Rematch clauses are often one of the most common gripe amongst boxing fans, with the contract for seemingly every major fight these days – particularly in the heavyweight division – containing stipulations for a second meeting should the perceived ‘A’ side taste defeat.
Old footage of the iconic Muhammad Ali talking about rematch clauses, which were in their infancy back in his day, has surfaced, and many observers will echo the sentiment expressed by ‘The Greatest.’
Ali stated that contracts for his fights “never” contained rematch clauses before adding, “I’m a real fighting champion.”
“There are never return [rematch] clauses in my bouts – I’m a real fighting champion.”
“There are never return clauses and I’m giving every contender a chance to make some money.”
Half a century ago, @MuhammadAli gave his thoughts on rematch clauses. The process was looked at as an out and out embarrassment.
— Tom Gray (@Tom_Gray_Boxing) September 28, 2023
Although many will feel like fighters and their teams these days would do well to take a leaf out of Ali’s book, this would be wishful thinking in the extreme, such is the business of boxing.
There are already reports that the recently signed undisputed heavyweight clash between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk contains a two way rematch clause, despite not even having a date nor a venue yet.
Most have no issues with an established champion including a rematch clause in the contract for a voluntary defence, but there has been outrage at the inclusion of terms for a second fight in mandatory defences.
This was the case when Usyk first took Anthony Joshua as WBO mandatory challenger back in 2021, a fight the Ukrainian may not have been able to land if he didn’t accept the terms.