Should Wilder vs. Joshua be delayed until 2019?Written by Joseph Herron
It's often said that a successful negotiation happens when both parties come to a mutual agreement, but neither party is completely satisfied.
If WBC Heavyweight title holder Deontay Wilder hopes to face IBF and WBA champion Anthony Joshua in 2018, perhaps the 32 year old puncher from Alabama should remind his personal advisers, Shelly Finkel and Al Haymon, of the aforementioned age old business adage, because currently Team Wilder seemingly has little to no leverage when discussing a potential unification super-fight between the two giant punchers.
Sure Deontay did what he was supposed to do and stopped a grossly overweight and unmotivated version of former titlist Bermane Stiverne. But did he capture the attention of the mainstream and casual sports fans of America with the victory?
Not according to numbers produced by Nielsen Media Research.
Wilder's sensational first round KO of Stiverne on "Showtime" premium cable network only attracted an average of 824,000 viewers during the brief, one-sided beatdown. The numbers aren't impressive when one considers the total number of Showtime subscribers, which is a whopping 23.1 million.
That means, less than 4% of their subscriber base tuned in to see America's WBC Heavyweight champion....according to Nielsen, of course.
And with less than 11K live spectators at Barclays Center last Saturday night, it's easy to understand why very few outside of the die-hard boxing community have any knowledge of the "Bronze Bomber" from Tuscaloosa.
If A.J.'s always outspoken promoter had his druthers, the highly anticipated die-hard match-up would materialize later rather than sooner.
"The Wilder fight is one for next summer," Eddie Hearn recently stated to Fight Hub TV. "I'd really like to see Wilder fight Dillian Whyte in the interim, with the winner fighting Josh in the summer. I think a unification with Parker would be first in March...that is if we can get his team to agree to a more realistic split for both men."
Is Hearn correct in his business assessment? Should Joshua take on WBO Heavyweight trinket holder Joseph Parker first, and allow Wilder some additional time to build his profile and level of public awareness throughout the first two quarters of 2018?
On Thursday's episode of FightSaga Radio, three-decade fight trainer James Gogue stated that it would probably be best to stage the anticipated match-up even later in the year.
"In my opinion, it would be wise to wait till November or December to put this fight together," the expert trainer and boxing manager stated on FightSaga Radio. "This fight just isn't hot enough right now, and really isn't even close to reaching its maximum earning potential."
"Yeah, fight fans are talking about this match-up currently, but very few casual and mainstream fans in America even know who either one of these guys are. This fight has to be nurtured a little while longer if both champions hope to get the kind of money they deserve for such a big fight."
Should Joshua vs. Wilder even take place in 2018? Is 2019 more appropriate for such a big match-up?
To listen to the entire interview with the three-decade boxing coach, press play on the attached radio player below: