The world may never see an undisputed heavyweight championship again — there are two, three or four champs depending on who you talk to — but boxing fans will get the heavyweight fight they have been demanding to see and it should deliver millions of dollars to all involved.
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Deontay Wilder, the WBC champ, will have his long-awaited rematch with Tyson Fury — widely seen as the “lineal champion” — on Feb. 22 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The duo first met last December in Los Angeles in one of boxing's most memorable fights that ended in a controversial draw.
Just seconds after the judges’ decision, boxing aficionados were clamoring for a rematch. Contracts and politics got in the way, but the rematch is set and it should be a moneymaker.
“I would be disappointed if the pay-per-view was less than 2 million buys,” boxing promoter Bob Arum told BoxingScene.com, “That’s the goal and estimation. I think it’s doable ... and we’re pulling off all of the stops to reach that number, or exceed it.”
According to the California State Athletic Commission, for the previous bout, Wilder had a guaranteed base purse of $4 million and Fury took home a guaranteed purse of $3 million. But that did not include profits from the pay-per-view sales of the fight which are estimated to have been $12 million for Wilder and $9 million for Fury.
The 2018 match-up drew 325,000 pay-per-view buys in the United States at $74.99 and another 420,000 in the United Kingdom, where Fury is from, falling far short of the 1 million that promoters had originally hoped to reach. Despite this year's hype and build-up and what is planned for the months ahead, it remains to be seen if 1 million fans will flock to this event, which is expected to be priced at $74.99, but could go as much as $99.99. The pay-per-view will be co-produced by ESPN and FOX Sports (FOX Business Network and Fox Sports are both divisions of Fox Corp.).
A heavyweight title fight could mean more dollars. The Wilder-Fury II match will do that, but it could shy in comparison to an even bigger fight: Wilder versus WBA/IBF/WBO champ Anthony Joshua.
But first, Wilder needs to get past Fury — and with the last fight a draw — that is far from a certainty.