It would be nine days away from the third fight between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder. That’s if fate hadn’t intervened, and sent a reminder that things change, and but it’s always wise to keep in the back of your mind that the best laid plans can quickly fall off the tracks.
Oct. 9 is the new date to circle on your calendar for a heavyweight tussle between two men who are intimately (and violently) acquainted.
“I wanted nothing more than to smash the big dosser on July 24, but I guess the beating will have to wait,” Fury said in a Thursday press release. “Make no mistake, I will be back and better than ever. We will fight Oct. 9, and I will knock him spark out!”
“This is what we went to arbitration for,” said Shelly Finkel, Wilder’s manager, in the same release. “Deontay just wanted what was owed to him. He remains ready to reclaim his world title on Oct. 9.’’
So, how confident is Shelly that the show will go on?
“I am sure as much as I can be,” he said when I touched base with him Thursday. “Deontay is gonna be ready, but there are no guarantees in life. Pernell Whitaker stepped off a curb and got hit by a car.”
Finkel managed Whitaker, who died tragically in 2019, who was part of that stellar collection of USA talent that performed so well at the 1984 Olympics, and then transitioned with hefty fanfare to the pro scene.
We’ve been reminded of the “no guarantees” axiom quite a bit in recent times, haven’t we? We saw the Teofimo Lopez vs George Kambosos Jr match scratched, because Teofimo contracted COVID. That one has moved — for various reasons — from June 5 to June 19 to Aug. 14 to Sept. 11, and now the plan is Oct. 17 in Australia, which Lopez’s team may not do.
Anyone reading this is probably aware, there is no shortage of theorists on social media who think the Lopez and Fury COVID positives are BS, that both those promotions got moved because of other reasons. And not just courtesy of Joe Blows from Idaho. Promoter Leonard Ellerbe pointed out that as far as he knew, ticket sales for Lopez-Kambosos in Miami were weak. Basically, he toed the line, showing proper decency and decorum to Teofimo, while also furnishing his suspicion that the COVID diagnosis would allow the fight to be postponed, so more work could be done to heighten interest, and boost ticket sales.
“Wishing (Teofimo) a speedy recovery, COVID is no joke, it has damaged so many families around the world,” Ellerbe Tweeted. “Teo and his pops have told everyone they are predicting two million PPV buys for his fight against Kambosos. One thing for sure before testing positive, ticket sales were completely trash!”
Another promoter, Eddie Hearn, spoke out on his suspicions. He told Ak and Barak on SiriusXM that he thinks the Fury COVID news is fishy smelling.
“I don’t know whether it was 25 percent or 30 percent of the tickets have been sold, but that’s disastrous,” said Hearn, who right now has no extra love for Fury and promoter Bob Arum, after plans for an Anthony Joshua-Tyson Fury fight got torched. “There was no hype. This was going to do very, very poor pay-per-view numbers.”
Finkel has been in the fight game since the 1970s, he’s well aware of the tricks of the trade, and how it’s the ultimate fool’s errand to make plans too far ahead in boxing, because situations so frequently change.
So he’s taking the Fury COVID development at face value, and not investing any time or energy in alternative theories.
“I want to believe the man had COVID, that’s why he postponed, and he will be OK to fight Oct. 9,” Finkel told Bad Left Hook. “We had a fight, the man cancelled, said he was COVID positive.”
My Three Cents: There would be less chatter if there were more transparency. In cases like these, to tamp down on the conspiracy theorizing, if I were a manager or promoter, I’d release documents and have a doctor testify to assure the masses that no subterfuge was afoot. I’m not sure why more people don’t go that route, to be honest.
Also, there’s no polite way to say this: Anyone counting down to a $3 million or $30 million dollar payday should get fully vaccinated, to radically lessen the chance they contract COVID and/or get get sick from the infection. To not do so is foolish, though it would be narrow-minded to dismiss the reality that peoples’ skepticism is earned, because there is a too-rich history of people in power manipulating the masses with callous indifference.