After seemingly reaching a breakthrough, negotiations for a heavyweight unification fight between Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua collapsed this week.
The WBA grew impatient with the lack of progress over months of talk and finally stepped in to demand that Joshua defend his championship against mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin.
That fight is now set to take place in September, with any potential Wilder v Joshua matchup having to wait until April.
It’s not exactly the world’s biggest surprise, considering how the negotiations have gone and the accusations on both sides throughout.
Eddie Hearn, representing Joshua, has long suggested that Wilder and co. were deliberately trying to steer clear of the fight, while Wilder’s side is adamant that they put forward a perfectly reasonable $50m offer.
Now that things have ceased, albeit temporarily should Joshua defeat Povetkin, it has allowed more room for antagonising.
And Wilder has jumped at the chance to do just that.
After the American initially sent out a tweet where he claimed that he was willing to accept a lower fee for the fight, Hearn responded by simply telling him to ‘sign the contract’.
That, however, appeared to push Wilder over the edge as he proceeded to lay into Hearn, eventually calling him a ‘disease on the sport’.
Wilder was also quick to criticise Hearn’s venture into the US with DAZN (assuming that’s what he means by DEZNUTS – it probably is).
Matchroom Boxing, Hearn’s promotion company, entered a partnership with the sports app to promote and stream boxing, with the goal of bringing more US-based fighters into his stable.
Wilder, however, doesn’t appear to think that’s going to happen, feeling that Hearn has damaged his reputation by turning down a huge amount of money for his star client – prompting the ‘disease’ comment.
Hearn will feel he had good reason to, though, believing Joshua to be the superstar of the division and worth more than Wilder’s team was ever happy to offer.
This one certainly isn’t over and will likely rumble on throughout the year if both men still hold their respective titles after September.
Hopefully things move a bit quicker next time.