• Steve Bunce

Money talks: Haye and Fury are listening

Steve Bunce June 4, 2013
David Haye has always been motivated by money, which makes a showdown with Tyson Fury an enticing prospect © Getty Images

This is the story of a fight that's not been made. If it happens, it will become the biggest fight to ever take place in the UK; if it doesn't, it will be one of the biggest bouts in British boxing history to be dangled before us only to vanish into thin air. I hate that.

David Haye against Tyson Fury will not be the best fight to ever take place in Britain, or the most exciting fight. It won't break records for the number of fights fans in any arena you care to mention, or pick up more pay-per-view subscriptions than ever before. But it will generate more money than any other British fight. Whether you like it or not, that's the measure.

If Floyd Mayweather's fights are deemed to be the biggest, then David Haye against Tyson Fury would be worthy of a similar accolade. If it's done well, and if it's pay-per-view - and if it happens - my gut feeling is it will generate something in the region of £6-7m. That means both men would get more for a single fight than two boxers have ever received for stepping into a British ring.

There are some serious stumbling blocks to be overcome, but also some hard facts that suggest that this fight will get made. First, David Haye pulled out of this month's fight with Manny Charr with an injury to his left hand. It certainly seemed convenient. I'm not suggesting any wrong-doing, but hey, he had an injury, withdrew, and since then either he or Tyson Fury's people - or the people at Sky, or the people at Matchroom, somebody! - worked out that a fight with Fury would do sensational business.

Then Fury - finally - pulled out of negotiations with Kubrat Pulev, eliminating himself from the IBF heavyweight eliminator. People have suggested he would for some time, but we didn't know it for a fact until Sunday. With that, the unbeaten Bulgarian is now the No. 1 contender and Fury has ruled himself out of a potential fight with a Klitschko. If he had beaten Pulev he'd have been nailed on to face Wladimir, probably next year, maybe even before the end of 2013. He's decided to go down a different, extremely lucrative route. There will be all sorts of versions of this story, but that's the bottom line.

For Tyson Fury, fighting David Haye looks like a no-brainer - both for his pocket and his profile © PA Photos

Here is the way I look at it. If Fury had beaten Kubrat Pulev he'd make in the region of €400,000 and get the shot at Wladimir Klitschko. If he'd lost to Pulev he'd get the same money, but there's no fight with Klitschko and he's got to build himself up again. Now, if Fury beats David Haye, you also get a fight with a Klitschko, given the profile of the fight - and picks up something like £2million. If he loses to Haye he still makes £2million, gets another high-profile fight off the back of it and bounces back into Klitschko contention with another win.

It's a no-brainer - Fury has to take the Haye fight, assuming it's on the table.

The match makes sense for David Haye as well, because - and let's not mince our words - he thinks it's a walk in the park, an easy £2-4million. That's how he viewed Del Boy Chisora last year. It wasn't an easy fight - it was a slugfest that went down to the wire before he got rid of Dereck - and this could be the same. But David Haye has reasoned that this is an easy fight.

As I've said in this column before, Haye would have beaten Manny Charr. I like Charr - he's a nice-looking guy, he's a devoted family man and he can fight a little bit - but Haye was going to make mincemeat out of him. It would have raised Haye's profile slightly, on account of Charr having fought Vitali Klitschko, but it wouldn't have been any kind of instant catapult for another Klitschko fight of his own. Vitali played with Charr, and that's not being disrespectful.

Haye-Fury would be a different type of fight, and a different level of income. Haye's always been motivated by money - he's probably in line for three or four times the amount of money for a Fury fight than he would have received for fighting Charr. That wasn't going to be on pay-per-view - Fury-Haye has to be. It wasn't selling in great numbers, not in the same way that the Ruiz fight did, or Audley or Chisora, or the way a Fury fight will do.

Haye suddenly found himself in a fight that was just ticking over - he hasn't been in a fight like that in a very, very long time. His fights have sold out, they've been massive events. Suddenly against Manny Charr it wasn't a massive event - there wasn't any buzz associated with it. So he suffered an injury, pulls out of the fight, looks like he'll get the Fury fight, gets that buzz back. The worst thing for a David Haye opponent is when David Haye has got the buzz - that's a nightmare for them!

And yet, the very man both Haye and Fury want to fight next could be the one to put an end to the speculation and sink their potential showdown. Wladimir's mandatory WBA title fight with Alexander Povetkin is in the balance after a row over the anti-doping protocols. Team Klitschko wants the German Anti-Doping Agency to deal with the fight, while the Povetkin camp want the Russians to cover it, seeing as the fight will take place in Moscow. My understanding is that there are different standards of drug testing in different countries. This needs to be sorted and sorted in the open and quickly.

There is a serious situation developing. It needs to be solved and resolved - but the problem is none of the sanctioning bodies has a clear drug policy. I see this being a potential deal-breaker.

If Klitschko-Povetkin didn't happen, it could potentially derail the Fury-Haye fight. Klitschko can't fight opponents like he's had in his last two fights. He's got to shift up - and who better than one of the two men desperate to take him on? What a simple, simple business this boxing is!

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Steve Bunce has been ringside in Las Vegas over 50 times, he has been at five Olympics and has been writing about boxing for over 25 years for a variety of national newspapers in Britain, including four which folded! It is possible that his face and voice have appeared on over 60 channels worldwide in a variety of languages - his first novel The Fixer was published in 2010 to no acclaim; amazingly it has been shortlisted for Sports Book of the Year.