With the WBC heavyweight championship on the line, the Gypsy King and the Bronze Bomber make it a trilogy Saturday night.
Big man violence.
It’s timeless and the people demand it: Two gigantic fellows wailing on each other inside a well-lit ring surrounded by a delirious who’s-who of autotune rappers, TikTok trillionaires, crypto day-traders with “manageable” cocaine problems, Kyle Kuzma, and overseas dignitaries propped up by petroleum-drenched sovereign wealth funds.
Heavyweight championship boxing is an institution unto itself. And Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, two violent big men exchange percussive punishment for the third and final time. It’s Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder for the former’s WBC title belt in a rare co-promotion between Top Rank and PBC.
Let us prepare for these hands.
Wilder vs. Fury: A History of Violence
1 Dec. 2018: Just two fights into his comeback from a nearly three-year layoff, Fury faced WBC champ Wilder at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Showtime pay-per-view. The Gypsy King outboxed the Bronze Bomber most of the way through, but Wilder knocked down the challenger once in Round 9 and again in Round 12, coming agonizingly close to a 10-count.
In the end, the fight was judged as a split draw, which to this day is considered an uncharitable result for Fury.
22 Feb. 2020: Just a couple short weeks before the world shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the rivals ran it back in Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena — and the nature of the action couldn’t have been more different than the first go-round. A bigger, more aggressive Fury puzzled and pummeled Wilder, knocking him to the canvas and forcing him to bleed out of his ear before the WBC belt-holder’s corner threw in the towel in Round 7.
It was the first and only defeat of Wilder’s career.
Wilder-Fury 3 Fight Purses & Betting Odds
Deontay Wilder is the betting underdog at +230 on FanDuel. His purse guarantee is $20 million, plus 40% of PPV revenue.
Ring walks are expected to take place for the main event at 11:30 p.m. ET.
A Word on the State of Boxing from Top Rank CRO Brian Kelly
Bob Arum’s Top Rank has been promoting fights for five decades, but an old shop has no choice but to learn new tricks in this age of Trillers and Pauls. As the organization’s first-ever Chief Revenue Officer, that’s where Brian Kelly comes in.
Here’s what he told Boardroom this week about the state of the business and the status of the Sweet Science:
You take a look at boxing right now, it’s the No. 2 sport among Hispanics. It’s No. 4 among English-dominant bilingual Hispanics. 57% of our audience is multicultural, and when you take a look at the rest of the sports landscape from a multicultural viewership perspective, Top Rank actually ranks No. 1 versus all the other major sports on the TV side. No. 2 is the NBA at 51%. The UFC and NFL are [at] 33% and 29%.
There’s a narrative here. There’s a very engaged, loyal, passionate audience, particularly among the multicultural skew, that Top Rank delivers.
You have to fish where the fish are; if there’s a large audience consuming content across Tiktok, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat, we need to have not just a presence, but a dominating presence on these platforms.
Brand and audience development are incredibly important KPIs for our company, and that’s how we do it.
Click here to read Boardroom’s full interview with Brian Kelly.
Wilder-Fury 3 Fight Card
WBC heavyweight championship: Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder
Heavyweight bout: Frank Sanchez vs. Efe Ajagba
Heavyweight bout: Adam Kownacki vs. Robert Helenius
Heavyweight bout: Jared Anderson vs. Vladimir Tereshkin
Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder III takes place on joint pay-per-view on both ESPN+ and FOX Sports on Saturday, Oct. 9. The main card begins at 9 p.m. ET.