Joshua vs Wilder: Exactly why it doesn't make sense...YetWritten by Leroy Cleveland
Hardcore fans are clamoring for a heavyweight showdown between Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder.
And why shouldn't they? Wilder and Joshua are explosive, entertaining undefeated champions who boast a combined record of 58-0, 57 KO.
Simply put, it's one of the biggest match-ups in boxing today and has the potential to be one of the most celebrated in heavyweight history. Nevertheless, promoter Eddie Hearn refuses to allow Joshua to face Wilder straight away and many, including Wilder, insist Joshua and Hearn are afraid to fight.
But, that's not the case.
So, what's the problem? Why the delay? What can't these goliaths fight each other in March or April?
Answer: Match-up delays persist in boxing for one reason - Not enough public demand. And as long as public demand is weak, the risk will always exceed the reward.
Why should Eddie Hearn and Team Joshua accept a fight with a dangerous champion like Deontay Wilder when they can generate almost as much revenue fighting the Kubrat Pulevs and Fres Oquendos of boxing? After all, Anthony Joshua will have the UK behind him regardless of who he fights.
America is the problem - and will be the solution
At this moment, Americans have little interest in either fighter.
However, as evidenced by the recent successes of Mayweather vs McGregor and even Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin, there's a huge boxing market to in the U.S. that has yet to be tapped.
Americans will pay big money for boxing. And given Deontay is an exciting American heavyweight, there's no reason for this fight to happen without a valiant attempt to picque the interest of casual American fans.
Why leave all that money on the table?
If Hearn and Joshua are even remotely successful in obtaining the attention of casual American fight fans, revenue for Johsua vs Wilder probably doubles or triples. And when both guys can get $20 million or $30 Million apiece, this fight will happen.
If they fought next week, however, Anthony could easily earn $15 Million for facing Wilder in the UK but the latter's purse would be pennies.
Risk vs revenue is the most important element when negotiating a superfight. If Joshua can earn $15 Million fighting Takam, why face a threat like Wilder for that amount or only a million or two more?
In 1988, boxing legend Thomas Hearns refused $2 million offer to fight unbeaten middleweight Michael Nunn, an up-and-coming middleweight belt-holder at the time.
"A fight with Michael Nunn makes no sense," said Prentiss Byrd who handled Hearns's business affairs.
"What good would it do for us to fight him... Of course we want as much money as we can get...""It's all about public demand, not because a fight would be good for a promoter or for the boxing fraternity."
"We want to get people who don't ordinarily go to a boxing match."
Eddie Hearn wants casual fans in the US to warm up to Joshua just as they did to Conor McGregor. And while Joshua's popularity in the US may never reach McGregor's, even a fraction of that would be reap huge dividends for the Joshua vs Wilder superfight.
Boxing history and superfights
Superfights aren't created from the desires of hardcore junkies; They happen as a result of mass demand.
We had to wait awhile for these bouts to happen, and many more:
Leonard vs Hearns I, Tyson vs Spinks, Tyson vs Holyfield, Martinez vs Chavez Jr, Mayweather vs De La Hoya, Mayweather vs Pacquiao, Klitschko vs Haye and, of course, Canelo vs Golovkin.
Acclimating Joshua to Americans
Promoter Eddie Hearn is looking to showcase his British star in the US, hoping to generate some momentum for Joshua vs Wilder in the States.
“Jarrell Miller’s making a lot of noise right now,” promoter Eddie Hearn said earlier this week.
“We look at potential opponents for Anthony Joshua, particularly in the United States and Jarrell Miller’s at the top of the list.”
It would make more sense to introduce Anthony to the American masses, picque Americans' instrest and THEN face have Joshua face Wilder when more Americans are willing to pay for it.
There's an entire, very high-paying market that Wilder and Joshua have yet to tap.