Deontay Wilder will defend his WBC heavyweight title against Dominic Breazeale in the Barclays Center, Brooklyn on May 18. It’s not an ideal fight, but at least there is a grudge element to add a touch of spice to proceedings.
The fans want to see Joshua vs Wilder. Instead, both champions have challengers to deal with before they hopefully fight each other. Out of Dominic Breazeale and Joshua’s opponent, Jarrell Miller, which boxing underdog has the better chance of upsetting applecart? I’d say, Miller. Breazeale is a big lump, has shown he can sustain a fair degree of punishment and has a dig about him. But surely he’s too slow to cause Wilder significant issues. His physical prowess and toughness could help him see the second portion of the fight. Wilder should be looking to eliminate him soon after, as comparisons will be made between Wilder’s performance and how Joshua dealt with the lumbering California tree trunk.
Wilder’s punch power is his greatest asset. If he can find and hit an opponent, then there’s a very high chance they’ll find themselves staring up at the bright lights as the referee doles out the final count. However, if Wilder is unable to find his opponent and land clean, then there is a chance he will struggle. Tyson Fury led him a merry dance at times.
DAZN head honcho John Skipper met with Wilder and tried to woo the Alabama hard-hitter across to his fledgeling network. Respective two and three-fight offers were made. Deontay went thumbs down on both. One can only assume that despite the proposals appearing on the surface to be economically alluring, they may have contained numerous clauses, subclauses, Santa Clauses and other legal tripwires.
Wilder turned the advances down, backed himself to earn well as a free agent and put trust in the magical payment powers of Al Haymon. Wilder has done a lot of personal brand work. The 33-year-old is undeniably more recognisable on the streets of America today than he was when Eddie Hearn -through the medium of IFL- tried to pick out randomers and quiz them on Deontay’s very existence.
If anyone can help Wilder nurture a string of healthy pay packets, then it’s the aforementioned king of the shadows – Al Haymon. This is the guy that helped guide Floyd Mayweather to some of the most lucrative pay-per-view opportunities in recent years. When Al speaks, fighters listen – and get paid. As DAZN reportedly moves towards a $19.99 subscription offering, they are busy putting those dollars to work to entice the most prominent names. Whichever contract is the most fulfilling and rewarding, Wilder and his team will find it and sign on the dotted line. You can be sure of that.