None can say they did not see Tyson Fury coming. If the loudest threads in the suit kingdom, black and white with the faces of the great heavyweights in history, including his truly, sewed in the lining, doesn’t light up your eyeballs the dance steps might. Fury came shuffling into view like a Vegas crooner to announce his next step in the colonisation of the United States.
The plan is to roll out Fury to an American audience via the talk show circuit, to reveal to the United States what they have been missing. You might think the best way to do that would be to line him up against WBC champion Deontay Wilder a second time, or maybe three belt champion Anthony Joshua as opposed to Tom Schwarz, against whom Fury makes his Las Vegas debut in a month’s time. If only it were that simple.
For the networks to relinquish or share control of their assets, aka Fury, Joshua and Wilder, the money has to be big enough to smash their reluctance to smithereens. It can be done. Indeed Fury’s joint promoter in the United States Bob Arum predicts that it will be done, and within the next year, by which time Arum boldly claims Fury will be not only the best known boxer on the planet but the most recognisable athlete too.
He offers as a precedent two heavyweight hall of famers formerly in his charge, none other than Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. Now, while running a mile from comparing Fury to Ali, Arum nonetheless saw lots of crossover potential with Foreman, who made a fortune outside the ring from his meat grilling device, which sold for $250 million.
“The best thing is to be with an athlete you can build to a superstar. I started with Ali. I can’t take credit for Ali but after that there was George Foreman. Talking with Tyson I realised we could do for him what we did for George. He set the world on fire with his ability and charisma. He became larger than life, endorsements one after the other. He hit the jackpot with the Foreman grill.
“Tyson will mesmerise the American audience. As a personality he is going to take America by storm. We are not satisfied just to make an impact with boxing and sports fans. We want people to care about him and love him. When we do that he will become the most famous sportsmen in the world.”
One flaw, and by no means the only one, in all of this is that Fury already saw himself as the best, the biggest, the mostest, etc. It must have come as a bit of a shock to learn there is still some road to travel to hook the American pay-per-view market. As Arum noted, against Wilder, Fury was billed as the opponent. The next time he fights Wilder, which Arum claimed is closer than the Joshua deal, Fury’s name would be first in lights.
Thus Fury’s foot is on the throttle ready to rev as necessary, while not losing sight of the fundamentals. “I said to Bob [Arum], what’s your motivation for this deal? He told me he wants to ride a massive wave of success with Tyson Fury and I’ll say that motivates me as well. I want to ride a massive tidal wave, a tsunami, of big fights. That’s what I want to do. I want to cement my legacy of the greatest of my era and my division.”