Editor’s note: Fury vs. Usyk breaks down over something that might not even be necessary – Boxing News

IT WOULD be nice to write about something other than Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk's failure to agree terms, but having followed the saga closely over the past few weeks, it seems only right to report on the bitter end.

Where the blame lies is perhaps irrelevant and frankly hard to decipher when reporters aren't privy to every moment of negotiations, no matter how well they claim to have access to them. The only information we have is what has been relayed by representatives for each boxer. And if the two boxers couldn't agree to fight, they were always unlikely to agree on who was to blame for that disagreement.

What we do know is that on Sunday 19 March, when Frank Warren's twitter account hinted that a positive announcement was close, both parties believed significant progress had been made so far that the contest was almost set for 29 April at Wembley Stadium. Production crews were in place, dates for press conferences had been agreed, ring order had been sorted out – Fury would go last provided he didn't leave Usyk waiting – and the rematch clause was in the contracts.

But the last point was where it all came crashing down. If Usyk won, and if the fight was again canceled for Britain, he wanted a 70/30 split in his favor while Fury asked for 50/50. Neither of them would budge. As we went to press last week, we were told that there were two days left for the final detail to be resolved, but it has to be said that there wasn't much optimism on either side. On Wednesday, March 22, after waking up to an email from Team Usyk that they were pulling out of negotiations, Queensberry Promotions made a last ditch effort to salvage the unsalvageable. At approximately 7:00 p.m., Boxing news received a call to confirm that the contest was officially suspended.

As we had suggested would happen in previous weeks, both parties then only blamed the other side. Team Usyk, which had agreed to take just 30 percent of the purse for the first event, suggested they had faced hurdle after hurdle throughout the process. It is doubtful that Fury's social media posts, in which he mocked the opposition for how they had been “played” when he agreed to the aforementioned 30 per cent, helped the process. Team Fury, meanwhile, took a swipe at the Ukrainian, suggesting his desire for a 70/30 split in the rematch was unrealistic, especially in Fury's home country where the “undisputed title” would not be on the line (at least two of the four sanctioning bodies had said they would not stick around for a rematch, so titles would be declared vacant).

Both fighters were ultimately driven by money. It is understandable to some extent. Both are nearing the end of their careers and it is possible that a rematch between the pair could have been the last contest for each and thus their final retirement payout. But what's harder to accept is the system – or lack thereof – that allows the boxers, and only the boxers, to land shots. And when two multi-millionaires squabble over more millions, it will always be difficult to get any kind of agreement in place.

Honestly, both boxes are to blame. But when they operate in a sport that invites, but never requires, the best to fight the best, it's no wonder these mega-fights are painfully rare, especially in the heavyweight division where the income is tantalizingly high, even for subpar title fights.

Also, is it time to remove the replay clause from the negotiations altogether? Can't we go back to simpler times when we waited to see if a rematch was necessary before even mentioning it? Due to rematches being scheduled, forced or not agreed upon in recent years, the following “undisputed” fights could not happen: Deontay Wilder-Anthony Joshua; Fury-Joshua; Wilder-Andy Ruiz Jnr and, of course, Fury-Usyk.

Which brings us to that infuriating notion of unchallenged. Why does the sport continue to collectively call the gathering of four belts the holy grail when it just screams to the world our shortcomings? If we didn't have four belts, there would be significantly less wiggle room at the negotiating table and significantly more clarity on who deserved the championship share. There is a strikingly obvious correlation between the “four belt era” and the amount of best vs. best matchups falling out of bed. We have all created this mess by empowering the sanctioning bodies for too long. Yes, I know this is how boxing “works”, but that doesn't mean we should be too afraid to initiate change, now it's abundantly clear that it doesn't work at all.

#Editors #note #Fury #Usyk #breaks #Boxing #News

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