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Joshua/Wilder: The Calm Before The Storm?

Wilder's Team Call Joshua's Bluff $50m Plus Is On The Table. But Will AJ Sign?

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By Aaron Cooper

The Heavyweight Championship of the World has long been thought of as the very pinnacle of boxing, and one of the greatest prizes in sports. The division itself synonymous with some of the biggest stars and most memorable household names in history. If you were to go out into the realms of the even most casual of boxing fandom they could all tell you who Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, or Lennox Lewis were, and it many cases for the slightly older fans among us; most of us have seen the latter two fight on more than one occasion. Even if you do not follow boxing religiously.  

Sadly over the course of time interest in boxing’s premier division has waned. Largely in part due to the emergence of truly exception boxing talent in multiple weight divisions below, where the depth of talent has simply made them more competitive. If you were to try and put a finger on why the division has smoldered into ashes you could probably quantify the problem threefold. Whilst there are cases that the Klitschko brothers should be remembered as two great titans of the division. Their dominance over the last decade and safety first approach to the way in which they fought didn't excite the fans enough. There was no reason to entice fans to continue to pay attention, and the division began to sleep. Secondly, the once rich talent pool of heavyweights that we had all enjoyed so very much in the 90’s had diminished. We were left wanting, as the talent that had replaced them were not like for like replacements, but lesser talents than those that they succeeded, especially with a real lack of American heavyweight talent. Which in turn led the networks to effectively pour the last drops of water on the fire that was once a booming division.

But this isn’t a eulogy for the once great division. Oh, no ladies and gentleman. Do not fret. For new Titans have emerged. In particular two new stars who themselves carry the torches that could very well be set to set boxing’s premier division alight once more.

One could argue that the journey’s to greatness for Britain’s Anthony Joshua and Americas Deontay Wilder are written in the stars. Both men have been able to translate Olympic glory into world title gold, and whilst their personalities are poles apart they are both more similar than they perhaps think.

Joshua’s professional journey began following Olympic triumph in his native London in 2012. He quickly established himself as one of, if not the best emerging talents in the division. His calm demeanor and charming personality making way for a destructive force as soon as he steps inside the squared circle. An imposing figure that stalks his opponent primed to unleash heavy artillery that no one has proved able to cope with.

Much like his British rival. Deontay Wilder too turned professional following an Olympic triumph, albeit winning a different colour of precious metal. But like Joshua, Wilder to has left a path of destruction in his wake. What he lacks in technical skill, he makes up for with a raw explosive power. Such power does he posses that all but one of his 38 victims have been laid waste to his crude but effective methods.

These two men have been on a collision course for what seems like an age. But whilst we as boxing fans, hardcore or otherwise having been crying out for these two combatants to finally meet. A cold war has existed between the two thus far. That was of course up until last night. Matchroom's initial offer to the educated boxing fan amongst us was indeed a lowball. $12.5 million is indeed six times Wilder's highest payday. But in a fight where astronomical sums of money are possible, I can't argue that it felt a little light, and if you don't then my friends forgive me, but you don't understand the business. But the American's manager, Shelly Finkel might well have just saved the biggest fight in boxing...

The counter offer from Wilder's team is simple $50 million or 50% of revenue. Whichever is bigger. A venue and date have not been mentioned, but one has to think that this fight will have to be in America to make the most of the potential PPV revenues. 

Whilst this still remains hearsay, this is as close as we've ever been to the fight, and as soon as it's signed on the dotted line. You can be sure that i will be telling you as fast as my fingers will allow!!