Wladimir Klitschko vs Anthony Joshua: The real reason it won't happen in 2016Written by Joseph Herron
It would seem as though the highly anticipated, dream Heavyweight match-up between Wladimir Klitschko and Anthony Joshua is exactly that...just a dream...at least within the calendar year of 2016.
What was once viewed as a realistic and imminent showdown between two of the sport's best big men, has become a mere figment of every disgruntled fight fan's imagination.
According to promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sports, both fighters "want" the fight to materialize, and appear to agree on the majority of terms proposed by the two respective camps.
So what happened?
Ego and individual financial clout is what ultimately doomed this proposed pairing for the time being.
It's been regurgitated by many media outlets that Wladimir desperately wants to compete for the Super WBA distinction as well as Joshua's existing IBF championship, as the reason why this once alleged "confirmed" deal seemingly fell apart at the eleventh hour.
If anyone believes this story, they'll believe pretty much any outlandish rumor currently floating around the boxing community.
When a fighter is as accomplished as Wladimir Klitschko, and remains one of the world's top financial draws within boxing, belts become irrelevant. The 40 year old, future Hall of Famer doesn't need the WBA or any sanctioning organization to sell any of his potential events; especially one opposite a legitimate attraction like Anthony Joshua.
Although Wladimir has used the sanctioning organizations as a tool to determine his opposition over the last decade or so, he doesn't need the various alphabet soup titles to sell his brand.
Even in the apparent twilight of his career, Klitschko remains one of the biggest money makers in boxing.
What's great about this pairing is ultimately what's stalling it as well.
In an industry which seems dependent on the strength of its match-ups, the two fighters in question are genuine superstars who don't need a thrilling B-side, or an ostensibly imposing adversary to sell out an arena.
We've seen both Wladimir Klitschko and Joshua pack the house while facing lesser competition...no offense to anyone named Kubrat Pulev, Charles Martin, Dominic Breazeale, or Alex Leapai.
The two Heavyweight commodities would be just fine financially with or without an eventual meeting on their respective resumes.
Was it unrealistic to think that a match-up between two industry behemoths like Wladimir Klitschko and Anthony Joshua could be put together within just a couple of weeks?
It's all about compromise and concession within the time honored sport. The business of boxing is and never has been about pugilism...the fight game should be more accurately called, "Let's Make a Deal"...especially within today's level of business transparency.
Just like the painstaking process in which Miguel Cotto vs. Canelo Alvarez was eventually made, the younger and lesser accomplished IBF champion should be willing to make greater concessions just to make this fight happen.
Is it fair?
The question is irrelevant in this scenario, just as it was when bringing up the aforementioned Cotto vs. Canelo example.
Although Canelo was arguably the bigger ratings draw and the greater ticket seller leading into the belabored negotiations with the future Hall of Fame, four-division world champion, the young Mexican needed Cotto's moniker on his resume to seemingly escalate his career to the next level of mainstream success. Did Miguel Cotto need Canelo to elevate his respective brand? Absolutely no
So Canelo and his promoter, Golden Boy Promotions, made whatever "reasonable" concessions necessary to Team Cotto just to make the clamored match-up a reality. Although Alvarez was the bigger attraction at the time, Cotto took home the lion's share of the purse split and demanded the fight be held in a neutral setting, which was the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Would it have made more sense to stage the "Mexico vs. Puerto Rico" rivalry match-up in front of tens of thousands more at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas?
But desperate times call for desperate measures, and Canelo desperately wanted a fight against Miguel Cotto.
The same can be said in the case of Wladimir Klitschko versus Anthony Joshua.
Did Hearn and company really think Wladimir Klitschko would be fine competing for Anthony's belt in Manchester, England, where Wlad would be fighting in an unusually hostile setting?
And because Joshua would potentially be defending his IBF trinket in his backyard, where he would be the bigger attraction and the primary ticket seller, I'm sure Hearn rationalized taking a greater chunk of the suggested purse as well.
Is it any wonder why Wladimir, a future, first ballot Hall of Famer and an all-time great heavyweight fighter, is choosing to face Lucas Browne next in Germany instead?
Although the 40 year old attraction would ultimately be taking the assignment for considerably less money, Klitschko more than likely will be facing the Aussie based Heavyweight for the WBA title on December 10...because he can.
How many opportunities is Anthony Joshua going to have throughout his entire career to square off against a Heavyweight as revered and accomplished as Wladimir Klitschko?
When looking at the current landscape of the Heavyweight division, probably never.
A match-up opposite Klitschko is a once in a career type of endeavor for the young Briton.
Wake up, Eddie Hearn!!! Although Anthony Joshua is the current IBF champ and a legitmate draw, give the Heavyweight ring legend his due and make the match-up a reality. Concede...and concede some more.
Your fighter will ultimately be better off as a result.