Well, we wanted drama in the heavyweight division for a long time, and now we’ve got plenty of it — although it’s not coming from the top fighters facing each other.
The latest developing story is that WBC heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder will meet with DAZN’s John Skipper next week, according to The Ring’s Mike Coppinger.
Promoter Lou DiBella set up the meeting between Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KO) and Skipper, and Coppinger writes that the potential move could result in fight fans getting a full division unification, plus big time money for Wilder:
Skipper is expected to lay out a multi-fight offer to Wilder that would pay him at least $20 million per fight on DAZN; the second bout of the deal would pit Wilder against Anthony Joshua in a fight for the undisputed heavyweight championship.
The most recent plan for Wilder is for him to fight Dominic Breazeale on May 18 on Showtime pay-per-view. The Wilder-Breazeale fight came together after a whole other series of messes. Wilder was originally ordered by the WBC to rematch Tyson Fury, and the sanctioning body also ordered Breazeale, already the mandatory challenger, to face “silver” champion Dillian Whyte for an interim title.
But Fury signed with Top Rank and ESPN instead, and scrapped plans for the immediate rematch with Wilder. That made the WBC change course, ordering Wilder-Breazeale instead. Top Rank did offer Wilder a deal, for what it’s worth, but they were turned down.
And all of that left top contender Whyte out in the cold for the second time this year. He had previously turned down a rematch with WBA/WBO/IBF titleholder Anthony Joshua on April 13 at Wembley Stadium, and Joshua changed course, signing to fight Jarrell Miller on June 1 at Madison Square Garden. And now Whyte is reportedly close to signing with Top Rank and ESPN, though the Wilder/DAZN story could potentially play into his decision there, too. If all of the major heavyweight belts are going to be with DAZN-contracted fighters, a move away from that might not make sense.
So yes, there’s a lot going on in the heavyweight division this year. It’s not what most of us want to see — which is, y’know, the top fighters facing each other — but we might be getting there. Maybe.