Heavyweight world titleholder Deontay Wilder, who has been vocal about his desire to make bigger money and to have bigger fights, could be on his way.
Wilder, along with managers Shelly Finkel and Al Haymon and promoter Lou DiBella, met with DAZN executive chairman John Skipper and members of his staff in New York on Tuesday about a possible deal that would bring Wilder to the sports streaming service and include a potential fall fight for the undisputed heavyweight championship against three-belt titleholder Anthony Joshua, who is also fighting on DAZN.
"We did (meet) but nothing was resolved and internally we are going to continue to talk about it and then we will get back to them, but it went well," Finkel told ESPN.
DAZN, which signed unified middleweight world champion Canelo Alvarez to an athlete-record five-year, 11-fight, $365 million deal last fall; Gennady Golovkin to a three-year, six-fight, nine-figure deal last week; and also is working with Joshua on a fight-by-fight basis, has made signing Wilder a priority.
If it lands Wilder it would give the service, which relies on monthly subscriptions rather than selling fights individually on pay-per-view, a potential third fight between Alvarez and Golovkin and Joshua-Wilder. They are easily the two biggest fights in boxing and would both take place in the fall as long the boxers win interim bouts.
Skipper has been coy about the talks with Wilder. He attended a news conference on Monday in Los Angeles with Golovkin to discuss his new deal and when asked about the Wilder talks he declined to acknowledge them.
"I will not characterize them all, or even confirm them," Skipper said. "We have discussions with people and until we announce I rarely comment on them until we announce, so I don't have anything to announce, so no comment other than we're interested in having the best fights on DAZN and we will put the fights on that people want to see. It's pretty clear that one fight people want to see is Joshua and Wilder."
Wilder, who is part of Haymon's Premier Boxing Champions and has been fighting on Showtime, has said that he is a broadcast free agent. He is also a promotional free agent but is close to DiBella, who has been promoting his fights. Wilder turned down an offer from Top Rank last month to fight this spring or early summer for $12.5 million followed by a rematch of his Dec. 1 draw with lineal champion Tyson Fury, who recently signed with Top Rank, for at least $20 million this fall.
Joshua promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing was also chasing Wilder with a contract offer in order to sign him and bring him to DAZN, where he has an output deal, for a fight with Joshua. But Wilder, Haymon and Finkel have a poor relationship with Hearn and to get a deal with Wilder done, Hearn said it would be up to Skipper to negotiate a deal as he had done with Golovkin and Alvarez.
"I think we've got a brilliant chance of making the Joshua fight," Hearn said on Saturday night at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York, following the Dmitry Bivol-Joe Smith Jr. light heavyweight title bout he promoted.
"I've reached out a dozen times to make offers (to Wilder). Skipper has to be the one, in my opinion, who brokers the deal ... He already proved through the Canelo and Golovkin signings that he's very good at doing this. I think he'll get Wilder. I think he will put the deal together. (Skipper) spoke to me and said what do I think? I said go for it. Me and Shelly aren't going to get a deal done and me and Wilder aren't going to get a deal done. So (Skipper is) the one to get it done."
DiBella recently arranged for Wilder and Skipper to speak over the phone about a week ago as a way for them to meet each other and get the ball rolling, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs), 33, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is due to have his ninth title defense against mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale (20-1, 18 KOs), 33, of Eastvale, California, whose first title shot ended in a seventh-round knockout loss to Joshua in 2016. Wilder-Breazeale has been penciled in for May 18 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on Showtime PPV. It was a fight pushed to pay-per-view because Showtime could not compete with the money being offered by Top Rank and Hearn.
But if Wilder signs with DAZN, the Breazeale fight would be the first of the deal.
Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs), 29, of England, meantime, is set to fight Jarrell "Big Baby" Miller (23-0-1, 20 KOs), 30, of Brooklyn, on June 1 at Madison Square Garden in New York. If Wilder and Joshua both win their interim fights and Wilder signs with DAZN, they would likely meet for the undisputed title in the fall.
There are, of course, many details to iron out, including the prospect of a two-fight deal where each fighter has the right to an immediate rematch and the location of the fight. Joshua is making his United States debut against Miller because DAZN is paying him tens of millions to leave his comfort zone in the United Kingdom, where he is a major star and his fights regularly sell out stadiums. But if Wilder and Joshua are fighting on the same broadcast platform it would make solving those issues much easier.
The DAZN offer to Wilder would pay him at least $20 million for the first fight, according to a source, with a Joshua fight being worth more than double that amount.