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The Truth Behind Failed Fury/Usyk Negotiations

Image: The Truth Behind Failed Fury/Usyk Negotiations

By Joseph Herron: Promotions 101: Paying out inflated purses to prizefighters makes it virtually impossible to make the best fights a reality

Unfortunately, most fans and many fighters don’t really understand what determines a fighter’s genuine market value.

What determines a fighter’s market value within the business of boxing are not his in-ring accomplishments. Just like other entertainment fields, like the music and motion picture industries, fans and consumers always determine a fighter’s market value through ticket sales, PPV sales, and TV ratings.

On May 25th, a purse bid was staged to determine the host for a WBO-ordered showdown between unified Heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk and mandatory challenger Daniel Dubois.

The winning bid was made by Usyk’s promoter Alex Krassyuk with an amount of $8 million. In accordance with the WBO bylaws, the total purse amount will be split with 75% of the guarantee going to Usyk, which equates to $6 million, and Dubois earning 25% or $2 million for a fight slated August 12th in Poland.

So when the great majority of fans and critics alike blamed Tyson Fury as the lone party responsible for failed negotiations with Oleksandr Usyk on March 22nd, it seems that they were either grossly misinformed or simply ignorant of the truth.

Many appeared to be influenced by Team Usyk’s various statements on social media, making the claim, “Fury’s constant and changing demands over the past two months made it impossible to reach an agreement,” as well as publicly calling Fury “Greedy Belly.”

But now we fully understand that the criticisms of Egis Klimas, Usyk’s manager, weren’t entirely true and didn’t keep the match for undisputed Heavyweight supremacy from coming to fruition in March. Rather, it was the unrealistic demands of Oleksandr Usyk.

In what market has the Ukraine native become a legitimate ticket seller or ratings draw? Why would the unified champ enter negotiations expecting to receive 50% of gross proceeds in an event opposite a proven attraction like Tyson Fury in the UK? If the two-division world champ were a big-time attraction within the British marketplace, why place his title defense with Daniel Dubois, a Briton, at an undisclosed venue in Poland?

But like moths to a flame, most within the boxing community seemed to gravitate to the side of Team Usyk and unjustly hold Tyson Fury accountable for the collapse in negotiations.

So why did Team Usyk and the great majority of fans genuinely believe that the reigning IBF, WBA, and WBO champion deserved a 50/50 split of what was estimated to be a potential $50 million jackpot for an April 29th showdown in Wembley Stadium?

Because of a grossly inflated purse paid out by the Saudis for Usyk’s winning effort in a rematch with former unified champ Anthony Joshua, which was an estimated $40 million.

It seems that the huge payout for the rematch with AJ drastically skewed the perception and expectation of Team Usyk, as well as most interested observers ignorant of the Ukraine native’s realistic market value.

Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren had this to say after the Usyk/Dubois purse bid: “Oleksandr Usyk vs. Daniel Dubois went for purse bids, and the winning bid was $8 million. He gets $6 million. That’s the value of Usyk. If Tyson Fury vs. Dubois went for purse bids, that’d fetch $30 million all day long because that’s the value of Tyson Fury.”

So it would seem that everyone who accused Tyson Fury of being terribly greedy throughout the belabored Fury/Usyk negotiation process owes the current WBC Heavyweight champion a grave apology.

But just as no major periodicals are reporting the truth behind this matter, it seems that fans and critics are either unwilling to admit their collective misjudgment, or blissfully ignorant of reality.

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