A heavyweight prospect clash between Bryant Jennings and Deontay Wilder has reportedly been turned down by Golden Boy Promotions, representing Wilder. The fight would have aired on NBC Sports on December 8, when Jennings is slated to headline in Philadelphia.
Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated/NBC Sports/Epix has this:
Why boxing is maddening: Deontay Wilder and Golden Boy pass on a 50-50 offer, no options, to fight Bryant Jennings on NBC Sports. Why? No clue. ... It's not HBO money but HBO wasn't touching Wilder or Jennings yet anyway. Winner would have been a player in HW division. Ugh. ... The money complaint from some in Wilder's camp is puzzling. NBC fees are (usually) higher than ESPN, Fox Deportes, ShoBox.
Wilder (25-0, 25 KO) has fought twice recently, knocking out Kertson Manswell on August 4, and then Damon McCreary on September 8. He's made a lot of noise about stepping up his competition - which fans and media have often cited as a problem, and it's a valid complaint - and he said on Twitter that he didn't turn down the fight, and challenged media to show him the offer and when he passed.
Main Events, representing Jennings (15-0, 7 KO), replied that he would have to talk to his promoter about that.
Wilder's team is insisting that they have something better lined up, and are all in a huff about the media not having the facts in this case. But what's been reported is that Golden Boy turned down the fight. Wilder's team says they didn't consider it a real offer, so that means they're saying the money was low. But then they also say that his 25 wins, 25 KOs run is "credible," and I just can't agree with that. It's nothing against Wilder, really. I actually still think he has legit potential. But the proof hasn't been in the pudding. It's all projection still.
"They're just using Deontay's name to try to prop up what they're doing. If the offer was the right offer, then that would be a different thing. The offer, at this point, is not an acceptable offer. ... Deontay's locked in for Dec. 15, and we think that's on Showtime. So there may be the possibility of them bringing Jennings our way instead of us going their way. Right now, with Jennings trying to fight us in his own hometown, that makes the offer even more off base."
As for Jennings and Main Events, I'm sure they'll just move on to the next option. It's too bad, because this is a fight I would have liked to see, and I think most fans would have, too.