Saturday was going to be one for the books for both Bob Arum and Tyson Fury.
They would have jetted to Kentucky on Friday, where the fighter was to whisper encouragement to the horse King Fury, in the field for the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby in Louisville.
Bad news broke Friday morning when Arum got a call that King Fury was a scratch.
“The plane was ready to go,” the promoter said. “The horse has a fever. I asked Tyson, ‘You still wanna go?’ And he said, ‘Nah, my horse isn’t running.’”
20 thoroughbreds will dash for glory and a $3 million chunk of change, but the horse owned by ex-Reebok boss Paul Fireman won’t be in the mix. And yes: The horse truly is named after the pugilist, as trainer Kenny McPeek tagged him “King Fury” after Fireman gave him the honor of choosing a name. McPeek had been impressed with the ring skills of Fury in the second match against Deontay Wilder.
The majestic beast had won three of his six starts, and was on the books as a 20-to-1 shot to cross the line first. They’d taken up a collection in the Top Rank office, and $2,000 was collected to get placed on King Fury. Arum’s wife Lovee had settled on some fashionable and striking attire, and Fury, accompanied by trainer Sugar Hill, was going to build buzz at Churchill Downs.
Now, it’s back to waiting, and seeing what’s next for the boxer in regards to his next ring test.
On Wednesday night, Arum told me that if he were a betting man, he’d bet that we’d not see Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua this summer. The next day, he went a step further, telling Gareth Davies, “The fight in July or August is dead in the water as far as we are concerned. The two fighters need to go and have other fights this summer while the negotiations for that fight in the Middle East conclude.”
I asked Arum for the very latest. Is there still hope?
“It’s a very complicated deal, back-and-forth, if we were planning the fight for December maybe we’d have a chance,” Arum said. “This in my opinion is not the way it’s gonna happen. As far as Tyson is concerned, he wants a fight now. People are working to make it happen, but I have absolutely no faith that it will happen by the summer. But attempts are still going on, so it’s not dead in the water.”
July or August may be out, but he didn’t mention September, so maybe you shouldn’t close your mind to a late summer clash.
Have Arum and Fury and that crew dived much into what Plan B would look like?
“I had dinner with Fury last night,” Arum said. “He wants to fight as soon as possible, and next week we will effectuate that wish.”
And should we assume that they are pivoting to new talks with Deontay Wilder, for a third collision between those two?
“You gotta wait until next week,” Arum said, with a polite rebuff. “But if I’m predicting, I would say Fury-Joshua is dead in the water. You can’t say that it’s dead, people are still trying to work it out, but in my opinion it will be dead in the water.”