Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images
The news hit like a punch to the gut on Thursday morning. That's because Tyson Fury was stricken with Covid, his July 24th appointment versus Deontay Wilder would be postponed. Scheduled to be held at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, the star-crossed trilogy will now conclude (hopefully) in early October.
While we all certainly wish Fury a quick recovery, it has to be stated: while he's a skilled boxer and charismatic personality --- he's been an awful heavyweight champion.
Perhaps it's a quaint notion, but there's a certain responsibility to defend what is still one of the biggest prizes in sport. Fury, has simply failed to live up to his obligations.
So far in two different occasions, as the king of the division, he has made a grand total of zero defenses. (And no, we are not counting his bout versus Tom Schwarz and Otto Wallin as 'the linear champion', which was nothing more than a Top Rank/ESPN marketing hook)
Fury makes Gary Russell look like an active world champion.
Go back to late 2015 when Fury outpointed Wladmir Klitschko for the undisputed heavyweight championship, he followed that up by never following through with the rematch clause for that fight, and then fell into a personal abyss that kept him out of the ring for nearly two-and-a-half years. At this point the heavyweight titles had become fractured and the likes of Wilder and Anthony Joshua eventually began their runs as belt-holders -- and to their credit, they actually made numerous defenses of their belts.
After conclusively defeating Wilder last February in seven rounds to capture the WBC title, Fury has yet to defend it. Granted, there was the world-wide pandemic that sidelined everybody in the sport, but keep in mind that that the trio of Fury, Wilder and Fury have fought a grand total of one time between them since that fateful night of February 22, 2020. To put this into perspective, Canelo Alvarez has fought three times since December, and could possibly lace'em up again by the early fall.
Wilder-Fury II was supposed to represent a renaissance of sorts for the heavyweight division and the sport of boxing. But quite frankly, has been a bit of a bust. The joint pay-per-view event with FOX and ESPN failed to live up to expectations, and the fight itself was a one-sided affair that had Wilder and his fanatical following spouting off more conspiracy theories than Oliver Stone on a cocaine binge.
While Fury and Top Rank began negotiations for a bout with Joshua at the beginning of 2021, they told anyone that would listen that they no longer had any contractual obligation to face Wilder after the month of October. But Wilder and his representatives stood firm, and an arbitrator agreed with them.
Like it or not, a third go-around with Fury was well within Wilders rights. For better or worse, this is what he was dead set on. He was more than willing to show up on the night of July 24th. In speaking to his adviser, Shelly Finkel, he expressed a bit of frustration that while their camp had done everything in their power to make sure that they delivered their man by taking every precaution available, he wondered if the same efforts were made on the opposing side.
There are some who doubt that Fury is ill, we aren't going to speculate either way (but all of you are free to have your own thoughts and opinions on the matter). But this much is certain, ticket sales weren't very healthy as thousands of tickets were still available for this fight. No, the British weren't coming, which certainly didn't help matters. But this shows that there was somewhat limited interest in this trilogy.
Now, the fight is being rescheduled for early October. Based on Fury's history, I'd put that down in pencil and not ink. As for Wilder, well, he still has only one thing on his mind.
"He told me, all he wants is his revenge," said Finkel.
AT THE BANC
It was an entertaining night of boxing this past Friday at the Banc of California Stadium, which was built over the old Los Angeles Sports Arena, and adjacent to the LA Coliseum. Based on what I was told, look for this venue to become a semi-regular destination for boxing in the near future.
The main event featured former WBO super middleweight champion, Gilberto 'Zurdo' Ramirez, who struck down Sullivan Barrera with a series of well-placed body shots to stop him in four. This was exactly the type of definitive victory he needed to begin his run with Golden Boy Promotions.
Up next could be a fight with WBA 175 pound titlist, Dmitry Bivol. Both sides have expressed interest, and quite frankly, both boxers need a defining fight as they eventually angle for a shot at cash cow Canelo
This card also saw Joseph Diaz pound out a hard-earned 12 round decision over Javier Fortuna to win the WBC interim lightweight title. The last year or so haven't been easy for Diaz, who really is no longer that 'boy-next-door' but a young man who has found that life can be very difficult when making questionable life decisions. But now that he's a father, and with a fresh start, he believes he's begun a new chapter in his life and career.
Lightweight William Zepeda who thrashed Hector Tanajara in six rounds at 'the Banc' has quickly become must-see TV....Both Jaime Munguia and Gabe Rosado were at the event on Friday, and it looks certain that they will battle in the fall...Junior welterweight hopeful, Brandun Lee, tells me that he will be on the August 14th card at the Dignity Health Sports Park (aka, 'the War Grounds') in Carson, California....Really looking forward to Jermell Charlo-Brian Castano bout for all the marbles at junior middleweight, which takes place in San Antonio on Showtime this upcoming weekend. More on that soon... My email is firstname.lastname@example.org