Boxing to survive in this new culture the biggest fights will need

Boxing has joined many professional sports in executing a slow burn toward returning to full-time action during the coronavirus outbreak without the presence of a Wilder vs Fury 3 Live gate to pay for the bottom line. But with the action expected to pick up in a big away across all major promotions over the second half of 2020, let’s take a closer look at the biggest storylines to follow amid this new normal.

Fans have long had a love/hate relationship with PPV. On one hand, it’s the only way to access the biggest fights. But on the flip side, it’s a platform that has often been abused, particularly when cable network budgets couldn’t cover the purses and fights deemed unworthy of PPV ended up there out of necessity.

For boxing to survive in this new culture, the biggest fights will need to be made. Without the return of large live gates to lean on for at least the rest of the calendar year, traditional PPV will be necessary to make sure these fights happen. The 2018 launch of the streaming app DAZN, which heavily advertised its intention to kill PPV, seemed to suggest the old way would die off, eventually. But even though UFC’s new exclusive PPV deal with ESPN+ is a marriage of the two ideals at best, the sport simply won’t survive without a reliance upon the PPV concept to afford the big purses.

If Top Rank’s recent quarantine experiment on ESPN taught us anything, it’s that a steady stream of poorly-matched fights can set the sport back in the court of public opinion. The sweet science needs to swing big and make every effort to put its best foot forward, even if that means also embracing the idea of large foreign site fees similar to UFC’s current standing in Abu Dhabi.

The sport’s biggest star has been boxing’s most consistent brand in recent years from the standpoint of drawing PPV buys and subscriptions. Taking the baton from Floyd Mayweather, Mexican icon Canelo Alvarez still carries the clout that comes with the expectations he will fight twice a year, typically on the sport’s two biggest weekends of Cinco de Mayo and Mexican Independence Day in September.

This year’s plans were flipped upside down, however. A spring super middleweight unification bout against unbeaten Billy Joe Saunders fell apart due to the quarantine, and Saunders wants no part of rescheduling. Alvarez’s initial hope for a fall trilogy bout against Gennadiy Golovkin also died when GGG revealed he’s more interested in a mandatory defense of his middleweight title.

That leaves the likelihood that Alvarez will be facing a substantial step down in terms of competition for what will likely be his only appearance in 2020. Reports have swirled that he will also need to take somewhat of a pay cut from the $35 million or so he was originally guaranteed per fight. No live gate and a second-rate opponent doesn’t produce that big-fight feel. But staying active in this case will be key. The only problem is Alvarez would be considered a massive favorite against any of the names thought to be in play — from Jason Quigley and Willie Monroe Jr. to John Ryder and David Lemieux.

It can be argued that no fighter in the sport was hotter than Spence for most of 2019 when he blanked Mikey Garcia in his first pay-per-view headlining role and came back in the fall to unify welterweight titles by edging Shawn Porter in a Fight-of-the-Year candidate. His disturbing car wreck months later was a major setback as Spence was ejected from his Ferrari and lucky to be alive after a solo car wreck in which he was under the influence and speeding.

The quarantine only delayed a potential return while putting on hold a possible comeback fight against former champion Mikey Garcia. A pound-for-pound best fighter in the game, there’s nothing more reassuring he can do to kill any concerns that he’ll be different after the physical and mental fallout of the accident than returning with a big win against a credible name. Given Spence’s apparent want to match himself tough and not waste anytime, he should get that chance.

Fury claimed the WBC heavyweight world title from Wilder back in February, but the American has activated his rematch clause.Whyte became mandatory after defeating Oscar Rivas last year and also holds the ‘interim’ belt.

Their statement read: “The highly anticipated match between WBC ‘interim’ heavyweight champion, Dillian Whyte from the UK against Alexander Povetkin from Russia has been confirmed for August 22.

“The bout will take place at the headquarters of Matchroom Boxing in Brentwood, England, will be televised live on Sky Sports Box Office and is a major component of the resumption of boxing activity globally.

“The WBC has confirmed that if WBC ‘interim’ champion Whyte is triumphant against Povetkin, the winner of the upcoming Fury vs Wilder III bout, which is scheduled for December 19, must face ‘interim’ champion Whyte in the mandatory defense of the WBC heavyweight world title early next year.

“The WBC is very much looking forward to this tremendous activity in the heavyweight division.”However, Fury has agreed terms for two fights with Anthony Joshua next year.

While many are taking the WBC’s latest statement to mean the ‘Gypsy King’ will definitely have to face Whyte next, one of their rules allows for some wiggle room.

The WBC has confirmed the winner of Fury-Wilder 3 must make a mandatory title defence against Whyte in early 2021.

But Fury’s US promoter Bob Arum has suggested the trilogy fight might be pushed back until February and Hearn says Whyte could even replace Wilder, if he defeats Alexander Povetkin on August 22, live on Sky Sports Box Office.

Well I’m hearing what we hoped the WBC would enforce, which is the promise that fight has to happen.

“The official date is before the end of February 2021. Obviously if Wilder-Fury takes place in December, maybe that gets pushed back a little bit.

“Great news for Dillian Whyte who has been pushing so hard, fully deserves this shot more than any fighter in boxing, forget the heavyweight division, but he does have business to attend to on August 22 against Alexander Povetkin.

“That makes that fight even more dangerous, but as far as we’re concerned Fury-Wilder must happen this year, and if it doesn’t we’re ready to go with Whyte against Fury, subject to him beating Povetkin in a couple of weeks’ time.”

Anthony Joshua and Fury have agreed terms in principle on a two-fight deal for an undisputed world title clash next year, although the unified champion’s mandatory commitments could complicate his plans.
IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev is set to face Joshua in December, while Oleksandr Usyk has also lined up a mandated WBO title shot, if the Ukrainian wins a rescheduled fight against Derek Chisora.

“AJ is going to box in December and he won’t box again until June or July of next year, so there’s plenty of time to fit in that mandatory defence,” said Hearn.

If you use this content, you legally agree to credit World Boxing News and backlink to our story WBC confirm Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder III date, Dillian Whyte is next | WBN – World Boxing News

Outlining earlier reports, the WBC says the third encounter will go ahead the week before Christmas. All we need now is a venue. In further ratification, the WBC has reiterated that British contender Dillian Whyte will one hundred percent battle the winner. This puts a firm full stop on any hopes Anthony Joshua had of landing Fury for an undisputed unification before his old rival.

The highly anticipated match between WBC interim Heavyweight Champion, Dillian Whyte from the UK against former champion Alexander Povetkin from Russia has been confirmed for 22 August. “The bout will take place at the headquarters of Matchroom Boxing in Brentwood, England. It will be televised live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and Ireland. Also on DAZN around the world. “Whyte vs Povetkin is a major component of the resumption of boxing activity globally.

If you use this content, you legally agree to credit World Boxing News and backlink to our story WBC confirm Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder III date, Dillian Whyte is next | WBN – World Boxing News

As Golden Boy Promotions makes its return on DAZN this Friday with a card headlined by star welterweight prospect Vergil Ortiz Jr. and Premier Boxing Champions reportedly close to announcing its second-half schedule, the sport of boxing is as close to being “back” as it’s been since the start of the quarantine in March amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those join Top Rank having already been regularly running 2-3 smaller shows per week in its Las Vegas bubble and Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Sport announcing a four-card summer series to take place in the backyard of a mansion outside London.