It is a question as old as time - why isn’t said fighter not fighting his obvious rival which would define a generation? It might also be the reason many have lost faith in boxing.
Enter a bout for the undisputed heavyweight crown between three-belt heavyweight champion, Oleksandr Usyk, who holds the IBF, WBA, and WBO heavyweight world title, and Tyson Fury, the lineal heavyweight champion, and WBC heavyweight champion.
Much has been debated about why it isn’t occurring - but after ‘the low blow’ heard from around the world when Daniel Dubois landed a shot on Usyk, some deemed fair, and some saw as foul. We learned one thing - this fight has to happen soon, or it will never happen.
Both fighters are in their mid-30s, and on separate career paths. Usyk is fighting his mandatories which is respectable, but not giving us much in terms of spectacle. His next mandatory is Filip Hrgovic, a brooding puncher, who has looked very flawed at the world-class level. Hrgovic’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, has said Hrgovic won’t step aside, but that also might mean, Hrgovic needs a king’s ransom to step aside for a big fight, as it is hard to believe that getting a sven-figure payday without working wouldn't be tempting.
Fury has functioned as a retired fighter since defeating Dillian Whyte as his fight with Derek Chisora could be labeled an exhibition match as much as it is a sporting event, and his next bout in Saudi Arabia, against some MMA guy, Francis Ngannou, simply feels to be a money grab preying on MMA’s fans vulnerabilities around how stronger their fighters are.
That said, In the first week of September, what are the odds we see this fight happen in our lifetime?
Say what you want…these are the two best heavyweights of the era. They have proven that, now we need the final crowning achievement. The fight that simply says who is better.
So what is the hold-up? Money? Fear? Laziness? Or is it something we are not even factoring in?
The bout gives Usyk a chance to eclipse Evander Holyfield’s feat of being an undisputed cruiserweight and heavyweight champion in the four-belt era, as Holyfield did in the three-belt era. On top of that, it gives Fury the chance to be mentioned as an all-time great heavyweight.
Yet, we come back to the initial talking point - will this fight happen, and even more so, will it happen when we care?
Boxing often shoots itself in the foot, and the heavyweight division is essentially fragmented because this fight is not happening. Fighters like Frank Sanchez are being easily avoided since the fighters at the top of the division are in the same place this year as they were last year.
The sport of boxing lives and dies in the heavyweight division, and currently, we need the biggest and most meaningful fight to occur as the bout would bring new eyes and viewership to the sport based on it being an undisputed heavyweight world title fight.