The recent back-and-forthing between unified heavyweight champion, Oleksandr Usyk, and WBC belt-holder, Tyson Fury is very reminiscent of the public bantering between Roy Jones and Bernard Hopkins about 20 years ago as they bickered about terms for a possible rematch in the summer of 2002.
Hopkins, who had become the undisputed middleweight titlist after stopping Felix Trinidad, was demanding a 50-50 split versus the man who had defeated him in 1993. While 'RJ', who was considered the best boxer on the planet, was insisting on a 60-40 split. The pair argued on HBO after Hopkins defeated Carl Daniels.
Jones eventually countered with this song, "60-40":
Talks eventually fizzled, and the two wouldn't meet again till years later well after the expiration date for that rematch had passed.
Currently, Usyk and Fury are scheduled (sort of) to meet on April 29th in Wembley Stadium, but as of now, there has been no official announcement for this highly anticipated showdown. Originally, as talk centered around this fight taking place in the Middle East, both sides had agreed to an even split of the money. Then as that deal fell through, Fury and his side, stated that with this fight now being staged in England that it should be a 70-30 split in their favor. Usyk eventually accepted those terms. All of this played out over Twitter last week.
Just when it seemed like Fury-Usky was a go, Fury claimed that Usyk was insisting on a rematch clause.
Which was strongly denied by Usyk's team. There was talk of Fury wanting this fight moved back to June, which Usyk's team has balked at. At this moment, it's not clear if this fight is taking place or not.
Egis Klimas, the manager for Usyk told SNAC.com on Monday, "We've been in negotiations for the fight for three months, and Tyson Fury's side was coming back and forth with, 'we need this, we need that, Tyson wants this, he doesn't want to give tickets, the split,' this and that and that.
"We're tired, and we have obligations with other mandatory fighters, we don't want to hold them,'' Klimas continued, "We had the obligatins with the WBA. Most likely Tyson was trying to pull a scam, bluffing, he came out in the media and said, '70-30, take it or leave it.' And before the negotiation, from Tyson's people, from Tyson's attorney, he came in and said Tyson wants to put in a rematch clause in the contract, and we said, 'no problem, lets put the rematch clause.'"
Klimas says that they have no issues with the split or the rematch clause, but with this caveat, "we have to fight on April 29th as we agreed, as we were talking about for three months." He added later, "We're going to enclose in the contract, the 70-30 is for April 29th. If that fight is going to move to a different date, it's not going to be a 70-30 deal, it's going to be 50-50."
It's clear that they are perturbed by the ever-changing demands of Fury.
"So what's it going to be tomorrow? You can not fight with right hand? Only one hand? What's going to be next? We don't know what's going to be next from this guy," stated Klimas, who added that if a deal wasn't finalized by the end of this week, they would be moving on to take care of their mandatory obligations.
When asked on Monday about the status of this fight, Bob Arum said optimistically, "I think it's pretty well done. I think we'll get have it done soon."
Mikey Williams/Top Rank
By Thursday, Klimas was in Spain, and he updated the situation. "It's changed, Top Rank got more involved in it, but not too much. They're still treating Oleksandr Usyk like they did with Derek Chisora, or Dillian Whyte. They act like it's just a regular Fury fight in the UK, and everything has to be by Fury's rules.''
As for this weekend deadline, well, that could be extended a bit.
"We're going to wait because right now we're in the process of hiring British counsel because they are going by the British rules," explained Klimas, who realizes the the popularity of 'the Gypsy King' in his country, but also the accomplishments of his own client who is very familiar to British fans after defeating Anthony Joshua twice. "We are the outsider, but we can't just play by everything they throw to us. Enough is enough."
So as it stands, Fury-Usyk may or may not happen next.
Klimas reiterated, "If this fight is going to happen, only April 29th. Or it's just going to be cancelled, and we'll go with the mandatory."
According to Klimas, it looks like Vasiliy Lomachenko will face undisputed lightweight champion, Devin Haney, on May 20 in Las Vegas....Adrien Broner has signed a promotional contract with Don King. That should be interesting....The WBC has ordered their light heavyweight titlist, Artur Beterbiev, to face Callum Smith....Manny Pacquiao coming back? Say it ain't so!!....I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org....