By Kenneth Friedman: ESPN is reporting that preliminary negotiations have begun for a heavyweight unification clash between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua in December in the Middle East. Unfortunately, the discussion could be a waste of time due to the management for Deontay Wilder NOT showing interest in stepping aside.
Likewise, Kubrat Pulev, Joshua’s IBF mandatory challenger, isn’t saying he’s going to step aside either. Joshua has to face Pulev due to him being his mandatory. If Joshua wants to keep his IBF title, which he does, then he’ll need to face Pulev next.
Unfortunately, Pulev, 38, isn’t showing interest in stepping aside to let Joshua fight Pulev, and Wilder isn’t saying he’ll step aside either. Why would they? It’s in Pulev and Wilder’s best interest to go ahead with their planned fights against Joshua and Fury.
While the news may have initially gotten Fury and Joshua’s boxing fans excited about the colossal match-up, it doesn’t have much of a chance of taking place. Wilder’s manager Shelly Finkel has already commented on the Fury-Joshua negotiations by pointing out that Wilder is STILL facing Fury next.
They have a contract for Wilder to face Fury, and he apparently won’t be stepping aside to let the fight take place between the two giant British heavyweights.
Wilder’s next fight will be trilogy against Fury
“As far as we’re concerned, the next fight [for Wilder] is the third fight [with Fury],” Finkel said to ESPN.com.
So there it is. All that excitement about the Fury vs. Joshua fight being put together in 2020
Fury’s promoter Bob Arum is waiting on offers from the Middle East to stage the Joshua fight in one of those countries. Saudi Arabia is one option, but again, it won’t happen unless Pulev and Wilder both agree to step aside.
Wilder should take the fight with Fury as soon as possible rather than having to wait until 2021 after he faces Joshua. Wilder’s reputation is in tatters after his seventh-round knockout loss to Fury last February in Las Vegas, and it’ going to stay that way until he avenges the loss.
By Wilder waiting an entire year before facing Fury, the image the boxing fans have of him will be what they saw in his loss. It’s far better for Wilder to get back in the ring with Fury immediately to show that he’s not the same guy that he blew out of the ring.
Wilder has already made several excuses for his loss, and he’s taken a lot of heat over that. But if he beat Fury in 2020, then the fans will say, ‘You were right, Deontay. The excuses that you made for your loss were correct.’
Hearn sees Joshua vs. Fury likely for 2021
While the management from Fury’s side is talking up putting a fight together with Joshua in 2020, A.J.’s promoter Eddie Hearn is saying the mega-bout has a better shot of taking place in 2021.
Hearn’s main issue is the crowds being allowed into sporting events by November or December of this year. The pandemic is still going on, and it could be foolish to assume that the Commissions and the government will give the green light to less massive crowds attend sporting events.
Whether the idea of staging the Fury vs. Joshua fight in the Middle East is a way of circumventing the U.S. and U.K. governments is still uncertain. But it makes more sense for the battle to take place after the government allows crowds back into boxing events, be it in 2021 or 2022.
That doesn’t mean the Joshua-Fury fight still can’t take place. It just means that they might need to do it behind closed doors, which they probably won’t consider due to the loss of the enormous gate.
“There’s more chance at the moment that the bigger money could come next year because we don’t even know if we can do live crowds in November, December,” said Hearn to ESPN.com.
Joshua-Fury makes more money later
Hearn can’t know for sure whether 2021 will be any better than 2020 in terms of the money for the fight. Under a worst-case scenario, the pandemic will still be present for another two years before it finally abates.
So, we could be looking at 2022 before things are back to normal. That would be the same normal that we saw before the pandemic began.
The U.S. and U.K. economies will likely be still reeling by 2022, so the big money that Hearn and the promoters are projecting for the Joshua vs. Fury fight might not be as much as they initially thought it would be.
Ideally, the management for Joshua and Fury should put off this clash for as long as possible until well after the pandemic ends. Even putting it off until 2023 might be a better option than staging it in 2020 or 2021 while the sickness is still spreading.