Fury is due to face Wilder in their third fight later this year, while Joshua is lined up for a mandatory title defence against 39-year-old Bulgarian Pulev. But media speculation in recent days suggested talks may be in the works to allow the two British heavyweight champions to meet each other instead.
However, legendary promoter and Top Rank founder Bob Arum – who works with both Fury and Pulev – told Sirius XM’s At The Fights: “To talk about paying Wilder or paying Pulev step-aside money is at this point ludicrous. I mean, we are not the United States mint, that can print money and distribute it – you know, $2 trillion, or, you know money hard to imagine. We can’t do that. Who’s gonna pay the step-aside money? I mean, where’s it coming from?
“It’s nice to say, ‘Hey, pay step-aside’. Who the hell is gonna pay it? Right? So, you know, let’s look forward to a Fury-Wilder fight, a Joshua-Pulev fight.”
Although there was an element of surprise in some quarters when Wilder – destroyed in the rematch by Fury in Las Vegas in February – exercised his contractual right to a third meeting with ‘The Gypsy King’ , Arum has a more charitable view.
“Look, Deontay Wilder gave Fury two opportunities to fight for the title, and we don’t forget that,” he said.
“One, he selected Fury for the fight that was in Los Angeles (the first meeting in December 2018). And then after it was a draw – I thought Fury won, but they called it a draw – he signed on to give Fury a (second) shot, which was the fight in February in Las Vegas.
“We also have a contract with the Wilder people, which guarantees him a third fight. So, what we’re thinking is to do that fight. We’re making plans on how to do it. It would certainly not be until sometime in the fourth quarter of this year.
“And we will do that fight because I think it’s a good fight, you have to allow Wilder the opportunity to come up with a plan to neutralise Fury, which he says he’s working on. And I think it’ll be a big attraction. If Fury wins that fight, and if Joshua has a fight with another fighter of mine, Kubrat Pulev, the Bulgarian, if Joshua wins that fight, then a Fury-Joshua fight would be delayed until next year.”