Sometimes in boxing a fight becomes so big that it no longer can be ignored. There are numerous examples of this, including Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, and Benn vs. Eubank 1 and 2.
However, although financial pressures and fan clamour can bring a fight closer to happening, the complex business of boxing can also scupper fights. Sportsbooks and punters alike were left deflated that Calzaghe never fought Froch, or that Khan never faced Brook.
With Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury controlled by rival factions of the boxing business fraternity, it seemed like theirs would be another dream fight condemned to the scrap heap.
But with the boxing business on its knees, and many pro and amateur boxing gyms facing the tough decision of whether to abandon the sport altogether, it does seem that there is now an appetite for the fight to happen, to give the overall business of boxing a much needed shot in the arm.
In this article we look at the long-term business ramifications of the fight happening, as well as how the outcome could shape the sport for decades to come.
The Biggest All-UK Heavyweight Bout Ever
The money being talked about for this fight is mind-boggling, with most estimates showing that the fighters would be set to rake in over $100 million each.
This is in large part because it is so hard for bookmakers and fans to make up their minds about which man will come out on top. Boxing purists are wagering their sports free bets mostly on the Gypsy King, with other general British sports followers selecting enhanced odds offers to back the Olympic gold medallist. It’s going to be a close fight.
There is, of course, the small matter of both men holding all the world championship belts between them, and Fury being the lineal heavyweight king. This all combines to have odds makers quaking in their boots about who to make the favourite, but also eager to just see the fight take place.
Will Animosity Between Promoters Scupper a Deal at the Last?
One thing that may still stick a spanner in the works of this fight is that the owners of Matchroom, who control AJ, and Top Rank, who control Fury, are mortal enemies, with both vying to wrest overall control of the sport from one another.
With Canelo Alvarez being a free agent at the moment and floating between television networks, the winner of Fury vs. AJ would become the biggest contracted boxing star on the planet, perhaps even overtaking Canelo as boxing’s main Box Office draw.
There is so much more at stake than a career defining win when AJ and Fury meet in the ring, with the very soul of boxing up for grabs
Will the Money Trickle Down to the Grass Roots?
The governance of boxing has always been a total mess, with the amateur arm of the sport, AIBA, even more mired in controversy than its professional counterparts.
The people who ultimately suffer the most from this are the grass roots boxing gyms that give life to the sport, and do so much good work in underprivileged communities.
The hope is that any windfall made from such a super fight can trickle down to these vitally important gyms and clubs, otherwise many may be forced to close.
Will the Middle Eastern location change things?
As things stand, it seems that a two-fight deal will be put in place. The first is set to take place in the Middle East and the second is likely to be back in the UK or in the US.
At first glance this may not seem like a big deal. Some of Fury’s management team are based in the Middle East, and AJ has already fought there when he avenged his loss to Ruiz Jnr.
However, with the UFC also hosting fights in the region this year, it may well be the case that top level boxing leaves British shores and does not come back for a while.
Could the Fight Trigger a New UFC Style Boxing Organisation?
Perhaps the most interesting business ramification attached to this mega fight is the direction the sport goes in once the dust has settled.
A win for AJ could properly launch the sports streaming service he heads called DAZN, with the company looking to help boxing bounce back in 2021 just as other streaming services promise to do for the film and television industries.
AJ’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, has also talked up his ambition to become the Dana White of boxing, taking 100% control of the sport, whose brand he can then shape and whose super fights he can ensure always happen.
Bob Arum, meanwhile, is keen to see that the sport remains tied to traditional television networks like ESPN. A win for Fury would see a solidifying of the old guard.
Truly everything is up for grabs when these two giants eventually do lock horns. Who do you have your money on?