I love the fight game but it needs to give fans some big contests next year to make up for what Covid-19 did this year.
The news that Fury v Wilder III is basically off because Deontay Wilder ’s management team let his rematch clause expire was a massive blow to fans.
Since the triumphant return of Tyson Fury, the heavyweight division has ignited interest in boxing.
With Fury, Wilder and Anthony Joshua flying the flag, some of the biggest fights in boxing history were on the cards.
The willingness of Fury to fight anyone, plus AJ’s clear signals that he wants to get it on with his fellow Brit, raised the prospect of another golden heavyweight age.
For once, it seemed, the fight game was prepared to put boxing politics to one side to give fans what they wanted, what they demanded.
But the actions of Wilder and his team make me feel like we are back in the bad old days of boxers dodging the big fights.
If Wilder truly wanted to complete the trilogy with Fury, that rematch clause would surely not have been allowed to expire.
So 2021 really needs to see a Fury v AJ showdown.
I fully appreciate it will need a huge live audience and, if that means it is scheduled for the back end of the year, then so be it. But it really does need to happen next year.
Over in UFC, there seems to be some funny games going on in getting Conor McGregor back in the Octagon.
McGregor is the biggest draw in the sport by a country mile and talked at the start of this year about how he wanted regular fights to climb back to the top.
The pandemic messed up his plans badly but the reality is that McGregor still hasn’t fought while other top fighters have. That doesn’t reflect well on him.
We have had a public spat between McGregor and UFC supremo Dana White over the reasons behind his absence and now we have complications over the weight at which he fights for his next potential test (a rematch with Dustin Poirier). This needs to be resolved and it needs to be done quickly.
Now, more than ever, the fighters and the promoters need to park their egos and get the big fights happening. The fighters need to stay active and both sports need the energy of fans, the goodwill of fans.
I have loved promoter Eddie Hearn’s attitude towards the heavyweight division and his willingness to get Fury v AJ happening in 2021 – we need more of that.
Fight fans are patient but, like all sports fans, there is a limit to their patience.
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