Arum believes Wilder vs. Fury does 4.6 million PPV buys
By Dan Ambrose: Tyson Fury’s promoter is predicting big pay-per-view numbers for his rematch with Deontay Wilder in early 2020. While fans believe the second fight between the two giant heavyweights will do better than the 325,000 buys the first match brought in last December on Showtime PPV, few people are expecting massive numbers like the ones Arum’s promoter is talking about.
Lineal heavyweight champion Fury (28-0-1, 20 KOs) had his coming out party last Saturday night in beating Tom Schwarz (24-1, 16 kOs) by a second round knockout at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. This was Fury’s first win in the United States in two tries.
In his previous fight, he’d been rudely knocked down twice by Wilder last December in a fight that was scored as a draw. On Fury’s second fight in the U.S, and he fought much better in bum rushing the younger 25-year-old Schwarz in knocking him out in two rounds. Schwarz was held to just six punches landed in the entire fight, and he looked terribly over-matched.
Arum predicts Wilder vs. Fury brings in 4.6 million+ buys
“If both guys get through their next fights, the fight will be in the first quarter of next year,” said Arum at the post-fight news conference last Saturday night. “I really believe, and I’m not blowing smoke, I can’t see why that fight won’t equal or surpass numbers that were done on the Mayweather Pacquiao fight. Two little guys, great fighters, that was built up for many years, but still, they’re not heavyweights of this caliber or notoriety.”
You can’t fault Arum for aiming high with his predictions, can you? He’s aiming for the stars with his estimate of the Wilder-Fury rematch doing at least 4.6 million buys. If it does bring in those numbers, it might make it difficult for Wilder and Fury to to keep motivated to continue their careers.
Wilder and Fury’s motivation might disappear after a record-breaking mega-fight
Look what happened to Conor McGregor and Mayweather after their fight in 2017 brought in 4.4 million buys. Both guys made massive money, and they’ve rarely been heard from since in terms of competing. For all intents and purposes, Mayweather stopped competing against world class boxers after his fight with Andre Berto in 2015. That fight came after Mayweather’s record-breaking mega-bout against Pacquiao.
There wasn’t the same motivation obviously for Mayweather to continue fighting after the money he made against Pacquiao. Assuming Arum is right about the Wilder-Fury rematch bringing in over 4 million buys, they’ll both likely walk away with over $100 million each.
How do they stay motivated after that? If Fury starts rewarding himself with food like he did after his victory over Wladimir Klitschko in 2015, he could balloon up to close to 400 pounds again, and never get back down again to the 250s. Why would he need to? Fury would be massively wealthy.
It would be something if Wilder vs. Fury were to bring in more buys than the 4.6 million for the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight in 2015, but it’s unlikely. Heck, even 1 million buys would be outstanding for the Wilder-Fury 2 rematch. Those would be excellent numbers to build on, as long as the fight is competitive. It would be bad if Wilder knocks Fury out early.
Assuming the Wilder-Fury rematch is competitive in early 2020, Arum could put them back in with each other for a third fight at some point. Arum is already talking about wanting to do just that. However, #1 WBC contender Dillian Whyte’s promoter Eddie Hearn says there could be problems if Wilder and Fury meet in a trilogy match without Whyte getting his title shot. Hearn is saying Whyte will be Wilder’s mandatory is he beats Oscar Rivas next month.
Fury’s fight against Schwarz brought in only 9,012 fans
If you look at the half-filled MGM Grand Garden Arena last Saturday night for the Fury-Schwarz fight, it’s not a good sign for predicting massive interest from fans for the Wilder-Fury rematch.
Back when Mayweather and Pacquiao fought each other in their record-breaking PPV fight in 2015, they were both selling out arenas frequently. In other words, they weren’t fighting in front of half-sold out audiences like we saw with Fury last Saturday night. If Fury can’t sell out arenas in the the U.S, then the Wilder-Fury rematch won’t likely break records for PPV sales.
Arum saying the Fury vs. Wilder rematch does 4 million+ buys could be translated to mean he sees the fight as doing one-quarter of that. Aim high with the predictions to get boxing fans more interested in getting on board the Fury bandwagon.
Arum convinced Fury beats Wilder
One of the reasons why Arum is so eager to make the Wilder-Fury rematch is he believes Fury will win with ease in the rematch. In fact, Arum is predicting Wilder won’t make it passed the fifth round against the 6’9″ Fury. To his credit, the Top Rank promoter isn’t one of the many that felt that Fury was robbed last December by the judges in his fight with Wilder.
Fury’s fans treat the Wilder fight as a victory, and it makes it confusing. It’s more than a little tiresome to hear Fury talk about having beaten Wilder already. If you flip it around, Wilder could say that he knocked Fury out in the 12th round, but the referee didn’t do what he should have done by stopping the fight.
Fury failed to stir for the first five seconds of the count. Referees usually stop fights when a fighter is in that condition, but this referee continued counting. Fury woke after after the count of five, and barely made it up at the count of nine. If the referee hadn’t turned his head to look at Wilder before the start of the count, Fury likely would have been counted out.
Things like that make Fury’s argument he won the fight irrelevant. Judges make the decisions in picking winners and losers in fights. It’s interesting all the same that Fury and his fans frequently say that Wilder lost the fight last December.
It’s an upside world where the judges are only important if one agrees with their decision. If the fans don’t agree with the judges, they ignore them and say their fighter won, and then repeat that nonstop as if it’s a fact. It’s similar to how some of the commentators on ESPN repeatedly talked about Fury being the “lineal heavyweight champion”.
It came across like they were trying to raise his credibility in the eyes of the fans so he would be viewed on the same level a WBC champion Wilder and IBF/WBA/WBO champion Andy Ruiz Jr. It would mean something if Fury had continued fighting after he beat Wladmir Klitschko in 2015 to become the lineal champion.
Does Fury’s lineal heavyweight champion status mean anything?
After that fight, Fury tested positive for a banned substance, and didn’t fight for over 2 1/2 years. When a fighter has been out of the ring for a prolong period of time, and when they test positive for drugs, they lost their belts. Fury didn’t lose his ‘lineal heavyweight’ status.
At what point does a fighter lose that? It seems like a silly thing for a fighter and his fans to make a big deal about a title that doesn’t actually exist as of yet. Wladimir looked totally shot in 2015. He had started fading back in 2014, and he wasn’t the same guy he’d been a couple of years earlier.
Hopefully, Fury isn’t doesn’t complain if things don’t workout for him against Wilder. It’s always better for fighters to take the high road and show class in defeat. Anthony Joshua set the bar high in that department after his loss to Andy Ruiz Jr. on June 1. Joshua didn’t hold his breath, stomp his feet, and say he was robbed. He showed class. Fury needs to strive to be more like Joshua and less like a poor sport if/when he loses to Wilder.