Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury II NOT happening next
By Chris Williams: Top Rank has reportedly let the World Boxing Council know that Tyson Fury will NOT be fighting WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder next, but instead he’ll take an interim fight in May or June before making the rematch with ‘The Bronze Bomber’ in the fall, according to Mike Coppinger.
The WBC had already ordered the rematch between Wilder and Fury, and given them more time to get the negotiations completed. Little did the WBC know that Fury would sign with Top Rank, who suddenly are interested in letting the fight marinate until later this year. This could blow up if one or both fighters lose their interim bouts. It could happen. Wilder and Fury are both guys that have defects in their game that could be exposed in their interim fights.
Top Rank Boxing wants Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs) to take an interim fight to help make the eventual rematch with Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs) bigger so that it can bring in more pay-per-view buys on ESPN PPV. Fury, 30, is still largely an unknown in the United States with the casual boxing fans, even though his previous fight with Deontay took place on December 1 last year on SHOWTIME Championship Boxing from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
This move by Top Rank to let the Wilder-Fury II rematch marinate is a RISKY one, given that it puts both guys in a position where they absolutely need to win their next fights in order for the boxing fans to still care about seeing them fight each other again. Top Rank almost surely match Fury against a weak opponent that he can beat and look great again. In other words, they’ll put Fury in a showcase fight, likely against Bryant Jennings or someone else highly beatable. Unlike Fury, who will likely take a soft opponent for his interim fight, Wilder will need to face his WBC mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeaele (20-1, 18 KOs) in his next fight. That’s not a gimme. Wilder could lose that fight. So instead of Fury facing Wilder in a rematch, he would be fighting Breazeale, who has small fan base. It’s unclear whether that scenerio would bother Top Rank. It would depend on whether their objective was just to have Fury to keep winning long enough for him to build a fan base the easy way before facing Anthony Joshua in what would be seen as a big cash out. Some fans would argue that Top Rank really don’t want the Wilder vs. Fury fight, and that they’re hoping that if they let the match marinate for as long as possible, someone will eventually beat Deontay, and then they can focus on the real target, a fight against Joshua.
It’s possible that Top Rank might not like Fury’s chances in a rematch with Wilder. If you look at how the fight ended in the previous Wilder-Fury fight last December, Fury was dropped hard an arguably knocked unconscious for five seconds. A lot of referees would have stopped the fight on the stop if they had a fighter that was out cold. This one didn’t for some reason. Top Rank is paying Fury a lot of money with their new five-fight contract for him to look good, and pull in subscribers to the ESPN+ app. If Fury were knocked cold by Wilder in the first fight of Top Rank’s five-fight deal with him, they would be stuck with him for another four fights, and it’s likely few boxing fans would bother subscribing to ESPN+ to see him fight or want to pay to see him on ESPN PPV.
With Fury now signed with Top Rank for a five-fight contract to have his bouts televised/streamed on ESPN, it means there will a great deal of publicity for his next interim bout against whoever the promotional company wants to put him in with. Just how much popular Fury can become by fighting in one fight is unknown. Depending on who Top Rank matches Fury against for his interim fight, his popular might not increase it all. It could take a nosedive if he loses or looks poor in winning.
Getting the rematch with Wilder negotiated might prove to be a difficult thing now that Fury’s signed with Top Rank. The way Fury has been talking since he signed his lucrative contract with the American powerhouse promotional company, he’s seemed ambivalent about facing Wilder again, as if he can take it or leave it. Top Rank has a number of heavyweights in their stable that they can mix and match against Fury. If Top Rank boss Bob Arum decides he wants to have Fury fight ALL of his fighters in his stable of heavyweights, we could be looking at a rematch with Wilder that might not take place for a year or two, or perhaps until it’s no longer worth making the fight. Once Wilder loses to someone, the interest in a Wilder-Fury II fight is going to disappear.
Top Rank is interested in signing Wilder to a contract. They’re said to have sent Wilder an offer to have him sign with them. There’s still no word whether Wilder sign up with them. If Wilder does sign a contract with them, it will make putting the Fury rematch together a lot easier. We might even see Wilder and Fury fighting each other in a series of retread fights. Top Rank boss Bob Arum has done a lot of rematches in the past with his fighters Manny Pacquiao, Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez and Antonio Barrera. If Wilder signs with Top Rank, we might even see them facing four or five times. That would be a scary thought.