By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – Bob Arum apparently has higher expectations for the Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury rematch with each passing day.
Fury’s co-promoter predicted during a post-fight press conference Saturday night that when Wilder and Fury fight again, it’ll have become so big that their second showdown will either exceed or match the profitability of the most lucrative event in boxing history. That fight, Floyd Mayweather’s win over Manny Pacquiao in May 2015, produced approximately $600 million in overall revenue and generated roughly 4.6 million pay-per-view buys.
“Well, if, and I expect both guys get through their fights, the next fights, the fight will be the first quarter of next year,” Arum said following Fury’s second-round knockout of Tom Schwarz on Saturday night at MGM Grand Garden Arena. “And I really believe – now, I’m not blowing smoke – it’s gonna be on pay-per-view, and I really can’t see why that fight won’t equal or surpass the numbers that were done on the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. They’re two little guys, great fighters. Mayweather-Pacquiao was built up for a lot of years, but still, they’re not heavyweights. And they’re not heavyweights of this kind of category, and now of this notoriety.”
The first Fury-Wilder fight, which was distributed by Showtime, reportedly drew around 325,000 buys. That 12-round bout between Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs), the WBC champ, and Fury (28-0-1, 20 KOs), who’s billed as the lineal champ, resulted in a controversial split draw December 1 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“The reason why the Fury-Wilder fight,” Arum said, “the first one, didn’t do real numbers is because, let’s be honest, other than some hardcore boxing fans, the public in America didn’t know this guy [Fury]. They really didn’t know him. Now, they know him. And after [Fury’s] fight in October, they will know him even more. Wilder will hopefully have a great fight with [Luis] Ortiz and beat Ortiz. And the rematch, I think, is capable of doing over four million pay-per-view homes.”
Fury signed a multi-fight agreement with Arum’s Top Rank Inc. and ESPN following his first fight with Wilder. His stoppage of Schwarz marked the brash Brit’s debut with ESPN and Top Rank.
ESPN’s expansive reach has strengthened Fury’s profile in the United States, but making Mayweather-Pacquiao type of money seems quite ambitious. A reporter asked Arum, just to be clear, if he truly believes a Wilder-Fury rematch would be able to do that type of business.
“Again, why wouldn’t it be?,” Arum asked. “Why wouldn’t it be? People always, when I was in the business for many years, always look for the big, big heavyweight fight. Ali-Frazier I did more business than any other fight had ever done up to that point. I can’t see why this wouldn’t happen. And particularly when it matches somebody from the UK, who is not coming over as an opponent, but is a co-equal at least in stature, with an American. It’s got to, reasonably speaking, do tremendous business on pay-per-view.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.