If the United States does not welcome back crowds to sporting events by October, the highly anticipated Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder trilogy fight "is extremely likely" to be held in Sydney on Boxing Day, says Australian promoter Dean Lonergan.
Australia has had enormous success in containing COVID-19, with the island nation seeing a total of just 7,267 cases, compared to over two million in the United States and 287,000 in the United Kingdom. This week, the NRL is beginning to drip feed crowds back into venues, while the AFL is also exploring avenues to get fans in attendance at games.
Lonergan's unexpected pitch to host the Fury-Wilder bout in Australia was sent to Top Rank CEO Bob Arum last month and was reportedly "well received" by the legendary fight promoter.
"About six weeks ago I thought Australia is doing quite an amazing job with coronavirus infection rates, and figured why not bring the fight here," Lonergan told ESPN. "Nobody likes to leave money on the table, so the fact you can do it in front of a big crowd is a huge bonus.
"The bulk of the money which comes from Wilder vs. Fury comes from TV, and not from the gate. If you have a look at the gate from the MGM Grand -- where they held the last fight -- they did US$15 million. Now I don't know if we can get to US$15 million, but I'm confident we could get to a number which is reasonable enough that they would say let's go down to Australia. It's far more appealing than nothing.
"We're one of only two places in the mix, Macau and here. The US isn't in the mix because they won't be having crowds for a very long time. If there's no crowds going back to the US, or even before October, you'd say this is extremely likely."
Arum has since commented on the possibility of taking arguably the year's biggest fight Down Under, saying crowds will likely be the determining factor.
"We are working through everything but in essence we have to do it this year and the question then is will Australia, which seems like they have the coronavirus under control, would they allow an event with a full stadium?" Arum said. "It is a real, real possibility. Again, there is so much involved that is usually not involved in planning an event because of this virus."
Lonergan, who helped put on 2017's Battle of Brisbane between Manny Pacquiao and Jeff Horn, explained the logistics behind the fight pitch.
"I like Bankwest Stadium in Sydney," Lonergan told ESPN. "In a boxing configuration, you could get 40,000 people there, at a pinch 45,000. I think that would sell out. We would 100 percent look at doing this in Melbourne, because it has a great history with UFC at Marvel Stadium. This would easily work in Melbourne.
"We could do it at 1:30pm in the afternoon on Boxing Day in Australia, which is primetime in the US [on Christmas Day]. Boxing Day isn't the be all and end all. At the end of the day we'll fit in with what those guys want.
"This fight would be distributed to 150 countries around the world. From a sheer spectacle and global distribution, this would be the most significant boxing fight in Australian boxing history."
Tyson Fury's co-promoter Frank Warren says he has yet to see an offer to stage Fury-Deontay Wilder III in Australia.
"Until there's an offer on the table, there's nothing concrete, it's just interest at the moment," Warren told ESPN.
The first fight between Fury and Wilder, in 2018, ended in a draw. More recently, Fury stopped Wilder in the seventh round to earn the WBC heavyweight title.
Nick Parkinson contributed to the reporting of this story.