For months, Gennady Golovkin was widely believed to be the last remaining network free agent left in the boxing market. But in the wake of the former middleweight titlist being scooped up by DAZN, it seems there still exists at least one more attractive option whose services remain available to the highest bidder.
Unbeaten heavyweight titlist Deontay Wilder hasn’t all been shy about revealing his market status in recent weeks, and in fact has positioned himself to field offers from all major boxing platforms. Chief among them is DAZN, who is prepared to meet with the 6’7” knockout artist from Alabama in the coming days.
For now, the suggestion of a secured meeting with DAZN boss John Skipper—as first reported by boxing scribe Mike Coppinger—is being dismissed as premature by members of Wilder’s team. However, it’s clear that his once-thought status as exclusively beholden to outlets currently in business with adviser Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions is no longer the case.
“There’s a lot of craziness going on right now, from who he was going to fight next to (what platform) that fight will take place,” Shelly Finkel, Wilder’s longtime manager said to BoxingScene.com, while also dismissing the suggestion of a currently scheduled meeting with DAZN. “Hopefully in the coming week, we will know more about all of this.”
Along with his services in general, also up for bid is Wilder’s next ring assignment as he will defend his heavyweight title versus mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale. The bout will likely take place on May 18 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, a date and location once reserved for a hoped-for rematch with Tyson Fury, with whom Wilder (40-0-1, 39KOs) fought to a 12-round draw last December atop a Showtime Pay-Per-View event
The two sides were in talks for months to finalize terms for a sequel on the same platform. A deal was thought to be in reach, only for Fury (27-0-1, 19KOs) and promoter Frank Warren to drop a major bombshell in mid-February, announcing a long-term pact with Top Rank and ESPN.
Shortly thereafter, Fury informed the World Boxing Council (WBC)—whose title Wilder has held since Jan. ‘15—that he was no longer interested in a straightaway rematch, leaving the door open for Breazeale (22-1, 20KOs) to enforce his mandatory challenger status.
Wilder-Breazeale appeared to be a lock to head for Showtime until the defending heavyweight titlist saw his price tag skyrocket after his own sit-down with ESPN brass. Wilder was offered a lucrative contract that would’ve called for a $12.5 million payday right out the gate, terms which prompted PBC and Showtime to consider the Pay-Per-View route.
Whatever comes of his rumored meeting with DAZN figures to only further drive up the price tag for this and all future bouts. While he’s not yet ready to fly from the nest, the long-reigning titlist is certainly prepared to sit and listen to all available offers.
“All things are open to discussion,” Wilder noted during a recent interview on Tha Boxing Voice podcast. “Showtime is in the conversation, though. Don’t get it twisted. Showtime has been loyal, they’re very much in the discussion.”