Deontay Wilder’s co-manager and advisor Shelly Finkel has revealed further details to WBN of the $50m offer made to Anthony Joshua earlier this year.
Despite making the biggest offer of all time to a world heavyweight champion to defend his belts in the United States, Joshua turned down the deal in favor of defending his titles in the UK.
Week of negotiations ended on Tuesday when Joshua and his team moved on to a mandatory fight with Alexander Povetkin, which has since been revealed they never asked for an exception to avoid.
According to the WBA rules, a unification fight overrules a mandatory, something Joshua himself used in 2017 when putting his IBF belt on the line against then WBA ‘super’ and IBO champion Wladimir Klitschko.
With no mention of any mandatory stipulation towards Joshua on the WBA website, Finkel told WBN on Tuesday that Joshua would almost certainly have been allowed to get special dispensation to fight Wilder, avoiding any need to adhere to the WBA statement to fight Povetkin – which was released on the same day.
As even a UK fight between Joshua and Wilder now collapses, Finkel was still dumbfounded at how ‘AJ’ would turn down the original offer to headline a massive Pay-Per-View event on US soil, which would possibly only be secondary in earnings to Floyd Mayweather’s money-spinning fights against Manny Pacquiao and Conor McGregor.
Revealing some negotiations over parts of the US deal did take place, Finkel exclusively told World Boxing News: “Eddie wanted assurances from us that the fight would be on Sky Sports in the UK and we said; ‘As we are putting up $50m, as long as Sky matches any other bid they got it’.
“We just didn’t want Sky to post a low number on Pay-Per-View and we could have gotten more to recoup the $50m which would have been on Showtime PPV in the US. If he took the $50m that would have been our choice. We also acknowledged that if they are paying us $15m (instead for a UK fight), he could just go on Sky – there’s not really a question about that.”
Adding further on his disappointment, Finkel outlined that Joshua would definitely have made even more than the straight $50m for the US fight, plus another huge amount of cash for the rematch in the UK.
“Deontay said it best when he said; ‘I want this fight…and if my manager or advisors or my mother told me not to I would still do it.
“At the end of the day, I think his team doesn’t want it because they know their gravy train ends when Deontay beats him. And if Joshua really wanted it, he would overrule them.
“I tell you this, nobody would talk Deontay out of 50 million dollars, so I question the desire of Joshua. The fight would have seen him make the 50 million for a fight in Las Vegas. It would have been an enormous fight.
“I believe he would have made over $50m with Pay-Per-View as it’s massive this fight. It would have also included a 50-50 rematch clause in the UK but he doesn’t even answer that offer.
“He couldn’t say, ‘I’m afraid of Deontay, I’m not ready and my team thinks it will be better another time. He just doesn’t want this fight,” said Finkel.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay