By Dan Ambrose: Ticket sales have been slow for Saturday’s fight between WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (34-0, 33 KOs) and #11 WBC Johann Duhaupas (32-2, 20 KOs) for their fight on Premier Boxing Champions on NBC from the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama.
According to Fight News, 6,500 tickets have been sold for the 12,300 arena, with many of the tickets being sold in the last two days. There’s still two days before the fight, so there’s an outside chance that the remainder of the 5,800 tickets could be sold before the start of the fight card at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT on Saturday night.
This is perhaps a lesson to the 29-year-old Wilder and his adviser Al Haymon that they need to be facing better opposition than fighters like Duhaupas and Eric Molina. Wilder needs to be fighting opponents with at least a chance of winning. You can’t really say that with the 32-year-old Duhaupas because he’s got zero punching power, and he’s not ever beaten anyone of note that would give you the idea that he can pull off an upset on Saturday night against the 6’7” Wilder.
The Wilder-Duhaupas weigh-in is today at 1:00 p.m. at the Legacy Plaza Courtyard for boxing fans interested in traveling there to see the fighters before Saturday’s bout. Wilder is a huge 30:1 favorite to win.
The Wilder vs. Duhaupas fight will be on primetime on NBC, which virtually assures that there will be good ratings for the card despite the fight not being a competitive one on paper, and an interesting one in the minds of boxing fans. It’s a spoiled opportunity to impress the casual fans that will be watching the fight.
Instead of Wilder being matched up against an opponent that can make for a compelling fight for the fans who rarely watch boxing on television, the fight is a disappointing mismatch between Wilder and a fighter who has almost no chance of winning.
On the undercard of the Wilder-Duhaupas card, the following fights will be taking place:
Terrell Gausha vs. Eliezer Gonzalez
Charles Martin vs. Vicente Sandez
Andrzej Wawrzyk vs. Mike Sheppard
Dominic Breazeale vs. Fred Kassi
Sullivan Barrera makes statement about Artur Beterbiev
It looks like we won’t be seeing a fight between #8 IBF Sullivan Barrera (16-0, 11 KOs) and #2 IBF Artur Beterbiev (9-0, 9 KOs) in an IBF light heavyweight title eliminator. They have a scheduled purse bid next month on 10/5 at the International Boxing Federation’s headquarters in Springfield, New Jersey. The 33-year-old Barrera can’t come to Canada, which is where Beterbiev’s management wants the Beterbiev-Barrera fight to take place in Quebec. Beterbiev’s promoter plans on putting in the winning bid for the fight and then staging it in Canada, where Beterbiev now fights out of. This leaves Barrera in a situation where he probably won’t be able to take the fight now. They want the fight to take place in November, but it’s likely that the IBF will need to look for another opponent for Beterbiev that is able and willing to fight in Canada.
Here’s what Sullivan Barrera said in his statement:
“I am very sorry to hear that for some reason Artur Beterbiev isn’t willing to fight me in the United States. The biggest fights are here and it’s funny that his last fight was in the U.S. and yet he won’t fight me here. I’ve been wanting a big fight for years and I am willing to fight Beterbiev knowing that the purse is in his favor 75/25. If I could travel to Canada I would but I have some legalities that my team is currently in the process of getting cleared up. Artur, you have fought in the U.S. Don’t let your promoter block you from the fight that so many fans have been asking for. Let’s give the fans what they want, a great fight and the winner gets the opportunity to make history.”