To an outsider, King Ezekiel and Negan could seem to have a lot in common on The Walking Dead. They are both charismatic, larger than life leaders of their respective communities, and it wouldn't come as a surprise if Negan also had some sort of background in theater; the man certainly likes to give a monologue. But comparing the two ultimately only serves to highlight their differences. Whereas Negan's attention-getting antics are his way of inspiring fear and earning a terrified kind of allegiance, Ezekiel seeks to reassure and comfort his people. It's that old fear vs. love Machiavellian argument again. Their differing ideologies are the perfect breeding ground for conflict, but will King Ezekiel and Negan fight on The Walking Dead?
As of right now, the Kingdom is paying its prescribed tithe to the Saviors in an attempt to not make waves. That payment of goods is a secret Ezekiel keeps from the majority of his people, which proves it's something he's not necessarily proud of, but more of a necessarily evil. Tigers aside, he probably doesn't have the means to make a real strike against the powerful Saviors without doing major damage to his community — something Ezekiel likely wants to avoid. This is sure to change, though, as the people of Alexandria and the Kingdom come into closer contact with one another. I say that because becoming allies will give them a greater strength in numbers when it comes to taking Negan down for good.
There's no confirmation yet that Negan and Ezekiel will come to Mortal Kombat-style blows with each other, but they are on opposite sides of the current fight. In the comics, Ezekiel joins forces with Rick to fight the Saviors, and it seems likely that something similar will unfold on the show as well. Rick needs all the help he can get when it comes to defeating Negan, and the Kingdom's mighty ruler is likely also looking to get out from under Negan's thumb. You don't passive aggressively feed someone zombie-infected pigs if everything's cool.
Still, fighting is not Ezekiel's first priority; he cares the most about the safety of his people. According to actor Khary Payton, Ezekiel would need a major push to take up arms against the Saviors. "It's like, there's some people who like to fight and there are other people that don't like to fight until you make them mad," Payton told IGN in an interview, adding:
It's like those old Bruce Lee movies. He didn't want trouble. He's just trying to work in his family's restaurant, then somebody beat the crap out of his cousin or killed his sister and it was like, all he saw is red. It's like, aw crap, you made Bruce Lee mad and everybody is going to die now. I feel kind of like the same way. You know, you really shouldn't poke [Ezekiel]. He's got a scepter, but there's a sword in there.
As long as Ezekiel's people are unharmed, he's willing to comply. Of course, Negan has shown himself more than willing to do some major damage when the mood strikes him (or rather like, when Lucille strikes someone's head), which could end up being the final straw for Ezekiel. And in the fight of bat vs. tiger, I'm voting tiger every time.