By Victor Salazar
New York - Last week, heavyweight contender Tyson Fury (27-0-1, 19 KO’s) made big headlines.
In a surprising move, Fury signed a co-promotional deal with Top Rank. It was a surprising move because by all accounts Fury and WBC world champion Deontay Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KO’s) were nearly set to face each other for a second time after their controversial first fight.
So while the boxing world prepared for their much anticipated rematch, Fury went in another direction.
Wilder, who is advised by Al Haymon, has a close working relationship with Showtime Sports. Top Rank has an exclusive deal with ESPN.
So when the news broke that the immediate rematch was off and Fury was taking an interim-fight on ESPN, not many were surprised.
However, it does pose a complexity as to whether or not we ever see the rematch.
Showtime Sports head Stephen Espinoza was just as surprised by the move as the rest of the boxing world and feels the rematch will be much more difficult to make.
“It’s certainly makes it more difficult,” Espinoza told BoxingScene.com. “It’s another strange series of events. At a certain point, it’s incumbent on prompters as well as fighters to not do things that create obstacles for the fight. So if you’re on the one yard line with a rematch deal, that probably not the best time to veer in a different direction.”
Espinoza can see the move being made by the Fury’s handlers in order to avoid a rematch and safe face as to the reason why.
“If you don’t really want the fight, that’s a good reason to not make the fight, you have something to point to outside of you don’t want the fight,” explained Espinoza.
“I’m not saying that’s the case. I believe Fury wants a Wilder rematch and I feel Joshua wants a Wilder fight. But there are business people around them and it’s incumbent on fighter to say that I’m not going to allow my business people to put in obstacles to a fight that’s important to my legacy and my career.”