Arum had been hoping that the trilogy fight could take place at Allegiant Stadium – the new $2billion home of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders – on Saturday December 19.
But that plan appeared to be scuppered earlier this week when the Raiders announced that due to the pandemic the glittering new facility will be closed to fans for the entirety of the 2020 football season.
The news represented the latest blow for Arum and his fellow promoters as they look to complete the Fury vs Wilder trilogy – the bout had been initially scheduled for July and then initially rescheduled for October.
Now he admits that the bout could be delayed until February 2021, and may yet end up taking place outside the United States.
He told DAZN’s Ak & Barak Show: “Here’s the problem. We’re working very closely with PBC (Premier Boxing Champions, Wilder’s promoter). We had hoped, our great plans were first October – we thought maybe we’ve have spectators back by then. Well that’s not gonna happen.
“Then about a month ago we went to December 19th. And why December 19th? It’s because in Las Vegas we now have this beautiful big stadium – $2billion stadium, Allegiant Stadium, the home of the Las Vegas Raiders. We checked the schedule with them – we’re very close with Mark Davis of the Raiders. And we learned that they have a Thursday night game on the 17th of December.
“Therefore we could turn around the stadium to make it available for seating with a limited audience, say maybe 20,000 in a 70,000-seat stadium. The Raiders were all for it. The Convention Authority in Las Vegas was all for it. But we don’t know now whether even in December we can do a fight for a limited audience. And we can’t put that fight in the bubble and survive.
“Because the gate on the the last fight that they did in February at the MGM was $17million, now that’s a big part of the revenue. If you lose that revenue plus another $2m or £3m from close circuit, that’s $20m. How do you replace it? How do you pay the fighters?
“So if we can get going with a limited audience we’ll go on December 19th. If not, we’re talking to another location outside of the United States, and it’s not in the Middle East, about doing that fight the first week in February.”
Fury of course has the potential carrot of that unification showdown with fellow Briton Anthony Joshua on the horizon – the pair have the financial structure of a two-fight deal already agreed.
But Arum says ‘The Gypsy King’ will not be tempted to try and sidestep Wilder in order to face AJ sooner rather than later.
He explained: “From Tyson Fury’s standpoint, he appreciates the fact that Wilder gave him the chance when they did the first fight. And the chance when he put up his title in February against Fury. And it would be wrong to walk away from that and not do the third fight.
“So if it means waiting another month or two months, so be it, we have to do that.”
The delays in staging Fury vs Wilder 3 of course also will impact on that potential superfight between Fury and his fellow British world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. They have already agreed in principle the financial structure of a two-fight deal and most experts had expected the first of those bouts to take place in the summer of 2021.
But if Fury cannot face Wilder until February, and then must face WBC mandatory contender Dillian Whyte, a summer bout with Joshua would appear practically impossible.