Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder trilogy targeted for Dec.19 in Las Vegas
By Jim Maltzman: Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder are heading towards their trilogy fight on December 19 at the new Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada. If everything goes as planned, the two heavyweights will ight in front of a live crowd.
According to Fury’s promoter Bob Arum, he’s “optimistic” that the Fury vs. Wilder III fight will be taking place on December 19 in front of a crowd of between 10,000 and 15,000 boxing fans. Allegiant Stadium has a max capacity of 65,000.
To sell that many tickets during the pandemic is a big ask unless Top Rank markets the Fury vs. Wilder III fight well. The second fight, which Fury destroy Wilder in seven rounds on February 22, was so conclusive that the fan interest might not be there for a third contest between the two heavyweights.
Arum will need the go-ahead by the U.S government and the state of Nevada for him to stage the Fury-Wilder 3 fight in front of a live crowd, but he’s hopeful that it’ll happen.
“That’s what we’re moving ahead on, on all fronts, with the security, with the virus, and everything,” Arum said to ESPN.
“We’re talking with everybody here in town, with the Raiders. So we’re optimistic that we’ll be able to do the event in Nevada, in Las Vegas.”
Arum needs to get this fight out of the way so that Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) can move on to face IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua in 2021.
Those two fighters have a contract to battle each other TWICE in 2021, and the fans are looking forward to that clash. With both Fury and Joshua being British, the fight is more anticipated by UK fans than the American ones.
The U.S boxing already seen Joshua get knocked out last year in New York by Andy Ruiz Jr, and they’re less enthused about seeing him face Fury compared to their British counterparts.
Whether the trilogy match brings in 10,000 to 15,000 fans is less critical to the average person than it is for Fury, Wilder, and their promoters. People want to see a good match, and they’re hoping Wilder looks a lot better than he did in the rematch.
Fury-Wilder III might not sell
It was learned this week that the 6’7” Alabama native Deontay (42-1-1, 41 KOs) fought Fury with an injured bicep, which he’s since had surgery to repair.
Wilder’s sparring partner Junior Fa spilled the beans on him, fighting with an injured biceps. He told Sky Sports that Wilder suffered the injury in the final weeks of training camp, although he doesn’t attribute that as the cause of his loss to Fury.
Wilder wasn’t throwing many right hands in the fight, which would lead one to the conclusion that the injury was a bigger problem than Fa lets on.
The rematch between Fury and Deontay pulled in 17,698 fans earlier this year on February 22. In that case, there was still a great deal of fan interest in the fight. Their previous match in 2018 ended in a 12 round draw, and fans were eager to see them do it again.
Given how one-sided the Fury-Wilder rematch turned out to be, it’s highly unlikely that the fight will bring in over 10,000 fans, as Arum is projecting.
The combination of the pandemic, Wilder’s recent one-sided loss, and the high numbers of unemployed could result in attendance well below 10K. It won’t be surprised if a crowd of only 3,000 to 5,000 shows up for the fight.
Will Deontay take the fight?
It might be smarter for Arum to stage the trilogy fight between Tyson and Deontay in a small indoor arena with a max capacity of 5,000.
That way, there won’t be the wasted money spent on booking the giant 65,000 seats Allegiant Stadium. It’s arguably better to be safe than sorry.
Hopefully, Arum has been told by Wilder’s management that he’s all in for the trilogy fight, as there’s been a lot of speculation that he’s not going to take the fight.
Wilder, 34, has been strangely quiet since his 7th round knockout loss to Fury last February, and that has led to a great deal of worry that he’s going to back out of the trilogy match. But for Arum to be saying that he’s targeting December 9 for the third contest, it suggests Wider will be taking the fight after all.
Deontay wanted the third fight with Fury, and he quickly exercised the contractual rematch clause in the contract to force the trilogy. The two were supposed to fight this summer on July 18, but the pandemic got in the way.
There was then talk of them fighting in October, but Arum said that wasn’t going to happen.
The purse split for the Wilder vs. Fury 2 rematch last February was 50-50. But for the trilogy, Fury will enjoy a 60-40 split. In their previous fight, both fighters got a guaranteed purse of $5 million, but they both made at much as $25 million.
The fight brought in approximately 850,000 pay-per-view buys at $79.99 per household. There was an additional 300,000 buys from digital platforms for a total of close to 1.2 million purchases.
With those kinds of numbers, it’s no wonder why there’s so much interest from Arum and Fury in getting the second fight with Wilder made.
There’s money to be made, even if it’s not as much as last time. It would help obviously if Wilder made himself visible and put in the effort to sell the trilogy match with Fury, as it won’t do well if he’s keeping silent during the entire run-up to the fight.
Illegal piracy hurt Fury vs. Wilder 2 PPV numbers
A lot of money was lost on piracy of the Fury-Wilder 2 fight, and it’s estimated that 30 million viewers watched it on illegal streams, according to Wikipedia. That’s a massive revenue loss.
Can imagine how much money the two fighters would have brought in had those viewers had to pay to watch the Fury vs. Wilder II match? If there’s a way of clamping down on the illegal piracy, Fury and Wilder will do well for the third fight. Unfortunately, that’s probably asking for too much.
Trying to stop piracy is going to be a formidable task, and it’s not realistic that the organizers for the Fury-Wilder III match are going to be able to do that.
More Boxing News:
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- Eddie Hearn: Tyson Fury should fight Michael Hunter on Dec.5
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- Tyson Fury reaffirms he’s fighting on December 5th in London