The best laid plans can be upturned in the blink of an eye by fickle fate in the form of a flat tire on the freeway, a surprise weather pattern, or an arbitrator.
For Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua, and the members of their teams, it was the latter. On Monday afternoon, word dropped that the months-long arbitration case involving Deontay Wilder and Fury had reached an endpoint.
The two boxers met Dec. 1, 2018, when they fought to a draw, and on Feb. 22, 2020, when Fury ran ramshackle on Wilder, and finished him off in round seven. And Wilder thought he would be able to get back on the horse, and try to knock Fury off of his, but COVID popped up, and plans for a third fight didn’t get hashed out.
So, Team Wilder looked to force the issue. Now, the arbiter has reportedly ruled that Wilder should receive a third crack at Fury, by Sept. 15. That muddies the mix for a planned Aug. 14 mashup involving Fury, the 32 year old Traveller who owns a 30-0-1 record, and Anthony Joshua, the 31 year old with a 24-1 mark, who most pundits see as the second best heavyweight pugilist active today.
Fury last gloved up against Wilder, and seemed quite amped up when word dropped that he and AJ would get it on in Saudi Arabia.
And who knows, maybe they still will, on that date. None of us know, at this second, if the parties agreed to binding arbitration, to honor the ruling no matter what it was.
The 35 year old Wilder (42-1-1) last fought for a fee in 2020, when he got taken to the woodshed by Fury. Would he be open to allowing the Aug. 14 scrap, if he received some sort of assurance that it would be worth his while?