The next big heavyweight boxing clash is now on the horizon: Anthony Joshua vs. Deontay Wilder offers at least the hope of becoming an epic rivalry. It is a predictable sign of the times that many fans seem far more interested in debating not who will win but how the money should be divided.
Wilder partisans insist that the Joshua camp’s recent low-ball offer of a purse split are a true indication of their fear for the American Bronze Bomber. Earlier this week Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn put a $12.5 million, “take it or leave it” offer on the table. Joshua himself would likely pocket as much as $30 million, if not more.
That $12.5 million offer would be far more than Wilder has earned to date. But it would work out to less than 30 percent of the revenue. Wilder’s own manager, Shelly Finkel told The Ring this week that anything less than a 60-40 split would be unacceptable. Lou Dibella who has been Wilder’s promoter of record to date, said the offer indicates that “Eddie doesn’t want the fight right now.”
From a pro-Joshua perspective, the Brit clearly has more drawing power at this case, at least in the United Kingdom, where he has routinely sold out huge stadiums. Joshua could easily make $25 million or a bit more in a fight with the Russian Alexander Povetkin, who recorded a stunning knockout of David Price on the undercard for Joshua’s fight last month with Joseph Parker. Joshua could make $20 million or more fighting somebody like Jarrell Miller or Kubrat Pulev.
Wilder does not have the same sort of options. He made just over $2 million, a career record, for his fight last month with Luis Ortiz. From a financial perspective, Wilder needs Joshua more.
But ultimately, the need goes both way. If Wilder continues to knock out opponents in stunning fashion and Joshua continues to low-ball him with offers, eventually the demand for the fight will reach fever pitch. From a boxing perspective, Joshua vs. Wilder already makes more sense than anything else. Soon it will be the same thing from a business perspective, as well.