Hall of Fame fighter turned manager and pundit, Barry McGuigan, has criticised the stalled negotiations between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk, claiming that the sport of boxing will lose fans if the fight isn’t made.
The two champions in the heavyweight division – Fury with the WBC, Usyk with the WBA, WBO and IBF – have been in talks since last December. There are no promotional beefs or broadcast disputes to stand in the way.
Still, no fight has been signed as of March 2023, and a date pencilled in for April 29 at Wembley Stadium makes things all the more urgent.
It’s perhaps the location that’s causing most issues behind the scenes lately, with the promise of a Saudi Arabia sized purse now off the table and the teams forced to renegotiate a split for Fury’s home country.
It’s reported that Usyk’s team want 50/50 for the four belt clash whilst the Brits feel they deserve the lion’s share.
McGuigan bemoaned the state of the sport and negotiations like these in his Mirror column.
“Greed and ego continue to get in the way of great sport, denying the public the fight they want to see, the two best guys going at each other. And boxing is the loser.”
He went on to say that fighters want more money and less risk.
“It is still disappointing and a stain on our sport that Fury and Usyk can’t get it on. Both see themselves as the principal attraction, and believe therefore that they deserve more.
Usyk wants more of the pie than Fury is prepared to give. You get around that by being sensible and seeing the bigger picture. The problem for boxing is there is no unifying structure or authority to bring the best together.
Fighters are ultimately in it for the must money they can make for the least risk. Which is how you end up with Fury v Paul instead of Fury v Usyk.”
It’s unclear who he’s advising to be sensible – perhaps both – but fans will be hard pressed to disagree should the fight go unmade and the opportunity of an undisputed champion go begging.