Joshua vs Wilder date: Why Team Joshua is reluctant at this momentWritten by Leroy Cleveland
WBA/IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (20-0, 20 KO) vs WBC kingpin Deontay Wilder (39-0, 38 KO), already one of boxing's most desired match-ups, got even hotter last night.
In a mesmerizing performance, Deontay Wilder knocked out Bermane Stiverne, previously the only man of 38 Wilder's opponents to go the distance with him, in the first round.
Now, like his WBA/IBF peer, Wilder has KO'd every opponent he's faced. The difference is, Deontay has stopped 38 professional opponents inside the distance while Joshua 20.
After the fight, Wilder made it very clear who he wanted to fight next:
"Listen, mate [Anthony Joshua].... I declare war on you. Do you accept my challenge?," an animated Deontay told the Showtime broadcasting crew on the air.
"I know I'm the champion...I know I'm the best. Are you up for the test?"
"No more ducking...no more dodging...let's make the fight happen. I will go anywhere in the world to fight AJ! Don't wait...let's make the date!"
So, do we have a tentative Joshua vs Wilder date?
Answer: Not even close.
Is Joshua scared to face Wilder?
Answer: Of course not.
It's all about the money
Risk vs revenue is the most important element when negotiating a superfight. If Joshua can earn $13 Million fighting a journeyman contender like Carlos Takam, why should he face a threat like Wilder for that amount or only $2 or $3 Million more?
Anthony's dynamic performance against fight legend Wladimir Klitschko in April made the former a star. Not only is he more popular than Wilder and iconic in his native England, his purses are much greater.
In a potential Joshua vs Wilder superfight today, Team Joshua would not only bring more to the table, it would clearly have more to lose than Team Wilder.
Let's follow the money.
Joshua vs Wilder purses
For facing Klitschko last April, Joshua received a $13 Million guarantee and a presumed overall purse of $20 Million (source: Bloody Elbow). And for facing Takam, who took that fight on 2 weeks’ notice, Johsua is believed to have received about $13.1 Million (source: Forbes) last weekend.
Last night, Wilder collected only $1.4 Million (source: Forbes) for the Stiverne rematch. And for his previous fight against Gerald Washington last March, Wilder's purse was only $900,000 (Source: BoxingNews 24).
Understandably, Wilder wants what Joshua has. And understandably, Team Joshua would want to be compensated for the risk of facing Joshua.
If Team Joshua can collect upwards of $13 Million for facing "safe" opponents, it would probably want at least double that to face Wilder.
Also, Joshua is still green
Although Anthony would be favored to defeat Wilder if they fought today, Wilder would still be a massive risk because a) Deontay, with 19 first round knockouts, might be the hardest puncher in boxing and b) Joshua is still a bit green.
"Lennox Lewis is one to two levels above these guys (today's top heavyweights)," said fight trainer and boxing expert James Gogue on the FightSaga Radio Show last week.
"But Joshua is coming around. He's still green, though. He's still green."
"He's getting that professional experience... Getting those rounds in."
"His only weakness is inexperience. [For example] He has very limited skills going to the body. He's gotta learn how to work the body more effectively inside."
Moreover, given Wilder's speed and his right hand, arguably the most dangerous weapon in boxing, it would behoove Team Joshua to wait until it makes sense for them to face Wilder.
Superfights aren't created by the desires of hardcore junkies; They happen because of mass public demand.
Joshua isn't scared to fight Wilder but the former's handlers won't allow him to face Deontay until casual fans, specifically American casual fans, show more interest.
If you could earn $13 Million fighting overmatched contenders, would you face this guy for just pennies more?