Eddie Hearn made clear his heavyweight mega-attraction Anthony Joshua is ready to rumble, be it next fight, middle of 2018, or the end of 2018, against Deontay Wilder.
Hearn, in NYC banging the drums for a Saturday fight card on Long Island, topped by Danny Jacobs against Luis Arias, told me that he will sit down with Wilder advisors Shelly Finkel and Al Haymon tomorrow (Thursday) to talk deal.
“The Joshua versus Wilder fight is the biggest in world boxing by a mile,” said the son of the UK promoter Barry Hearn.
He wanted to make clear that contrary to any other stated or implied positions, he isn’t looking to block a Joshua-Wilder tango. But, he noted, several parties will have to come together and agree to terms which would be beneficial enough to all. Wilder will need to get paid more than his visibility quotient and market power would command, Hearn said.
The promoter offered something of a back-hand compliment when he said that the Alabama slamma who did a Godzilla stop of porky Bermane Stiverne Saturday night has been wise to up his notoriety by mentioning Joshua. “Using the (Joshua) name, I would do the same,” said Hearn.
Bottom lining it, Hearn said he wants, and Joshua wants to stage a Joshua-Wilder clash sooner rather than later, and by sooner, we mean before 2018 disappears. Joshua has zero fear of Wilder, he stated. “It will happen in 2018, unquestionably,” the deal-maker said.
No, there’s nothing to the assertion that Team Joshua is running from a faceoff with the American power hitter, he continued. “We are the ones actively seeking talks.” But it will come down to terms. “Anthony will have to overpay Wilder,” Hearn said. “If Wilder got his true worth, it would never get done.”
Joshua is a beast, a hungry one, who seeks no shortcuts, he maintains. “I have instructions from AJ, I want to be undispitued heavyweight champion by the end of 2018,” so that means he’d like to beat Joseph Parker, or whoever is holding the WBO belt, too.
“The Joshua-Wilder fight gets bigger in the next twelve months,” Hearn offered, but “sometimes you have to know when to strike.” It sounds like he is still debating what we all have been discussing, that yes, maybe marinating grows the pot, but maybe the timing is most right now to make Joshua-Wilder as the next fight for both. “We have to find middle ground, reality, and not fantasy,” the Brit said. “If we gave Wilder the split his true value, he’d view it as an insult.”
As for the site, Hearn sounded flexible.
“UK or Vegas, we’d be open to both either. We’d rather the UK, but we’re open, if Wilder won’t travel. The main thing is, you don’t have to worry about Joshua’s desire to step up. He will fight anybody.” Contrast the rise of Joshua, and who he fought in his 19th outing versus who Wilder did, Hearn pointed out, and that should make things more clear for you.
My three cents: This thing gets done, it’s just a matter of when. And it will be the most anticipated fight of the year, unless Floyd Mayweather comes back and challenges..well, it might be more awaited for than Floyd versus anyone. But so much money will be in play that the scraps in the back-rooms could rival the one that will unfold in the squared circle.