Tyson Fury’s US promoter, Bob Arum, is honest in his assessment of the failed negotiations with Oleksandr Usyk.
The two fighters were set to make history by putting their world titles on the line to crown the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis, and the first ever in the four-belt era.
Initially targeted for Saudi Arabia, complications mean the contest would have to take place at Wembley Stadium. This opened up a fresh set of talks about purse splits and rematch terms. Ultimately, things fell apart.
Arum told Fight Hub TV the reason it did so was the promise of Middle Eastern money.
“Nothing really went wrong. I think what happened was the initial deal was easy to make, but there was no urgency on either fighter because the Saudis were talking about putting up really big money to get the fight done in November / December.
So I think that it was hard to keep the fight together under those circumstances, because the money that they could make in Saudi if it was real was so many times more than what they would make for a big fight in the UK.”
It’s that Saudi influence on the sport that Arum ultimately attributes the collapse to, certainly not laying the blame at his own man’s door but saying he ‘doesn’t fault’ Usyk either.
“I don’t think you put the blame on anybody. It’s a business and I can see where each fighter was coming from. I was involved in the middle of those negotiations, and I don’t fault either fighter.”
It’s reported that the offer from Saudi Arabia will still be on the table come Winter, but attentions now turn to what each man does in between.
To keep the four-belt fight alive, they must stay active, but, more importantly stay champions.