Pulev willing to fight Fury after he gets IBF title shot
By Charles Brun: Heavyweight contender Kubrat Pulev says he’s ready to take on Tyson Fury after he first fights for the IBF heavyweight title against either Andy Ruiz Jr. or Anthony Joshua. As the mandatory for the IBF, former world title challenger Pulev’s first priority is to compete for the title, and then he’ll look to face Fury (28-0-1, 20 KOs) afterwards.
Fury is in a position where he needs a credible opponent for his next fight in November after his dismal mismatch last Saturday night. The 38-year-old Pulev’s name has been mentioned as a possible opponent for Fury for his next fight in November in New York. Fury defeated previously unbeaten Tom Schwarz last Saturday night on ESPN+ at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Tyson Fury being given big push by ESPN and Top Rank to transform him into a star in the United States
ESPN and Top Rank Boxing are giving Fury a huge push to turn him into an instant crossover star in the U.S rapidly so that a mega-fight between him and WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder will be a huge blockbuster in early 2020. ESPN and Top Rank are paying Fury a lot of money. For their investment in the light hitting British heavyweight to pay off, Fury’s rematch with Wilder needs to be built into a huge fight. As such, Fury is fighting lesser opposition right now instead of talented opponents that could potentially make him look bad and beat him. Fury is a good fighter, but he can definitely be beaten. He was lucky in his fight against Wilder last December that the referee didn’t stop the fight when he was knocked down in the 12th round.
The idea of matching Fury the unbeaten Schwarz might have been a somewhat decent idea on paper, but it played out horribly with the German heavyweight looking dreadful in losing without putting up a fight. Schwarz landed just six punches in the entire two round massacre, and Fury looked slow, weak and fat. Schwarz was stopped on his feet when he went into the sparring partner mode by resting his back against the ropes, and covering up while Fury nailed him repeatedly with weak, slapping punches. Pulev said it looked like a sparring session rather than a fight.
It was the same thing we saw from Schwarz in his match against journeyman Senad Gashi last year. In that fight, Schwarz was on his way to getting stopped when Gashi made the mistake of head-butting him. Schwarz took advantage of the foul by going down, and winning the fight on a qualification. Some boxing fans think Schwarz intentionally flopped in order to get a disqualification win. Whatever the case, Schwarz looked bad, and yet he was still selected for Fury to fight.
The highly ranked #2 WBO contender Schwarz was used to build Fury’s profile in the U.S to get him ready for the rematch with Wilder. Pulev was at the Fury-Schwarz fight, and he was less than impressed with what he saw from Schwarz, saying that he didn’t look “so good.” Pulev (27-1, 14 KOs) was obviously being kind by not tearing into Fury for him facing such a dismal opponent.
“The opponent was not so great. Nothing special,” said Pulev to Behind The Gloveds about Tyson Fury’s opponent Tom Schwarz looking poor last Saturday night. “I’m ready [to fight Fury]. Why not? I am the #1 contender with the IBF. Now first I must fight or the belt, world championship belt with the IBF, and then we can do it [fight Fury]. All the time I’m ready,” said Pulev.
Pulev says he’s ready to fight Fury, but only AFTER he battles for the IBF world title against either Ruiz Jr. (33-1, 22 KOs) or Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs).
Fury vs. Pulev unlikely to happen in 2019
There’s little chance that Pulev will agree to fight Fury this year, because there’s no way for the Bulgarian to make the kind of money he can get in fighting Joshua or Ruiz Jr. Top Rank can’t put Fury vs. Pulev on ESPN pay-per-view, because it won’t sell in the States. If Top Rank tries putting that fight on PPV, it’ll be lucky if it brings in a trickle of PPV buys, because neither of these guys are household names in the U.S. Unless Top Rank wants to pay Pulev the kind of money he’d make facing Ruiz or Joshua, he’ll likely choose to wait for the smoke to clear from the Joshua-Ruiz Jr. rematch. The better deal for Pulev is for him to face the winner of the Joshua vs. Ruiz Jr. fight. The chances are high that Joshua will win that fight, and then Pulev will make a massive amount of money facing him next year.
Speaking of Joshua, he wasn’t so impressed with Fury’s win over Schwarz either. Joshua, 29, say he wants to return to fighting “easy opponents as well.
Here’s what Joshua said on his social media site about Fury’s win over Schwarz:
“Thoughts on Tyson Fury’s win? He done what he had to. I could talk s–t, but he done what he had to, well played to him. I want to go back to fighting some easy opponents. 56th [Joshua said in commenting on Schwarz’s ranking in the heavyweight division. I think, why am out here doing all this s–t myself? Do you know know what I mean?”
Joshua would receive huge criticism if he were to have fought Schwarz. At this point in his career, AJ wouldn’t take a fight with a heavyweight as bad as Schwarz. Joshua is an elite heavyweight, and those type of guys don’t need to fight lesser fighters like Schwarz. The fact that Top Rank is putting Fury in with that level of a fighter seems to be a red flag that Fury isn’t one of the best, and that he needs to be matched carefully for him to win.
It’s disappointing that Fury is picking from the bottom of the heavyweight division in facing mediocre heavyweights like Schwarz while Joshua is risking his neck facing the best like Andy Ruiz Jr. and Alexander Povetkin. However, it’s unclear whether Fury has a say so in who he faces at this point. Fury is co-promoted by Top Rank Boxing, and they likely are firm about who they want him to fight. If Fury were to veto their ideas of facing soft opponents like Schwarz, it’s unclear how that would play out. As we saw with former Top Rank fighter Manny Pacquiao, he was matched up with a lot of guys that the boxing public had no interest in seeing like Brandon Rios, Chris Algieri, and Joshua Clottey.
Fury needs a good opponent for his next fight to build the Wilder rematch
Given how bad Schwarz was last Saturday, it’s dire that Fury be matched against a guy that is hugely talented so that the U.S fans will be interested in seeing him and Wilder face each other in early 2020. Their previous fight together last December brought in only 350,000 buys on Showtime PPV. Fury’s new promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank has been talking about the Wilder-Fury rematch breaking the all-time PPV record of 4.6 million buys set by the 2015 mega-fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.
Those fighters were facing the best opposition before they fought each other, which is why their fight was so huge. If all Fury is going to be doing is blasting out weak and obscure opposition like Schwarz, then there’s little chance that the Wilder-Fury rematch will break records. It might not even hit 1 million buys if Top Rank continues to match Fury against such dreadful opposition.