This Saturday, the heavyweight rematch of Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the MGM Grand Resort and Casino in a joint pay-per-view effort between what seemed unlikely forces in Fox and ESPN.
For the past two months, since the fight was announced, both networks and “sides” of the boxing street have come together in a promotional blitz that even the biggest fight in the sport, Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao back in 2015 hasn’t seen. What also makes this so vast is the notion that Top Rank Boxing and Premier Boxing Champions have both mutually agreed to put on such a historic fight card.
Evan Korn, PR Director of Top Rank Boxing, spoke to me about how the combination of forces has been and the experience.
“It’s been an excellent working relationship,” Korn said to Big Fight Weekend. “When you have people committed to a common goal – selling a major fight – there aren’t many issues. The most important thing is you have two fighters who have been generous with their time and who have sold the heck out of this matchup. It’s been hard work, but a very rewarding experience.”
— Dan Canobbio (@DanCanobbio) February 9, 2020
Something that Tim Smith, Vice President of Communications for Premier Boxing Champions echoed.
“I think there are more cooks in the kitchen. There are more spoons in the soup,” Smith said in an interview explaining the process to the Sunday Puncher Podcast. But (in the end) the meal is still being prepared, the soup is still being cooked, and it’s going to taste great when it’s finished.”
“There are several ways to do things and to get things done, but so far, it’s worked smoothly. I think the biggest thing what everyone was worried about was how the two networks would get along, but I mean it’s television. There are a lot of good people on both sides.”
For two sides that weren’t supposed to get along, this sounds like the complete opposite.
What Smith said was the biggest concern as for generations when it comes to networks, it’s always been about “Which one is #1?”. It would go so far as to the only time you see networks come together; it would be in competitions like “Battle of the Network Stars.” The fun connection with that is that the 2017 reboot of the series will have the same blow by blow man in Joe Tessitore calling the most significant heavyweight fight without question since Mike Tyson took on Lennox Lewis back in 2002.
“We can’t wait for fight night,” Bob Arum Chairman of Top Rank Boxing said in a recent media conference call. “The response from everybody from cable systems, satellite providers, digital platforms has been enormous. I want to thank especially ESPN and FOX for the magnificent way they have both stepped up to the plate to help us promote this fight.
This pay-per-view for those unaware of boxing and the politics behind are in for history as the two networks joining forces in Fox and ESPN is something that never has been done. From the shoulder programming to the ads leading up to the fight this Saturday and even the appearances by the fighters themselves on other shows and events is something that is a new precedent that in the event the rematch is accepted will have the groundwork laid out
It’s hard for anyone to believe that this joint venture won’t be successful, and as a fan of boxing, hopefully, it will lead to more mega fights with this type of focus on it in the future.