After months of negotiations, it now seems that the earliest an Anthony Joshua vs Deontay Wilder fight for the undisputed heavyweight championship can happen is April 2019.
Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn believes that the delay is likely to hurt Wilder's value to the fight, arguing that the American now deserves less money when the pair do eventually meet.
Perhaps predictably, though, Team Wilder disagrees.
Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) will now defend his IBF, WBO and WBA super heavyweight championships against Russia's Alexander Povetkin (34-1, 24 KOs) at Wembley Stadium on September 22, whilst WBC champion Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) is expected to meet former Joshua victim Dominic Breazeale (19-1, 17 KOs).
Per Boxingscene, Hearn feels that the discrepancy between the pair's next two opponents means that Wilder should be prepared to accept a lesser fee for the Joshua fight.
The most recent fee reported to have been offered to Wilder is $15 million - which Hearn insists is still open to acceptance.
"I think the fee should go down," stated Hearn.
"Joshua is going to fight Povetkin, and if he wins, his value will increase significantly, and I don't believe that Wilder will be in a fight that will increase his value.
"The argument that he should get more money, when Joshua's profile continues to rise doesn't make sense. But the good news for them is - the offer is still on the table."
Hearn also revealed that he is hopeful that the presence of Anthony Joshua's signature on a bout agreement will persuade Wilder to agree terms for an April 13 showdown at Wembley.
"We're going to send them this week a new contract with a new date, and Joshua is going to sign the contract, so it's even more black and white.
"A lot of people are saying Joshua wouldn't sign the contract, you don't want the fight, so this way it's - 'here's everything you've agreed, it's signed' When you look at a contract and it's all blank, and then you look at it and there's Anthony Joshua's signature on it, it's a lot more tempting to just get it done, so fingers crossed he'll sign it."
Wilder's chief adviser Shelly Finkel was quick to respond to Hearn's assessment of each fighters value though.
In a separate article from the same outlet, Finkel argued that Wilder had actually performed better than Joshua in recent outings - but stated that he was keen to see Joshua put on a strong performance in his next fight.
"I am not as smart as Eddie, I can't tell the future," Finkel joked.
"But I can tell you what happened in the past, just look at the last two fights of Joshua and the last two of Deontay and it is obvious who looked better. Having said that, I hope Joshua looks great against Povetkin."
Finkel was, however, suspicious of the motive behind Hearn's words - suggesting that they were possibly part of an attempt to disrupt the flow of negotiations for the proposed April fight.
"Barry and Eddie (Hearn) are very smart people. They know how to make a deal when they want to, obviously they also know how to not make a deal when they don't want to.
"Instead of wasting time and posturing with sending us silly papers that they know is going nowhere. Take the time and put something real on the table. Unless maybe this is their way of killing April, also?"
Although Eddie is correct in his summation that Povetkin in held in greater regard than Breazeale as an opponent, the timing of his comments is certainly ill-judged to say the least - especially in view of how delicate negotiations for a Joshua vs Wilder clash have proved so far.
Deontay Wilder's value to the contest is almost entirely dictated by the fact that he is an undefeated holder of the WBC heavyweight title - the last accolade needed for Joshua to complete his quest to become the undisputed champion of the world.
Regardless of how he looks in his next fight, Wilder will retain every inch of his current box office allure so long as he is victorious and leaves in possession of his WBC crown.
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