There’s a saying in life that talk is cheap.
However, the world of boxing continues to prove that’s not quite the case – veteran promoter Bob Arum’s loose lips might just have cost his man Tyson Fury a share of a £200 million fortune ahead of his proposed fight with Anthony Joshua after he claimed plans were ‘dead in the water’.
Talks over the showdown, which would unify the heavyweight division, had reportedly been progressing well, with AJ’s promoter Eddie Hearn claiming that a contract for the scrap was a ‘done deal’.
One of the biggest British boxing battles in decades is set to take place in….Saudi Arabia, naturally, although a deadline to have the fight signed, sealed and delivered has now passed – causing Arum, Fury’s promoter in the USA, to question what is happening.
But Hearn has claimed that there’s no need for alarm, even if Arum has spoken of the possibility of targeting a trilogy fight with Deontay Wilder for his client instead.
“The deal is done, the fighters have agreed to the site, the numbers, they’ve signed the contract already,” the Matchroom chief said.
“We just have to nail the site agreement, which is again agreed, but we have to go through the process.
“The deadline is last weekend or something, but you don’t let a deal fall through because it’s taking a few more days than anticipated.”
When asked if Joshua taking on his mandatory defence against Oleksandr Usyk was a possibility, Hearn replied:
“The only fight that’s acceptable to people is AJ against Fury, so let’s make that fight happen.”
The hope was that the two-fight series would start in July or August in Saudi Arabia, with the rematch in London or Las Vegas at the tailend of 2021.
The Other Big Fights That Never Happened
There is a history of certain boxers taking the path of least resistance in their career – essentially ducking tough fights in order to retain their winning record.
There’s also the spectre of contract negotiations – boxing, a sport based on ego, is an arena in which individuals want to earn what they feel they are worth.
It’s a state of play that has meant some massive fights have simply never materialised – the fear here with Fury vs AJ – or they have happened but simply a few years too late, such as Manny Pacquiao’s forever delayed bout with Floyd Mayweather.
Aside from Mike Tyson, two of the most dangerous heavyweights of the late 1980s and early 1990s were Lennox Lewis and Riddick Bowe, who many fans wanted to see tackle each other.
However, the encounter never happened – despite the fact that they locked horns in the amateur ranks – and it was even rumoured that Bowe deposited his WBC belt in a bin in London so that he didn’t have to take on his mandatory foe Lewis.
Between 2006 and 2008, Joe Calzaghe was the best super-middleweight on the planet, while Carl Froch was just about coming into his prime in the same division.
But the two Brits never met in the ring, and in retirement Froch has repeatedly claimed he would have beaten the Welshman, who is roundly considered one of the best pound-for-pound merchants in British boxing history.
For no other reason than it would have been an outstanding tear-up, Erik Morales vs Juan Manuel Marquez was always a big miss for the fans.
This duo were fearsome super featherweights with come forward styles, and they would have put on a classic – sadly, it never happened, and not due to contractual hang-ups but simply because their paths never crossed.