Anthony Joshua turned down the chance to fight Deontay Wilder in 2018, according to Shelly Finkel.
The American, who co-manages Wilder alongside the legendary Al Haymon, was at the negotiation table with Matchroom Boxing in an attempt to organise a world heavyweight title unification bout.
At the time of talks, Joshua had conclusively beaten Joseph Parker on points to claim the WBO strap, while Wilder had just defended his WBC belt.
However, talks over a potential match-up never materialised and both sides left the negotiating table feeling frustrated.
Joshua went on to knock out mandatory WBA challenger Alexander Povetkin at Wembley before the ‘Bronze Bomber’ took on Tyson Fury in a pulsating, yet controversial draw.
Fast forward 11 months and the Brit is looking to reclaim his world titles from Andy Ruiz Jr and Wilder is taking on Ortiz once again. But, as Finkel revealed to iFL TV, it could have all been so different.
“We feel, if you are a champion, you want to fight the best out there,” Finkel said. “Deontay has always wanted to fight the best.
“Contrary to what some other people said, he always wanted the fight with Joshua and I think with time it proved what Deontay is.
“And now he has got to prove it again Saturday and then, pretty soon after, we will discuss and put together the last pieces of the Fury puzzle.”
He added: “Before the fight [against Ruiz Jr], I read where Joshua went out and said ‘it took me seven rounds to knock out [Dominic] Breazeale and if Deontay takes eight it shows who is the better fighter’.
“And then Deontay destroyed him in one and after that, Joshua said publicly ‘I am shocked how he did it’ and it played on him.
“So I don’t know if he really wanted to, because we offered $50million and he didn’t take it.”
When Fury went to Los Angeles in December 2018 to take on the WBC champion, the pair put on a spectacular performance which left fans clamouring for a sequel.
And, according to Finkel, we may get to see that fight in 2020. “There’s a couple of points that need to be tied up,” he added.
“Even if certain parts are signed, it won’t matter til this fight is over, til their side is over.
“You know, a lot of things.”