Over the years, one of the biggest issues with boxing has been politics.
Specifically, the fact that rival promoters have often times been unwilling to work with each other has hindered the sport, preventing high-profile fights from taking place or preventing them from taking place at the right time.
This issue is the reason why it took nearly five years for Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao to finally meet in the squared circle and why it occurred at a time when both men were clearly at the tail ends of their respective careers.
It’s why there seems to be no clear time table for an undoubtedly intriguing Welterweight title fight between Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford.
And these are only a few examples of how politics in boxing have hindered the sport.
But as we move into 2020, it seems as if greener pastures may actually lie ahead and two aforementioned men, Wilder and Fury, are playing huge roles in this shift.
Wilder, the reigning WBC Heavyweight champion and one of the most feared punchers the sport has ever seen, and Fury, the man considered to be the division’s lineal champion, met for the first time in December 2018.
Fury, meanwhile, was advised and promoted solely by English promoter Frank Warren, the owner of Queensbury Promotions. According to both sides, the fight was incredibly easy to make. Both sides wanted it and they made it happen.
And when it came time for the two towering Heavyweights to clash, the two delivered, as Wilder and Fury battled it out in an electric 12-round affair.
Many felt as if Fury had outboxed Wilder for the majority of the bout, though “The Bronze Bomber” made his case with two knockdowns, the second of which nearly ended the fight in the final round.
Ultimately, the bout was ruled a split-draw, an unfortunate and controversial ending to what was a tremendous fight. Given the result, the boxing community immediately began to campaign for a rematch and for a moment, it seemed as if the rematch would be booked right away.
This move made it seem as if a rematch between Fury and Wilder was off the table, as Arum and Haymon rarely do business together. Premier Boxing Champions also has deals with FOX and Showtime as opposed to ESPN.
Yet, here we are. Later this evening, Wilder and Fury will indeed settle their score, as the two are set to rematch live on an ESPN+ and FOX joint pay-per-view from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Given the magnitude of the fight, Arum and Haymon put their differences aside. They put the promotional and television barriers aside and came together to make the fight happen, only elevating the sport in the process.
And according to Arum, the process couldn’t have gone any better.
“They [PBC] couldn’t be better partners,” he recently told The Athletic. “Everybody’s working together. It’s amazing. When I called Al to thank him and congratulate him for Fox running the two Super Bowl ads, he said, “Isn’t it wonderful how everyone is working so closely together?” It is great. This fight’s going to do huge numbers because of it.”
While this idea of rival promoters working together is undoubtedly beneficial for the sport in terms of big fights coming to fruition, it also works wonders in terms of simply promoting fights, as both Top Rank/ESPN and PBC/FOX have put tons of promotional muscle behind the rematch between Wilder and Fury.
There has been endless coverage on ESPN and FOX platforms, NCAA football appearances and Super Bowl ads.
In addition, both Top Rank and PBC have promoted the fight on social media and on their YouTube channels with interviews as well as Top Rank’s “Real Time” series and PBC’s “Inside PBC” series.
Simply put, when you bring so much knowledge and so much promotional power together, it makes the event and the fight feel bigger. It makes things feel special and it makes things fun.
Given the expected success of the rematch between Wilder and Fury and the excitement that has surrounded it leading up to fight night, it can only be hoped that co-promotion becomes a far more common trend in boxing.
If it does, we will begin to see the biggest fights the sport has to offer on a more frequent basis. And when they occur, those fights will be promoted heavily and feel as important as they should.