With Brexit negotiations still ongoing as we head towards the 29 March deadline the Heavyweight Division seems determined to follow the path of a complex and uncertain future of a deal or no-deal agreement.
If you thought Brexit was complicated enough than Boxit will leave your mind boggling and your love for heavyweight boxing declining as each day passes.
Last week’s announcement of Anthony Joshua defending his IBF, WBO & WBA World Heavyweight titles against Jarrell Miller at Madison Square Garden in New York City was underwhelming but the news of Tyson Fury signing, what is believed to be a 5-fight deal with ESPN, has left us feeling even more disappointed.
You can’t begrudge Fury for signing a deal that will see him pocket an estimated £80m and £16m a fight but the addition of another network and promoter in Top Rank’s, Bob Arum is a cause for concern when it comes to negotiating the big fights. It has been well documented that Arum and Deontay Wilder’s promoter Al Haymon do not see eye-to-eye, which could affect those long drawn out hours at the negotiating table.
We can only hope that the promoter rivalry will be put to on-side for the benefit of the sport but what of the network rivalry between Showtime and ESPN? Well, thankfully that may not be a stumbling block after all with Wilder publicly stating;
“I’m a free agent, I can fight anyone, I don’t necessarily have to fight on the networks that I’m on, I can fight anywhere.”
Question is can we trust all parties involved to leave their egos at the door and be as transparent when getting this deal done? We will have to wait and see.
At least WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman believes the fight is still doable after ordering the Wilder-Fury rematch, he told journalist Gareth Davies;
“In the next few days we will get the current position from both sides (Fury & Wilder) and if there is an amicable agreement to make the fight, we will make a ruling from our committee.”
In theory there isn’t as many obstacles in the way as first thought but it’s further away than it was last week which has sent social media into a Boxit frenzy. Many have seen this latest deal as a disaster that will ruin the sport and turn our new casual fan away from boxing. It’s a valid point but sometimes our impulsive reactions to breaking news can also affect boxing’s newcomers in the same way so the benefit of time and perception is needed in boxing and in life.
Fury has increased his value after picking himself up off the canvas in the twelfth-round last year, so ESPN have ceased their opportunity to get a piece of the heavyweight pie because the division is the best it’s been since the 90’s and currently generating millions.
Therefore, the chances of rematch on ESPN and BT Sport in the United States is still a very strong possibility with Fury having bigger bargaining chips than he had previously. If Team-Fury were being completely transparent than they would even have to admit that the Lineal title status is not enough to secure a bigger percentage of the pot especially when they know deep down, it remains vacant.
Looking at the bigger picture beyond the Fury-Wilder rematch, negotiations are going to be very difficult. Joshua with Sky Sports and Eddie Hearn; Fury with BT Sport, ESPN, Frank Warren and Arum while Wilder is with Haymon and Finkle.
Although Hearn would prefer AJ to fight on DAZN he is not affiliated to that network so maybe a deal could be agreed with Fury at some stage? For instance, they fight on one network in the UK (Sky) and the other in the US (ESPN) with a rematch clause that does the reversal? That is of course if Hearn and Warren can put their differences to one-side for the greater good of their fighters and us fans?
Common sense and logic will prevail, but unfortunately greed and jealousy will always be present, which isn’t too different from the politics in Britain.
Boxit: Fight or no-fight deal? I’m none the wiser but will remain optimistic
@JohnnoSE23 Sounds out…