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Fury vs Wilder 3, Anthony Joshua, step aside money and next steps

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Lee Cleveland Updated
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Even prior to last weekend's fight between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, there were rumors that a third fight between the two had already been signed.

Post fight, some sources insist that Fury must give Wilder an immediate rematch while others say the contract gives Fury the right to accept or pass on an immediate rematch.

Given what we've heard about the likelihood of 'step aside money' being offered to Wilder to allow Fury to face Anthony Joshua next, we assume the Fury vs Wilder 2 contract gives either man the right to an immediate third fight.

That means if one fighter wants an immediate third fight, the other fighter must face him next or have the asking fighter accept step aside money in return for not invoking the stipulations within the contract.

What happens if a fighter reneges on the contract deal?

Answer: It depends on how far the prosecuting fighter wishes to push things. If he's serious about following through on the stipulations set forth in the contract, things will get messy, lawyers will be hired and the fighters will go to court. In fact, an injunction could be implemented to keep both fighters from fighting other opponents until matters are settled.

Has this happened before?

Answer: Many times. In 1996, for example, the handlers of Mike Tyson couldn’t win in court so they paid Lennox Lewis $6 Million in step aside money to let Tyson fight World Boxing Assn. champion Bruce Seldon instead of Lewis, Tyson's mandatory opponent.

Source: LA Times

The Lewis acceptance made it possible for Tyson to fight Seldon without Mike being stripped of his WBC title for not facing Lennox, his mandatory opponent.

tyson vs seldon

Mike Tyson destroys Bruce Seldon in Round 1 in 1996

In layman's term: Tyson's handlers wanted no part of Lewis but wanted to ensure Mike kept the WBC title. (Tyson and Lewis would eventually fight each other 6 years later)

Back to Fury vs Wilder 3...

Although Deontay Wilder has not formally executed his contractual right for an immediate third fight with Tyson Fury, all indications are that he will.... So far.

World Boxing News caught up with Shelly Finkel, Wilder's manager, to discuss the possibility of Wilder invoking the contract to guarantee and immediate third fight with Fury:

“Right now, the clause for a third fight with Tyson Fury has not been activated yet,” Finkel exclusively told World Boxing News.

“Deontay intends to activate it. He wants the trilogy.”

 

And at this moment, it appears Wilder is not interested in step aside money as Finkel dismissed any plans to negotiate a pay off.

“I can confirm Deontay will exercise his right to fight Tyson Fury next,” Finkel exclusively told World Boxing News. “That’s the fight Deontay wants. It will happen next,” he added.

Step aside money
Keep in mind, things change in boxing. Once Wilder learns what the step-aside offer is, he could certainly change his mind.

Everybodys Got A Price For The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase

In the words of famed WWE 1980s/90s wrestler Million Dollar Man: Everyone's got a price!

Imagine if Wilder is offered $10 Million to agree to NOT fight Tyson Fury immediately? That sum is greater than the individual purses for over 90 percent of his fights.

And yes, he could be offered that amount and more. Fury vs WBA/IBF/WBO Champion Anthony Joshua would be THAT profitable.

Why Team Wilder might change its mind

Last weekend, Fury took the fight to Wilder, who is regarded as one of the most devastating punchers in heavyweight history. He beat Deontay on the inside, at mid-range and on the outside and ultimately bullied the champ for seven rounds.

He can't outbox nor outbrawl Fury at this moment and can't figure out how to generate any offense against the 6'9" Brit. In fact, some say Wilder has clearly won just 2 of the 19 rounds they've fought, insisting the rest were either won by Fury or could have gone either way.

Unless Team Wilder can quickly - and dramatically - alter it's game plan for Fury, an immediate rematch shouldn't even be considered.

For the above reasons and after several weeks of thinking about it, Team Wilder might be open to negotiating a pay off - But it won't be cheap.

Why Team Wilder might enforce the contract

It appears Wilder genuinely believes he was wronged by cornerman Mark Breland's surrender in the 7th Round of last weekend's fight.

We've heard a few excuses but the bottom line is Wilder was NOT KO'd (a la Kovalev vs Canelo) by Fury so Deontay, in his heart, will always believe he could have knocked out Fury had the fight not been stopped prematurely and by someone who wasn't authorized to make such a decision.

Wilder entered that fight with one of the best heavyweight championship records of all time. He was 42-0-1, 41 knockouts. And in his first fight against KO artist Luis Ortiz, Wilder was clearly on the verge of being knocked out when he came back to knockout Ortiz a few rounds later.

Deontay Wilder has known nothing but success in boxing and is always a knockout threat with the monster right hand he harbours.

So surely, an (arguably) premature surrender by a cornerman who wasn't even his head trainer isn't going to convince him he couldn't have won the fight.

In fact, nothing will... Even his own mother wouldn't be able to.

Because he wasn't legitimately KO'd by Fury, there was no finality (at least in Wilder's mind). As a result, Deontay's pride might get the better of him and he might be hellbent on getting an immediate rematch.

But, money might be an obstacle for Fury vs Wilder 3

Both guys earned at least $25 Million for their rematch Saturday night but it's difficult see how an immediate third match could generate the same money, given Fury vs Wilder 2 was so one-sided and the fact many believed Tyson deserved to win their first fight as well.

Promoters could tell Deontay: "We can only promise you $10-15 Million for an immediate rematch with Fury so why not accept that amount without having to fight anyone?

If the decision had to be made today, Wilder would enforce the rematch clause. But given he has some time to calm down and consider all the pros and cons, there's no telling what he'll decide.

Just because the media is saying Wilder will definitely invoke the contract doesn't mean he'll do so after he's thought about it for a few weeks, discussed it with head trainer Jay Deas and has evaluated formal pay-off offers.

 
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