The heavyweight scene in America is getting closer to being in a place that we the pundits and fans haven’t seen in many a moon.
The Klitschko brothers lockdown on the division came after Lennox Lewis held court over the jumbo sized class, and we haven’t had many hopefuls, great, white, black or otherwise, bubble up and entice us, going on twenty years.
Sure, we’ve been tempted by a few scrappers who maybe had the goods. But right now, with Deontay Wilder coming off his Godzilla stomp of Bermane Stiverne, and Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller combining a formidable Foremanesque physique, with a gift of gab and an easy charm, fans of American heavyweights have some things to latch on to.
Eddie Hearn promotes the man many fans, especially those in the UK, feel is THE MAN at heavyweight, Anthony Joshua. He was just in action, decisioning Carlos Takam. The week after, Wilder tried to seperate the head from the shoulders of Stiverne.
There is more eagerness to know what Joshua is going to do next, especially in context of Wilder, than American fight fans have felt in their guts since…well, probably when we were curious if Mike Tyson would actually try to get the better of long, tall Lennox Lewis, in 2001 into 2002.
Hearn is in the driver’s seat, or co-pilot seat, with Joshua. His kid fills stadiums, so they deserve excess leverage. I asked Hearn for a hint about next for Joshua. Would it be against Wilder? He said that he did have some info, that in fact Thursday morning, before the Danny Jacobs-Luis Arias Manhattan press conference, he’d had a meeting with Wilder peeps. Hearn over omelletes and coffee talked to Shelly Finkel and Al Haymon, advisors to the Alabaman who holds the WBC heavyweight strap. “It was a good meeting,” Hearn said. “I’m not going to go into the ins and outs, but it was a meeting I think everyone left and felt, ‘This has a good chance.’ And I think that’s all we can ask for at this stage. There’s plenty to discuss.”
“But there was an understanding to move forward, to speak to both fighters, to put a road-map together to make this fight. Look at it next, or the one after.”
So there you go, that’s mildly illuminating. They did discuss where that fight should and will unfold and no, didn’t get deep into financial paramters, the Brit deal-maker told me. “A long way to go on both, we have to look at the numbers, we have to look at the venues. Again, very early days. All I can tell you at the moment is, optimistic. Everyone got along, everyone has a desire to make the fight happen, and when that’s the case, normally there’s many more conversations to be had.”
GOOD; that’s basically all we can ask for, save for a lightning bolt surge to make this thing happen ASAP. That’s not usually the boxing way. Business parties typically look to find the best time to craft a fight so it reaches its full money-making potential. That will be the aim here, but Hearn acknowledged that many fans are clamoring for it next. Also, Wilder has had a spate of injuries, so every fight he takes in the interim presents a considerable risk. If he tears a bicept again and is shelved for 6-8 months, then people will have been wishing they’d struck while the iron was hot, if not hot as can be.