Now it gets really interesting. As talks have "failed" between the two camps, WBC heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder and mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin are now headed to purse bid, and there's every reason to believe that Povetkin's team will win this, even though Wilder's adviser Al Haymon is considered boxing's biggest power broker.
It's true that Haymon has deep pockets and controls a large part of boxing in the United States, and thus a large part of the biggest fights out there with the biggest names. Povetkin's team, however, has a lot of money behind it for big fights. In 2013, their team put up a record $23 million purse bid to win the rights to a mandatory fight with Wladimir Klitschko, and they brought the fight to Moscow. Klitschko won, of course, but the point is that Povetkin's team has a lot of money.
This has been one of those things we've talked about since this fight was made mandatory. If Povetkin's team wins the purse bid, will Wilder (36-0, 35 KO) agree with the terms to go to Russia, where Povetkin (30-1, 22 KO) and his handlers would no doubt want the fight?
On the one hand, Wilder's style is to knock out opponents, and any fear of crooked scoring seems relatively minimal with him. But he went 12 rounds with Bermane Stiverne, and Povetkin is better than Stiverne. He would be by far the best overall fighter that Wilder has faced to date, in fact. This is a new challenge for Wilder.
There has been some concern among many that if this fight went to purse bid, and Povetkin's side won it, that Wilder and his team would choose to vacate the belt instead of going to Russia. Those concerns were amplified when Charles Martin, another Haymon fighter, won the IBF belt in January. The feeling was that with that belt in their camp, Wilder could vacate and fight Charles Martin to go after another belt immediately. But with Martin now fighting Anthony Joshua on April 9, that isn't an immediate possibility, either.
Of course, all of this is speculation. There is still time before the purse bid actually happens, and the sides could come to a late agreement. Haymon could win the purse bid. If they don't, Wilder might head over to Russia, anyway, feeling totally secure in his power and his chances to win. But boxing is a business, as we are constantly reminded whenever things nobody wants are given to us for reasons that aren't interesting for mere fans of the sport. We'll just have to wait and see how this plays out, but one way or another, hopefully we get this fight.