Arum expects Wilder-Fury to do 2 million+ buys
By Mark Eisner: Promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank expects the rematch between WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury to bring in a huge surge of pay-per-view buys in early 2020, thanks to the work that he does in building up the popularity of the tall 6’9″ British heavyweight before then.
With Arum’s match-making, he feels that he can increase Fury’s popularity to the extent that the Wilder-Fury II rematch will pull in between 2-3 million pay-per-view buys in early next year in a shared network fight. It would be shown ESPN and Showtime pay-per-view, which would result in more buys and more money for the fighters and the promoters.
In the meantime, Arum is matching Fury with German heavyweight Tom Schwarz on June 15 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, and then against another fighters. After two fights, Fury should be popular enough to face Wilder in a rematch that will expand their previous buy total of 300,000 buys from their fight last December, and take it all the way potentially to 3 million buys.
“It’s not out of the question,” Arum said to Fighthub about the Wilder vs. Fury rematch getting made in 2020. “That’s a fight that should be made, possibly early next year. We’ll do our part building Tyson Fury up so that not just the boxing people, so that all the public knows how entertaining he is, and all of that like George Foreman. We’ll do that on our part. You have to take Wilder and re-introduce him to the American public. The more we build the fight, the more the fighters will make, the more the promoters will make,” Arum said.
There’s a big difference between George Foreman and Tyson Fury. Arum isn’t pointing out that Foreman was American, a 1968 U.S Olympic gold medalist, and former heavyweight world champion, who fought Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and Ken Norton. Foreman was also known from his commercials on television in which he sold a widely popular hamburger grill. Foreman didn’t become well known overnight. He’d been widely known for years in the U.S before abruptly retiring after a loss to Jimmy Young while he was still young and in his prime. Fury isn’t going to be able to duplicate Foreman’s popularity by beating the obscure German heavyweight Tom Schwarz and whoever else Top Rank matches him against.
“I really feel when we do this fight next year, we could do between two and three million homes,” Arum said about the Wilder vs. Fury 2 rematch. “When they fought last time, we did 300,000 homes. That’s a pittance to what it should be. By the time it happens, we’ll do two to three million homes. We’re building, and it’s not a lot of time. Wilder needs Breazeale, and some other fight. Fury needs Schwarz, and then another fight with the build up, and then the fight will happen. It’s worth waiting for to take a 350,000 home fight and make it a 2 million plus [PPV] fight,” Arum said.
With all the illegal streams that show PPV boxing events in the U.S, it would be surprising if the Wilder vs. Fury 2 fight can pull in even close to the 3 million buys that Arum is talking about. Arguably the most popular fighter in the United States right now is Saul Canelo Alvarez, and his recent rematch with the highly popular Gennady Golovkin brought in over 1 million buys last September on HBO PPV. If those two couldn’t bring in 2 million buys, then it’s not likely Wilder vs. Fury II will bring in those numbers. Some American boxing fans have a difficult time understanding what Fury says due to his English accent, and his fighting style is less thrilling to watch. The previous Wilder vs. Fury fight last December was mostly dull to watch for a lot of boxing fans until the championship rounds when Fury got tired, and couldn’t move as much as he had in the first eight rounds. Wilder then caught up to Fury and knocked him down twice, but had to be satisfied with getting a draw.
Fury’s popularity won’t increase much in the United States with his fight coming against an unknown fighter in Schwarz, and being shown on ESPN+ app. This isn’t the regular ESPN. This is the app that boxing fans have to subscribe to by paying $4.99 per month. For a lot of casual boxing fans, they’re not going to be eager enough to see the little known Fury fight a guy they’ve never seen or heard of in Schwarz on June 15 on ESPN+. It would have been better for Arum to find a fighter that the casual boxing fans have heard o before to match against Fury. The only heavyweight that the casual fans know of in the U.S is Wilder.
“Joshua doesn’t figure in while he’s tied to DAZN, and Eddie Hearn, because to maximize the dollars, he has to fight in the United States,” Arum said. “He can’t fight in the U.S on pay-per-view, because Eddie is beholden to DAZN. If the fight is in the UK, they can’t do pay-per-view in the United States in the afternoon. So, Joshua is out in the cold, unless or until he severs his deal with Eddie Hearn or Eddie persuades DAZN to allow Joshua to fight Wilder or Fury in the United States,” Arum said.
Joshua is an unlikely opponent for Fury and Wilder anyway, even if you take away the DAZN angle. Joshua wants to be the A-side, and get the most money. Wilder isn’t interested in letting Joshua get bigger share of the purse. Fury might not go for that either.
“Of course not, because then he wouldn’t have access to the tremendous bucks that pay-per-view could turn out for that fight,” Arum said when asked if Wilder should have taken the huge $100 million deal offered to him by DAZN to fight on their platform.
Wilder initially seemed like he was interested in potentially signing with DAZN, but he opted not to. It’s believed that Wilder felt that he could make more money from his fights on pay-per-view than what he’d get if he signed with DAZN.
“If I’m right, and they’re right, that a Wilder-Fury fight can do 2 million [pay-per-view buys] on the downside, that’ll be like $80 million just from pay-per-view. Then you take what the fighters get from the date and so forth, and then they will do a rematch, Wilder will do a hell of a lot better than what Eddie was offering,” Arum said.