Deontay Wilder was quick to exercise his rematch clause after his rematch with heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury last month, setting up a highly-anticipated third bout between the two fighters on July 18.
That fight, though, will have to wait.
Top Rank chairman Bob Arum told ESPN on Tuesday that the third round will be pushed back to a later date due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has paralyzed the sports world in recent weeks. With things at a standstill, he doesn’t see how a fight in July would even be possible.
"You could not guarantee the fighters that the event would take place on that date. We couldn't convince them or ourselves," Arum said, via ESPN. "Where were they going to train for it? It just made no sense. You just have to take a step back. How are you going to sell tickets? It's absolutely ridiculous to say the fight is on when the Brits can't even get there."
Fury knocked Wilder out in the seventh round of their February bout at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, a rematch of their initial split draw in Los Angeles in 2018.
When will Fury-Wilder III take place?
While the pandemic is still getting worse by the day — the United States had nearly 50,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus as of Tuesday afternoon, according to The New York Times — and nearly all of Las Vegas shut down, Arum isn’t sure when the fight can actually take place.
As of now, he’s looking at around a three-month delay.
“Boxing is not isolated. It's part of what's happening in the world," Arum said, via ESPN. "So possibly the fight will be in early October."
Until they can guarantee a safe date for the fight at the MGM Grand, however, Arum and Wilder’s co-manager Al Haymon are going to take things one step at a time.
There’s no need to rush anything.
"Al and his people are in touch with us all the time on this," Arum said, via ESPN. "We see things the same way. We'll be very, very cautious moving ahead and pray this will be over at a particular time and we will be able to make smart plans. Nobody has ever experienced anything like this before."
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