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Dougie’s Friday mailbag (Anthony Joshua-Deontay Wilder fallout)

Admit it, ya'll still wanna see this fight!
29
Jun

CLARITY ON JOSHUA-WILDER DIVIDE

Hey Dougie,

What’s up man? Hope all is good.

Quick one for you today (sort of). Can you provide some clarity as to why the Joshua-Wilder fight fell through (at least for 2018)?

I knew I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up for a clash in the fall, but of course I did. And I suppose it’s really not shocking that a fight of this magnitude wouldn’t be made on the first attempt.

But everything seemed to be going so well. So, what happened?

Was it anyone’s fault in particular? The back and forth between Eddie Hearn and Deontay Wilder on Twitter made each man sound like both the hero and the villain. I honestly didn’t know who to side with.

Or…was it all just a ploy to hype up the fight, and the contract was never meant to be signed. Was it just a game to get the fans talking and to ensure more money for AJ and the Bronze Bomber down the road?

I’m only 27, Dougie, I’m too young to be this paranoid and cynical.

But you know this business inside and out, so what’s going on?

Thanks, as always, for your insight and your ability to cut through the BS.

Cheers. – Chris, Ottawa, Canada

Thanks for the kind words, Chris.

Here’s how I see it, Eddie Hearn wants the heavyweight showdown to marinate. He knows the fight is a bigger event in 2019 than it is in 2018. As much as hardcore fans in the UK and the U.S. want to see it this year, it would not be a huge pay-per-view success in America given the current U.S. profile of both heavyweight titleholders. Hearn is savvy. He knows the more they go back in forth with Team Wilder on social media, the more attention the potential matchup will garner from casual sports fans and mainstream media. He floated the possibility of the fight happening this year, knowing it didn’t suit him or his client. He’s floating the possibility of the fight happening in April 2019, knowing that peak interest in the showdown and maximum earning potential for the event would be next November or December (in Las Vegas, ideally after AJ makes his U.S. debut).

No matter what Hearn says, just know that he’s looking at this from a business and managerial perspective. He’s playing a long game, in part, because time and leverage is on his side.

Joshua – who holds three world titles (WBA, IBF and WBO) – is 28 (the age most heavyweights are just entering their prime). With 21 pro fights (20 inside the distance), he’s fresh as a daisy and still developing and learning. And AJ is a bona-fide superstar attraction in the UK. He has options. He can make BIGTIME paydays against his mandatory challengers.

Wilder – who holds the WBC belt – is 32 (which is still in a heavyweight’s prime, but it’s getting toward the end of that athletic peak). He’s got 40 pro bouts under his belt (39 inside the distance, but he had to grind for some of his knockouts, most notably in his last bout, against Luis Ortiz). He hit his ceiling a few years ago, in terms of technical development. He’s dangerous as f__k, hands down the purest puncher in the division (maybe any division), but he’s not going to get any better. He’s just going to get older. And he doesn’t have as many options as Joshua. Wilder’s got a WBC-mandated defense against Dominic Breazeale, which can be made into a semi-grudge match given their history, but it won’t sell like other “bad-blood” matchups, such as Canelo-GGG2 or even the long-awaited Brandon Rios-Victor Ortiz train wreck. Beyond Breazeale, who does Wilder have to fight? There’s a rematch with Ortiz IF the Cuban can get an interim win. There’s the winner of the Joseph Parker-Dillian Whyte fight, but Hearn could swoop in and take that winner for AJ (especially if Whyte wins). There’s more money in a rematch with Joshua than a shot at Wilder.

Hearn knows this. So, he’s assuming that Wilder will agree to fight his shining star sometime next year despite the American’s outrage and frustration (and hardcore fans’ disappointment) in not getting the fight this year. (And he’s probably hoping that Wilder begins to slide a bit before stepping into the ring with AJ.)

He might be wrong, though. Wilder seems genuinely pissed off and fed up. I’ve read Tweets where he’s talking about going about his own business and pursuing a goal of compiling a 51-0 record (which given the quality of his opponents so far would give him slightly more cred than WBC strawweight beltholder Wanheng Menayothin).

But we’ll see what happens. Money and public demand have a way of soothing egos and getting fighters into the ring. If Pernell Whitaker-Julio Cesar Chavez, Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao can be made, than you can bet your house that Joshua-Wilder will be made.

I knew I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up for a clash in the fall, but of course I did. All that means is that you’re a hopeless hardcore head. Welcome to Club Miserable, Triple H.

And I suppose it’s really not shocking that a fight of this magnitude wouldn’t be made on the first attempt. I would have been shocked if it happened this year.

But everything seemed to be going so well. So, what happened? It was never going “well.” All we’ve had are preliminary talks, potential deals proposed (which is a step in the right direction) and a whole lot of media/social media posturing.

Was it anyone’s fault in particular? If you want to blame somebody, I guess you could blame Hearn, but all he really wants to do (in my humble view) is build the fight up to the point where both sides will make the maximum amount of money that an anticipated showdown for the undisputed heavyweight championship should bring in. It’s not there yet. It would be a huge event in the UK, but nowhere near as big as Canelo-Golovkin II will be here in the U.S. Maybe it will be 10-to-18 months from now.

The back and forth between Eddie Hearn and Deontay Wilder on Twitter made each man sound like both the hero and the villain. It was all bluster to me. I’m not paranoid or cynical, I’m just jaded (but more patient than the average diehard).

I honestly didn’t know who to side with. If you REALLY wanted to the fight sooner rather than later – in other words, THIS YEAR – you should probably side with Wilder, but just that when you choose a side, you’re adding to the rivalry/controversy, which only helps the gradual promotion, which is what the “other side,” Hearn and AJ, want.

 

WILDER NEEDS A PROMOTER

Hello Doug,

I believe Wilder is in need of a good promoter. He is not well known among the occasional boxing fans that tune into the big events. With his exciting fighting style he should be much well more known than he is. – R.M.

I agree to an extent, but it should be noted that while he’s not a huge attraction (one of the few prize fighters than can sell out a major arena on his name alone), The Bronze Bomber does move the needle. He’s one of the few PBC Players that keeps a semi-busy fight schedule (as long as he is healthy), he can sell tickets at home and in Brooklyn, and his TV ratings are solid. Part of what holds him back is a lack of quality, marketable opponents. He’s got two potential rivals – in Joshua and Tyson Fury – that could make for big events and help him secure his legacy, but neither Brit is ready to face him (no matter what they say). So, he’s kind of screwed for the time being, but if he can stay focused and unbeaten until mid-next year, his luck may change.

 

WILDER’S TEAM LET HIM DOWN, BIG TIME

Hi Dougie,

Hope you and the family are well.

Where do I start??

I’ll try and keep it short this time.

IMHO Wilder’s team have let him down, big time!

I don’t think Wilder is scared to fight AJ or visa-versa, but:

1)      Why not respond to the first offer from Hearn months ago? Even to say No, or to counter?

2)      Why make a $50M offer and not follow it up with a contract? Or show the money? Ok just to hype the fight.

3)      After finally agreeing terms (and nothing wrong with negotiating a good deal for yourself), why just sit on the contract? Was the contract so different to the agreed terms? If so why not make some noise about it?

Wilder’s team seem to want all AJ’s, belts. However, knowing the WBA have ordered AJ Vs Povetkin they have sat on the contract for so long that AJ has no choice. I understand making Hearn sweat getting close to the WBA’s deadline, but it seems to have backfired.

I feel for Wilder in this case. He would have got the respect he deserves if he had beaten Povetkin first. However, it is not his fault the flight was cancelled due to Povetkin failing a PED test. Also, he signed to fight in Russia. Respect!

I feel Wilder has greatly been let down by his team.

AJ, Dillian Whyte and even tony Bellew would have given Wilder career high paydays. Now he’ll probably fight Breazeale in a sports hall with 3,000 people watching and get more abuse for not taking the top fights.

Unfortunately, Wilder is not the promotional star he should be. This is down to the bad job from his promotional team. It’s not even a hard job, as seen from my arm chair. The man can fight, he’s loud, he’s got tons of personality and an admirable life story. Who wouldn’t gravitate to him? If Bob Aram can make a start of Pacquiao, and ODH make a start of Canelo both Non-Americans whose first language is not English, how hard can it be to make the WBC, America, Heavyweight champion of the world a Box Office star and a house hold name? If I was advising Wilder, I’d be asking these questions.

I see Whyte beating Parker in a brilliant matchup and great fight. Really hope to see Wilder Vs Whyte be ordered by the WBC. Winner fights AJ for the undisputed throne.

Before I finish, credit to Hearn, for juggling everything. Negotiating the Povetkin fight, with should be a brilliant fight, in parallel to the Wilder fight, and keeping the sanctioning bodies happy.

I think back to Fury being stripped of the IBF strap straight after the Klitschko fight cos his team did not plan for the event when negotiating the rematch.

MM:

James Braddock Vs Rocky Marciano

Prime Max Baer Vs Joe Louis, version which beat Braddock

Patterson Vs Rocky Marciano, prime and version just before he retired

Keep up the great work! – Tabraze, London UK

I’ll go with Marciano by late stoppage in a good scrap, Louis by an up-from-the-canvas mid-rounds stoppage in a wild shootout, and The Rock by bloody, come-from-behind late stoppage.

I don’t know if Wilder’s team let him down because I’m not convinced that Hearn ever had any intention of doing the fight this year. It’s better for his client and his bank account if the fight happens next year. Now, there is the risk of AJ or Wilder losing before the two undefeated beltholder can share a ring, but that’s the risk of boxing and business. Hearn is gambling a bit in hopes that it pays off. In the meantime, Joshua will be well compensated for his mandatory defense against Povetkin, which is a quality matchup. As you noted, it’s definitely going to be a bigger event than Wilder-Breazeale (and no disrespect to either American, both of whom have mad heart and make for good fights).

Why not respond to the first offer from Hearn months ago? Even to say No, or to counter? Maybe they were insulted. Maybe they didn’t take it seriously.

Why make a $50M offer and not follow it up with a contract? Or show the money? Ok just to hype the fight. Yep, there’s been posturing on both sides, which was to be expected. I have no idea why any of this is surprising or pissing off veteran observers of the sport. Big heavyweight championship showdowns are never easily – or quickly – put together. It took time for Tyson vs. Spinks to be made. It took years for Tyson vs. Holyfield to be made. It took awhile for Holyfield vs. Lewis to be made. It took even longer for Lewis vs. Tyson to be made. It’s going to take more than a year for Joshua vs. Wilder to be made folks, deal with it.

After finally agreeing terms (and nothing wrong with negotiating a good deal for yourself), why just sit on the contract? Was the contract so different to the agreed terms? If so why not make some noise about it? It wasn’t right for them and it just isn’t time for this bout to be made. It sucks but that’s the reality.

Wilder’s team seem to want all AJ’s, belts. However, knowing the WBA have ordered AJ Vs Povetkin they have sat on the contract for so long that AJ has no choice. I understand making Hearn sweat getting close to the WBA’s deadline, but it seems to have backfired. Again, I’m not convinced that Hearn didn’t want to get the Joshua-Povetkin fight (which he can offer up to the DAZN platform and appease his new business partners early in their eight-year billion-dollar deal) before seriously working on getting the Wilder showdown done.

I feel for Wilder in this case. I’m ambivalent. I don’t have a horse in this particular race.

He would have got the respect he deserves if he had beaten Povetkin first. However, it is not his fault the flight was cancelled due to Povetkin failing a PED test. Also, he signed to fight in Russia. Respect! Agreed, but it was probably a blessing that fight didn’t go forward as originally scheduled.

I feel Wilder has greatly been let down by his team. They had no power over the Povetkin situation, and they may have had no power in the Joshua situation.

AJ, Dillian Whyte and even Tony Bellew would have given Wilder career high paydays. Now he’ll probably fight Breazeale in a sports hall with 3,000 people watching and get more abuse for not taking the top fights. LOL. Well, I think it will probably take place in Brooklyn in front of 10,000-12,000 fans, but yeah, it won’t nearly be as big of an event as Wilder vs. any of the Brits you mentioned would be in the UK. By the way, after what happened with Joshua, I don’t think Wilder will get as much s__t about not facing the best fighters of his division.

Unfortunately, Wilder is not the promotional star he should be. This is down to the bad job from his promotional team. I’m not sure I agree with that. There are plenty of PBC Players that I believe could have been promoted and managed a lot better than they have been for the last three years, but Wilder is not one of them.

It’s not even a hard job, as seen from my arm chair. The man can fight, he’s loud, he’s got tons of personality and an admirable life story. Who wouldn’t gravitate to him? Anyone who isn’t a hardcore boxing fan that loves loudmouths, wild technique and sick KOs.

If Bob Arum can make a start of Pacquiao, and ODH make a start of Canelo both Non-Americans whose first language is not English, how hard can it be to make the WBC, America, Heavyweight champion of the world a Box Office star and a house hold name? Pacquiao and Canelo had willing dance partners, including world famous future first-ballot hall of famers, such as De La Hoya, Mayweather, Cotto and Mosley. Wilder does not. And Wilder was not ready for the best of his rather shallow division until about one or two years ago.

I see Whyte beating Parker in a brilliant matchup and great fight. I love that matchup. I’m not sure who wins it.

Really hope to see Wilder Vs Whyte be ordered by the WBC. Me too. That would be a fun promotion and a competitive fight.

Winner fights AJ for the undisputed throne. That sound like a plan.

 

BOXING, COMICS AND THE RING MAGAZINE

Congratulations to you and your staff for the great work that you guys do. I just picked up the recent issue if the Bible of Boxing and I must say, The Ring’s credibility is back and strong as ever. Michael Montero wrote a very responsible article that was fair and honest about the Canelo Alvarez debacle. If I could offer any advice I would say The Ring would be smart to rope up that enormous marine. I hope to see more work from Mr. Montero in the pages of The Ring. Work like that makes it much easier for me to justify spending money on print publications.

Anyway Doug, it is my birthday and my girlfriend bought me a hard cover edition of the 70’s graphic novel Superman vs Muhammad Ali. Like you my life revolves around comic books and boxing. Have you read that fantastic story?

Mythical match-ups:

George Foreman vs Joe Louis

Billy Conn vs Gene Tunney

Freddie Roach Vs Floyd Mayweather Sr.

And in honor of Superman vs Muhammad Ali, Batman vs Mike Tyson

Keep up the good work. – Sean Gill from Washington

Thanks Sean. Great to hear from a fellow boxing/comic book enthusiast. There aren’t many of us.

I’ll go with Louis by mid-round KO in a thrilling shootout, Tunney by decision, Mayweather Sr. by decision and Batman by submission (if we’re talking about an out of the ring altercation) or late stoppage (in the prize ring).

Congratulations to you and your staff for the great work that you guys do. Thank you, Sean. Your appreciation means a lot.

I just picked up the recent issue if the Bible of Boxing and I must say, The Ring’s credibility is back and strong as ever. That’s one of our major goals, along with, you know, SELLING issues and subscriptions. (The two things go hand in hand.)

Michael Montero wrote a very responsible article that was fair and honest about the Canelo Alvarez debacle. He did indeed. Some award-winning veteran writers, including Thomas Hauser, reached out to me to praise the job Montero did on that feature in the August 2018 issue.

If I could offer any advice I would say The Ring would be smart to rope up that enormous marine. I’m on it, Sean. I’m not as dumb as I look.

I hope to see more work from Mr. Montero in the pages of The Ring. Count on it. He’s got a feature on 2016 Olympian Nico Hernandez in the next issue, and story on former IBF junior middleweight titleholder Paul Vaden coming up in a future edition of the mag.

Work like that makes it much easier for me to justify spending money on print publications. That’s music to my ears, Sean.

 

BJS

Hello Doug!

I have read the mailbag for years and hope I will finally get through. I just saw a tape of Billy Joe Saunders vs. Willie Monroe Jr. It said that fight took place 2012.

Saunders can’t have held WBO title that long. When did he win it and did he lose it and regain it? Although he didn’t stop EL MONGOOSE like GGG he outboxed a tricky southpaw. Even lefties have to adjust to fight southpaws. They say Monroe Jr. is the nephew not the son of Willie “the Worm” Monroe who once beat MARVELOUS MARVIN HAGLER. If that is true, why isn’t he Willie the 2nd instead of Jr.? LOVE the mailbox keep up the good work! – Wise E. GardnerII

Thanks, Wise.

“El Mongoose” is a “Junior” because his father – who was a middleweight fringe contender in the late 1980s/early ‘90s – is also named Willie Monroe.

I just saw a tape of Billy Joe Saunders vs. Willie Monroe Jr. It said that fight took place 2012. That fight was last September.

Saunders can’t have held WBO title that long. When did he win it and did he lose it and regain it? He won it by narrowly outpointing Andy Lee in December 2015. He’s held it ever since, but he’s only defended it three times. His last defense, a near shutout against David Lemieux this past December, was arguably his finest pro performance.

Although he didn’t stop EL MONGOOSE like GGG, he outboxed a tricky southpaw. Even lefties have to adjust to fight southpaws. You are correct, it’s an impressive feat by the unbeaten southpaw. Saunders is a smart, skilled and talented competitor when he’s properly trained and motivated. He’s a handful for any of his fellow middleweight standouts.

 

Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer

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