IT all amounts to not much more than a my-dad’s-bigger-than-your-dad playground squabble, but Deontay Wilder says his WBC world heavyweight title means more than the WBA, IBF and WBO versions belonging to Anthony Joshua and it is for this reason he is demanding a 50/50 split should the two ever negotiate a fight deal.
The heavy-handed American cares little about the 3-1 edge in belts Joshua enjoys, nor the fact the Londoner is one of the most marketable sports stars in Britain. Instead, he is sticking to his guns, placing faith in the prestige of his WBC title, and adamant he is as worthy of an equal share of the pot of gold.
You can’t fault the stubbornness. Recently, Wilder rejected a three-fight deal with streaming platform DAZN, reportedly worth in the region of $100 million, which would have culminated in a couple of fights against Joshua. He rejected it, by all accounts, because he wanted to remain loyal to Showtime and because DAZN refused to tell him how much Joshua stood to make in any potential deal involving the two champions.
“Loyalty is everything; it’s the foundation of success,” Wilder told The Schmo. “How can you do negotiations, a deal, if we don’t know what the other party is doing?
“Whatever the fight was worth, let’s say $3, and you give me $1 and he gets the rest of the pot – I’m lowering my standards. That’s not right to me.
“The only way this fight is going to happen is if it’s 50/50. I don’t care what it is.
“At this point in time it ain’t even about the belts. I’m the hottest, most talked about fighter in the world right now and I got one belt.
“I got the one belt that means more than all the other belts. That’s that green WBC belt, the most precious and beautiful belt in boxing. Every great fighter has had this belt. If they want to correct that, it’s going to be right down the line.”
Wilder may have a point. The WBC belt is pretty. It also has a pretty rich history.
Then again, in this era of the non-title super-fight and money-spinning catchweight fight, belts don’t mean half as much as they used to. Wilder presumably knows this, too.
Though he often polarises, angers and frustrates, you have to admire the way Kid Galahad has embraced the bad guy role ahead of his IBF featherweight title fight against Josh Warrington in Leeds on June 15.
Galahad, the IBF mandatory challenger, has endured countless put-downs and accusations during the build-up but seems unmoved by it all. He doesn’t mind being called a “drug cheat” and “disgrace to the sport” by Warrington, nor did he mind being heckled and berated by Warrington’s Leeds fans at a recent press conference. Stoic and silent, Galahad brushed it all off and assured Warrington and his loyal followers he would issue his response in the ring on June 15.
Whether he manages to do so remains to be seen, but it’s a sensible stance to take in the face of some particularly stinging criticism. It’s also, one suspects, planned.
“Emotions can get you seriously hurt, and Josh is an emotional man,” Galahad, 29, warned. He always goes in there with his heart on his sleeve.
“When we get in there it is going to be a very exciting night for me. When we go in there people are going to expect a very even fight, but it’s going to be a one-sided beatdown.
“It is my destiny and I am here now. I am going to rip that title from him in his home town.”
According to Galahad, he will beat Warrington so severely that the champion’s father, Sean O’Hagan, will be left with no option but to throw in the towel to save him from further punishment. Ouch. No wonder the Warringtons and their white army are counting down the days.