Boxing's Biggest Attraction: Joshua vs Wilder
Source: Getty Images
"What could be better than walking down any street in any city and knowing you're the heavyweight champion of the world?"
The late great Rocky Marciano said it best, and isn't it true? The world of boxing, heck the world itself has always stopped and awed at the biggest prize in the sport, the Heavyweight championship of the world. Soon either Anthony Joshua or Deontay Wilder will lay claim to the thrown of boxing's undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the world, and everyone should be talking about it.
Only once every few decades is the sports world been gifted with two larger than life athletes who also live up to the bill. Dempsey-Firpo in the 20's, Marciano-Walcott in the 50's, Ali-Frazier in the 70's, Bowe-Holyfield in the 90's, and now we potentially have Joshua-Wilder. I say potentially because Anthony still has to beat the New Zealander Joseph Parker on March 31st, although "AJ" is the massive favourite. With that aside let's examine this heavily anticipated fight.
In a lot of ways these guys are very similar, but also very different. Both men passed through the olympics, Wilder placing in the Bronze position, Joshua finished with the Gold. Both men are over 6'5, and have exciting power. And both men are very confident in their ability to knock the other out. You would be hard pressed to find two current Heavyweights that are building this much buzz as well. The world saw Joshua rally against Vladimir Klitschko in a fight for the ages last year, and earlier this month we saw Wilder do the same against Luis Ortiz, this is where the similarities end though. Joshua has all the major sponsors one could dream of, he has the social media mainstream following, and has the style that dazzles the crowd. Wilder on the other hand has a unique story of his own. His daughter was diagnosed with Spina Bifida as an infant, and chose the fight life out of necessity. He doesn't have the sponsors that maybe he should, and although his following is growing, detractors still say his style and resume don't stack up to that of Joshua's. The career paths these two have had are vastly different, and that's what makes this fight so intriguing.
Aside from how well these men stack up in the ring, one needs to look at how well they stack promoters wallets. After all finances are almost as important as the fight itself. Joshua is based out of Britain and according to his promoter Eddie Hearn the Joshua-Klitschko fight amassed 1.5 million buys in the U.K. alone. Stateside HBO and Showtime viewings combined for almost as much with 1.4 million. Those numbers are staggering given the state of boxing today. Also the young Brit took home a cool 21 million dollars (15 million pounds), which again is impressive for boxing's current day climate. However Wilder's numbers don't fall far behind. His last bout with Ortiz generated a peak viewing of 1.2 million on Showtime, and considering it went head-to-head with HBO's PPV as well as the UFC's, it made out pretty well. In spite of the viewing success the clash had Wilder only took home about 2 million dollars for the fight. Joshua is definitely the "A-side", but both sides will definitely be looking for a raise, and rightfully so. This fight has the ability to draw worldwide attention.
In terms of where the fight will take place both camps have expressed interest in Las Vegas, home of pretty much every mega fight in the past 30 years. That means Joshua is willing to give up home field advantage and would be fighting outside of England for the first time in his professional career. Regardless of where the fight winds up, everything about this matchup is massive. The combatants are massive, the paycheques will be massive, the audience will be massive, and needless to say the impact on the boxing landscape will be massive as well.