BACK TO K-9 KIM’S CORNER

By Steve Kim Updated on October 07, 2021

the Long Winding Road to Fury-Wilder III

This Saturday night from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, the third go-around between WBC heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury, and Deontay Wilder takes place (knock on wood). They last met on February 22, 2020, where Fury stopped Wilder in seven one-sided rounds to take the title.

Since then, a lot of nothing has happened.

Neither Fury or Wilder has stepped inside the ring for live competition since that point. To be fair, most of it has not been their fault.

Their rematch back in 2020 was the last major event in boxing before the world-wide pandemic shut down the industry for a few months, and delayed numerous other plans.

Photo Credit: Top Rank/Mikey Williams

They were contractually set to have their third bout last summer, but given the magnitude of this heavyweight tilt it wasn't the type of fight that could be staged inside of a 'bubble' with no live audience. This was a promotion that needed the ticket revenue to help defray the cost to pay both fighters who would be earning eight-figure paydays.

Last fall Top Rank made plans to have Fury-Wilder on December 19 at the new multi-billion home of the Raiders, Allegiant Stadium. But eventually those plans were scrapped (https://www.espn.com/boxing/story/_/id/30009599/tyson-fury-deontay-wilder-iii-moving-dec-19-new-date-sought).

At this point this is where things got hazy. While Wilder eagerly awaited his opportunity at exacting revenge, Top Rank and Fury started to engage in talks with Anthony Joshua and Matchroom Sports (Eddie Hearn) in regards to a fight involving those two British big men at the beginning of this year. After several months, Hearn believed he had finally negotiated a deal for them to fight in the Middle East in the late summer. 

Only to have those plans scuttled as an arbitrator waged a finger Dikembe Mutombo-style at Fury and his side, ruling that they would still have to go through with the third match-up with Wilder. So at that juncture, Wilder-Fury was then placed on July 24, only to have Fury come down with covid.

Photo Credit: Top Rank/Mikey Williams

Now, they are finally here. It's fight week and it's difficult to gauge just how much of and impact all this has had on the overall interest in this event. While the rematch had an air of good feeling to with with multiple promoters and networks involved and working together for the greater good of boxing, the reality is that the second bout did relatively disappointing pay-per-view numbers, and beyond that, hasn't beckoned a new era of cross-promotions for big fights.

Meanwhile, Joshua was put in a position where he had to face his WBO mandatory, Oleksandr Usyk, and was promptly defeated by decision on September 25. 

What do they say about the best laid plans of mice and men?

Photo Credit: Top Rank/Mikey Williams

Regardless, there is still intrigue going into this weekends bout. Fury is considered the best heavyweight on the planet, while Wilder comes into this contest with a new trainer in Malik Scott, and will always have enough power in his potent right hand to have the proverbial punchers chance. This rivalry in the aftermath of their rematch has turned quite venomous and personal in nature. Fury and Wilder are two figures who elicit strong emotions (both favorable and otherwise) among the boxing fans throughout the world.

And finally, it's a high-profile heavyweight title bout -- and those still matter.

 

TICKET MARKET

There has been a lot of talk of just how well the tickets for this bout are selling. No, it wont have a crowd of around 70,000 like Joshua-Usyk did a couple of weeks ago, but according to Jim Boone of KO Tickets, the rumors of it's demise have been a bit exaggerated.

"The pubic is too transfixed on, 'it's a sell-out' or, 'it's not a sell-out', the fact of the matter is it's going to be a massive gate. Honestly speaking, they're going to get what they did at the MGM Grand for the rematch. Obviously, the MGM Grand Garden Arena was sold-out, you couldn't get a seat," Boone told SNAC.com earlier in the weak.

Fury-Wilder II garnered just under $17 million at the gate.

 

Photo Credit: Top Rank/Mikey Williams

Boone continued, "T-Mobile is a lot bigger, so they've probably sold as many tickets, and it's not going to be completely packed as far as every ticket sold but they've done very, very well. The rumor that is hasn't sold very well is way over-stated."

The MGM Grand Garden Arena has a listed capacity of 16,800, while the T-Mobile Arena (home of the Las Vegas Knights NHL franchise) is 20,000.

Does Boone, who will be in Las Vegas working the event, have any advice for those who still need tickets? Should they buy now, or wait a bit?

"It kind of depends, if you want to sit upstairs, they're offering $200 tickets. So you can literally get into the fight, have a good time for $220 with fees, give or take,'' he explained. "Lower seats, they've done some price flexing on some of the seats. So there's better deals, but it's getting tight.

"Of course, you can always wait and see how it shakes out," Boone continued. "But every time I look at the main seller, the T-Mobile site, you can see that the seats are definitely getting gobbled up in the secondary market. The brokers don't have that many seats. They're down to about 1,300 seats which may seem like a lot but for a big fight this, it's not a lot, at all.

"It's selling good."

 

FINAL FLURRIES

For those wanting to reach Mr. Boone (@kotickets on Twitter) his number is: 702-591-1638. Get a ticket from him and he'll probably buy you a Miller Lite.....According to him, "Terence Crawford-Shawn Porter is the hottest ticket in America today.".....Probellum (which is headed by Richard Schaefer) has announced the signings of Badou Jack, Eimantas Stanionis and Regis Prograis....Manager Tim VanNewhouse has announced the signing of amateur standout, Jan Paul Rivera. The 20 year old from Salinas, Puerto Rico is a right-handed featherweight, has a long amateur record of 180-23, and is a two-time defending Puerto Rico Elite National Champion, and won the Puerto Rico Youth National Championships in 2018 and 2019....Fury-Wilder coverage on Saturday will begin at 7 pm, PT/4 pm, PT with FS1 and ESPN2 airing the prelims. Then as the main pay-per-view card begins it will be the trio of Brian Kenny, Andre Ward and Lennox Lewis calling the action from ringside...How do Manny Diaz and Blake James still have their jobs?!?!?.... I can be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com.....

 

 

About Author
the Long Winding Road to Fury-Wilder III
  • Hosted 'the Main Event' on KIEV 870, and then later XTRA AM1150 ( a three hour show devoted to boxing) from 1996 to 1999.
  • Joined one of the first boxing websites, 'House of Boxing' in 1999, and then later became one of the founders of Maxboxing, that started in 2001, till his departure in 2014.
  • From 2014 to 2018, he was the lead columnist for UCNlive.com.
  • Was a boxing reporter for ESPN.com from 2018 to 2020.
  • He has written for Ring Magazine, International Boxing Digest and Boxing News.
  • Is the co-host of 'the 3 Knockdown Rule' with Mario Lopez, which has become of the most popular boxing podcasts the past several years.
  • Steve has also served as an announcer and analyst for RingTV, Thompson Boxing, 360 Promotions and CBS Sports Network.