October 4, 2023

Why Tyson Fury’s social media negotiations need to stop

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 06: WBC Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury records himself on a cell phone during a press conference at MGM Grand Garden Arena on October 6, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Fury will defend his title against Deontay Wilder at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on October 9.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Tyson Fury’s “updates” on social media don’t help the argument. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

It’s hard to escape the idea that as people who love boxing, we’re about to achieve something sensational, something big.

Boxing has been the easy sport to kick because it was fraught with problems for so many years: big fights weren’t made. After so many years, there is still no widely implemented anti-doping plan. The sanctioning bodies often hand out championship belts as if they were candy. There is no respected, recognized rating system used to develop legitimate contenders. The best fighters fight the least, and almost always behind a paywall. Service was often horrible; the best civil servants get older and there is no training system to replace them.

We could go on for days, but you get the idea.

There are so many issues, the great things out there Actually frequent occurrences are glossed over: fights are made. An influx of fantastic young talent is being brought into the sport. The talent level in general is at the highest level in years. Women’s boxing is on the rise and has proven popular because, well, the best fight the best and try to unite ties.

Social media, of course, remains one of the sport’s biggest problems, as it does in almost all other walks of life. The US Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, one of the world’s leading public health authorities, issued an advisory last week about the detrimental impact of social media on the mental health of our youth.

Tyson Fury, the lineal WBC heavyweight champion, is a leader in the fight for better mental health care and has spoken passionately about it on social media. Fury’s work as an advocate for people with mental health issues has been phenomenal and he deserves special credit for his efforts.

But his use of social media in his own profession has caused problems. Complicated, expensive contracts are not best negotiated in a public forum, and when they do, it quickly brings disinformation into the process. It hurts rather than helps to close a deal.

Fury, who holds the WBC and lineal titles, has made more than one video on Instagram speaking about his desire to fight undisputed heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk for the undisputed title or former unified champion, Anthony Joshua.

None of these fights are taking place and are unlikely to happen any time soon. Fury’s social media “updates” certainly didn’t help the process, especially the ones where he talks about percentages and who earns what, as he often does.

Boxing took a turn for the worse in the early 2000s when so many elite fighters began demanding rematch clauses and comeback fights during negotiations. They also wanted an extraordinarily high percentage of the gross, making it virtually impossible for anyone else to make money. If a promoter and a broadcaster can’t make money from the sport, what’s the point of continuing to do it?

Combat is at its best when the stakes are high: two elite fighters vie for a respected title, with no saving position. One fighter wins, becomes the champion and, at least for a while, the best dog. The other fighter loses and has to regroup, find a way back.

When that happens, combat does most of the business.

So it is insane to believe that it was the terms of a rematch clause that has so far prevented an undisputed heavyweight title fight between Fury and Usyk. Without a rematch clause, the stakes would have been the highest, but let’s face it: if it was a good fight, fans would still want to see it again.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 03: Oleksandr Usyk (L) and Tyson Fury (R) face off after the WBC Heavyweight Championship bout at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on December 3, 2022 in London, England.  (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Oleksandr Usyk (L) and Tyson Fury (R) face off following Fury’s stoppage of Derek Chisora ​​in their WBC heavyweight championship bout at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on December 3, 2022 in London, England. (Mikey Williams/Getty Images)

I would also like to see Fury fight Joshua. Both are elite fighters, although Fury currently has an edge in performance and form. They have long been rivals in the boxing-mad UK and a fight between them would draw a huge crowd.

Let’s make it happen.

But deals are often undone when things get said on social media and a small problem turns into something too big.

If Fury really wants to fight Usyk and/or Joshua – and I 100 percent believe he does – then he needs to stop the social media updates until an agreement is reached and the contracts signed. Then take to social media and try to promote the fight as much as possible.

Social media is an easy way to reach a lot of people, but it’s a hard way to get a contract done. So as hard as it may be, fighters should hold off on these updates until there is actually something to report.

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