There still exists hope for the turnaround for a third fight between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder being significantly shorter than the near 15-month gap between their first meeting and the rematch.
With each passing day, however, those odds continue to shrink.
The next chapter in the rivalry between the pair of boxing behemoths is tentatively slated to take place in October live on Pay-Per-View from Las Vegas, Nevada. The date was pushed back from its originally targeted slot on July 18 in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic which has globally shut down mass gatherings of any kind. The October date seemed far enough out to hold up under the assumption that the sport will be at full strength.
Instead has come the greater likelihood of smaller shows being the first out the gate, given the likely mandate of such cards taking place without fans in attendance. Blockbuster fights such as Fury-Wilder III will have to wait until health official deem it safe to proceed with such events.
“It’s one thing to take events that were done with 2-3,000 people and do them now without crowds,” Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum explained to Top Rank’s Crystina Poncher in an interview as part of the ongoing “Catching Up With Crystina” series. “It’s not nearly as egregious as doing a Tyson Fury-Wilder fight without fans.”
Both fights between Fury (30-0-1, 21KOs)—the two-time lineal heavyweight champion from Manchester, England—and Wilder (42-1-1, 41KOs), the former heavyweight titlist from Tuscaloosa, Alabama—drew massive crowds while performing well in the Pay-Per-View market. Their first fight in December 2018 took place in front of an announced attendance of 17,698 at Staplcs Center in Los Angeles, with Wilder retaining his World Boxing Council (WBC) via disputed 12-round split decision draw.
A rematch was targeted for last May, only for Fury to head in a different direction which pushed back plans by more than nine months. It proved worth the wait, as their rematch this past February generated $16,916,440 in live gate revenue from 15,210 tickets sold for Fury’s 7th round knockout of Wilder at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, which was originally due to host part three in July.
“When the fans in the last fight put in almost $17 million into the coffers in purchase of tickets… how do you replace that $17 million,” Arum asked aloud before answering his own question. “I mean, you don’t. You can’t.
“A Fury-Wilder fight might have to wait a couple more months until we can go back to full spectators. For a sport like boxing when big events where the gate money is so much a big percentage of the revenue, I don’t see how you can do it without spectators.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox