When Top Rank promoter Bob Arum announced that he had signed lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury to a co-promotional deal with Frank Warren on Monday to bring his fights to ESPN platforms, it changed the dynamic of the possibility for a rematch with world titleholder Deontay Wilder.
Wilder and Fury were already far down the road negotiating a sequel that would have headlined another Showtime PPV card. Arum said he wanted to also bring Wilder, who is not signed to a promoter, to ESPN and have him fight the rematch with Fury in the fall on pay-per-view following interim bouts for both on ESPN+ this summer. Arum promised to send Wilder's team "a tremendous offer."
While Wilder's co-manager Shelly Finkel declined to characterize the scope of the offer, he did tell ESPN on Friday that he had indeed received an offer from Top Rank for a multifight deal for Wilder that would include a rematch with Fury, whom he fought to an entertaining draw on Dec. 1 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
"They made an offer. I wrote back that we received it. We will review it and we will respond," Finkel said. "If we are amenable to the offer, we will be able to get something done. If the terms are amenable to us, something will happen. If not, it won't."
Finkel said he will go over the specifics of the offer with Wilder, as well as fellow co-managers Al Haymon and Jay Deas, who is also Wilder's trainer.
"We will all talk it through and then we will make a decision," Finkel said. "That's how we do it. But we want the rematch, so that is not the issue."
Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs), 33, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, has been aligned with Showtime and Haymon's Premier Boxing Champions but has said he is not contractually tied to any network. Finkel declined to say whether he was or wasn't.
Still, Wilder has forcefully said he wants to fight a rematch with Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs), 30, of England, who outboxed him for long stretches in their December bout. But Wilder also used his vaunted punching power to score two knockdowns, one in the ninth round and a thunderous one in the 12th round that he somehow managed to survive. In the end, the judges ruled it a split draw -- 115-111 for Wilder, 114-112 for Fury and 113-113 -- prompting both fighters and fans to immediately call for a rematch.
With the Wilder and Fury camps nearing a deal, the WBC, whose title Wilder holds, ordered them to fight next and set a purse bid date. Twice it was postponed because the sides told the sanctioning body they were close to an agreement. Then came Fury's signing with Top Rank, leaving the rematch up in the air.
On Friday, WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman said that he has been in communication with both sides to see where talks for the rematch stand.
"There will be no further comments until the WBC receives official communication from both sides by Tuesday, Feb. 26th," Sulaiman said.
Later Friday, Sulaiman notified both sides that he had made an error and that they have until Wednesday night to tell him where things stand with the rematch.