fans want. That’s how I see it. It depends on how they want it,” Davison said.
What the boxing public doesn’t know is if Joshua really wants to fight Wilder and Fury. If Joshua’s real goal is to milk his IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight titles against old timers like Alexander Povetkin and against the weak opposition that Hearn has been bringing in for him to mow down, then it makes sense for AJ to continue to have his promoter Eddie give low ball offers to Wilder. If Joshua doesn’t want a fight with Wilder, there’s an easy way to avoid it by giving him flat fee offers and low percentage rate deals that he’ll never agree to while he’s still holding the World Boxing Council heavyweight title.
The British boxing fans might want to see Joshua fight Dillian Whyte three or four times, but the U.S fans have zero interest in seeing that fight. Joshua’s recent fight against Povetkin was said to have done poor numbers in the U.S.
If Joshua can’t pull in good ratings for his fights being piped into the U.S against the likes of Povetkin, then you would have to believe that the interest from American boxing fans in seeing Joshua vs. Whyte 2 would be nil. That’s a fight that would interest no one aside from the most hardcore fans. Hearn wants Joshua to fight Whyte, so it’s going to happen. After that, you can bet that Hearn will come up with an excuse to match Joshua against another one of his Matchroom Boxing stable fighters in Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller, and that’s if there isn’t an immediate trilogy fight between AJ and Dillian.
You really can’t rule out Hearn continuing to peddle the Joshua vs. Whyte fight to the UK public, because he promotes both of those guys, and he would have only his hands on the levers of the promotion for the fight. It’s a win-win for Hearn to keep trotting Whyte out for in house fights against Joshua until the UK boxing public are physically sick from seeing those two matched against each other.
Once that happens, Miler will likely be the next one that Hearn throws in with Joshua three or four times. Hearn promotes Miller, so it’s more Matchroom Boxing in house fights for him.
“In our situation in the rematch [with Wilder], we have to weigh up risk and reward,” Davison said in talking about the Wilder vs. Fury 2 rematch. “The reward has to match the risk. We feel we’ve been done unjustly, so for that to happen, it’s going to have to be big risk, so it has to be a big reward. So if he’s going to see it again, one [Wilder] can’t have more and the other [Fury] less. Obviously, there’s the potential of a rematch, but the difference is they need a rematch for their team, because he’s [Wilder] not looked on as a champion. His credibility as a champion has dropped, because a high percentage of people thought Tyson won the fight,” Davison said.