Bob Arum is optimistic that at least a limited number of fans will be able to attend the third Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder fight on December 19.
Arum’s promotional company, Top Rank Inc., and Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions are working with the Nevada State Athletic Commission on protocols that would allow a restricted amount of spectators to watch Fury-Wilder III in person that night at Allegiant Stadium, the new home of the Las Vegas Raiders.
Arum has repeatedly stated that the third WBC heavyweight championship bout between England’s Fury and Alabama’s Wilder won’t happen until fans can attend because Top Rank and PBC cannot afford to entirely eliminate that revenue stream. Ticket revenue from their rematch, nearly $17 million, established a new Nevada record for a heavyweight boxing event.
“We’re working closely with PBC and we’re looking at December 19th,” Arum told BoxingScene.com. “We’re working with the state authorities in Nevada, as far as doing it with a limited audience, and we’re making a lot of progress. We can’t do it without fans. Everybody’s cooperating. It’s my hope and PBC’s hope that we’ll be able to do it at the new stadium, with a limited number of fans, and we’re coming up with methods to get spectators in there.”
Arum’s company has promoted 17 cards without fans at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas since June 9.
Holding Fury-Wilder III at a massive venue like Allegiant Stadium would enable Arum and Haymon to bring more fans into an environment conducive to social distancing. Developing protocols that would ensure the health and safety of fans that would attend still has become complicated amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s a process,” Arum said. “But listen, we developed the process from the get-go with the state and with the commission with ‘The Bubble.’ We hope to be the ones to develop a safe and sound method to do fights with limited spectators. But it’s not easy, and it’s very hard to explain until we get it done because we’re not doctors and we’re not health officials. We have to clear it with them, we have to get their approval, and that’s what we’re working on. But this is not the normal role of a promoter, who signs a fight and tries to sell it, whether it’s pay-per-view, and sell tickets to fans. I mean, this is really complicated.”
Those challenges notwithstanding, Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) is contractually obligated to a third fight with Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs).
The unbeaten Brit defeated Wilder by seventh-round technical knockout in their rematch February 22 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. They fought to a controversial split draw in their first fight, a 12-rounder that took place in December 2018 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Like their rematch, ESPN and FOX will co-distribute Fury-Wilder III on pay-per-view.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.