Ever since WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs) declared he was a free agent who could sign with any network, a high-profile bidding war has commenced.
After turning down Top Rank/ESPN last month, DAZN’s John Skipper swooped in with a reported three-fight offer worth roughly $100 million, with two of those bouts consisting of showdowns with WBA/IBF/WBO champion Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) for an average of $40 million. The first fight of that agreement would’ve been an already scheduled May 18th bout vs. mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale, which had previously been penciled in for a thoroughly unwanted Showtime PPV.
Wilder, who’s part of Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, appears to be rejecting that offer too.
Both Mike Coppinger and Chris Mannix report that Wilder vs. Breazeale won’t be on DAZN, with Mannix saying it’s expected that Wilder is turning down DAZN, while Coppinger states that Deontay is in the process of finalizing a new multi-fight contract. A new contract with whom? That remains to be seen.
The Wilder vs. Breazeale formal announcement is set for Tuesday, March 19th at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. No network was named, so all details should be revealed by then. The early assumption to make is that he’s signing an actual deal with Showtime or FOX and will remain under PBC in the long-term, essentially making it so that if a Joshua fight happens, it has to be on a PBC platform and on PPV.
Of course, the plan was for Wilder to rematch Tyson Fury on May 18th after their thrilling December draw, but then Fury pulled a stunning detour and signed a lucrative contract with ESPN/Top Rank. You would think that signing a massive contract with DAZN that appears to not extend beyond a Joshua rematch would be reason enough to jump ship, but I suppose Haymon and the rest of Wilder’s team have other ideas.
…I just want to know what Teddy Atlas thinks of all this.