In more excerpts from his recent view on the heavyweight division, former undisputed champ Lennox Lewis has outlined where the control now lies.
Lewis has been vocal that Anthony Joshua and promoter Eddie Hearn have needed to do more in their quest to become the next title-holder to unify all the belts.
‘The Pugilist Specialist’ believes Joshua was pulling strings until moving the goalposts in negotiations with Wilder last year.
Joshua stated he’d accept $50m to fight Wilder in America. The offer came in 2018, and Joshua said he now wanted home advantage.
Wilder accepted a flat $15m fee, which Lewis recently described as ‘disrespectful to the boxing fraternity. Wanting three major points in the contract, two of those were not met by Joshua.
Hearn only signed paperwork requiring Joshua’s signature. While a rematch clause, no matter the result, was reduced to one only if Joshua lost.
These two decisions ultimately meant Wilder could no longer waste time negotiating.
The American turned his attention to Tyson Fury, and the rest is history.
Following their amazing first encounter in December, Lewis says the pair have become the main players ahead of the rematch.
“The boogeyman in all of this (top three in the division) has been Tyson Fury, who is now back on the scene and looking like his old self,” pointed out Lewis.
“His bout with Wilder was a great fight. And even though I thought Fury won the fight, the draw with Wilder has created a huge public interest in a rematch.
“WilderFury 2 has the potential to make both more than either has ever made in a single fight.
“Whatever the case, this leaves Joshua odd man out until we have a winner between Wilder and Fury. It also leaves Joshua and Hearn in a lesser bargaining position with the winner of WilderFury 2. Something which could have been avoided by putting an acceptable deal on the table with Wilder, to begin with (in 2018).
“By not doing so, Hearn and Joshua fumbled their opportunity to maintain full control of the division. And all of its big money, by letting Tyson Fury swoop in and fight Wilder in his own backyard.
“Now Team Hearn is doing ‘everything possible’ to make the fight happen at a time when a rematch is of more interest to Wilder and Fury. (They know a return) could prove to be very lucrative.
“You can’t tell a man he has no value, then when he goes off to create his own, spout on about how he won’t take your fight now.
“With the public interest for a Wilder-Fury rematch, and the money that it can make. Maybe in the $60m-$90m range puts Joshua in the waiting game for the rematch winner.
“The winner will be able to go into a fight with Joshua on a much higher split. (This will be more) than what Joshua and Hearn had ever intended to do,” he added.