At some point in 2021, Tyson Fury will fight fellow Brit Anthony Joshua in a battle to determine the unified and undisputed boxing heavyweight championship of the world. It will be the biggest fight of the 21st century so far, and in terms of pay-per-view revenue and ticket sales, it has the potential to be the biggest fight of all time. Because both fighters are proud Englishmen, it would be natural to assume that the fight will occur in the UK – most probably at the world-famous Wembley Stadium in London – but that doesn’t appear to be the case. It’s becoming increasingly likely that the fight will happen on foreign soil for the two fighters, and the possibility of the fight coming to Las Vegas is growing by the day.
Fight fans in Nevada – and across the rest of the United States of America – will no doubt be thrilled by this news as it gives them the opportunity to see the fight in person without getting on a plane and crossing the Atlantic Ocean, but the fighters won’t necessarily be there by choice. Both of them would love to fight in front of their home fans, but they probably won’t get the opportunity to. As any fight contract will include a rematch clause, the two titans will likely clash twice in 2021, or possibly once in 2021 and again in early 2022. That means the first fight has to take place in the first half of the year. That appears to rule out the UK as a location for logistical reasons. The country is currently in a full lockdown because of the ongoing pandemic, and the lockdown isn’t expected to be lifted until March. Even then, there’s no guarantee that large crowds will be allowed inside sports stadiums, and no crowds means no ticket money.
Given the colossal amount of money that the fight is likely to make on pay-per-view, you might be wondering what the issue of having no fans is. Having no fans in the arena surely means that more people will buy it at home, and so everyone still gets paid. That’s not the point. Imagine you owned an online slots website. Now imagine you’ve paid for access to all the best online slots and agreed financial compensation with the people who provided them to you. Those people still have to be paid no matter what happens. That leaves you carrying the can if nobody turns up to play online slots at your website. This is how Wembley Stadium (or any other stadium) would suffer in the event of the fight being staged without fans. The TV companies would still be paid, but with nobody in the arena buying drinks, tickets, or food, somebody loses out. That’s not to mention that the spectacle would suffer without fans there to give it a ‘big fight feel.’ Perhaps it’s the possibility of it happening in Vegas that made us think of the online slot websites like Rose Slots, but staging the fight in Nevada could be a jackpot for everybody involved.
Las Vegas isn’t the only city that’s been mentioned in connection with this fight, and the United States of America isn’t the only possible destination either. It’s generally understood that Saudi Arabia would be very interested in hosting what could potentially be the biggest boxing match of all time and is prepared to spend money to make it happen. Joshua fought in Saudi Arabia in 2019 and wouldn’t be opposed to going there again. Fury may never have boxed there, but he performed in the country for WWE during 2019. The prospect of such a high-profile fight being staged in a country with no boxing heritage and what would likely be a ‘papered’ crowd won’t sit well with many sports fans, but ultimately, money talks in the fight game.
If the fight can’t be held in England and Fury gets to call the shots, it’s reasonable to assume that he’d prefer to be in Vegas. He’s fought in Vegas before and loved the experience. However, Joshua is the fighter with the most versions of the world heavyweight championship and so is, theoretically at least, in the driving seat when it comes to negotiations. He’s fought in the USA before, but only in New York. Las Vegas would be a new experience for him. Location isn’t of paramount importance when it comes to how boxers ply their trade – they’re generally happy to be anywhere there’s a crowd, a ring, and money – but tiny issues like this have a history of causing difficulties during the negotiating stage.
The possibility of a fight between the two top-heavyweight contenders in Las Vegas was first suggested in the middle of 2020, with the Allegiant Stadium proposed as a venue. As the home of the Las Vegas Raiders has a capacity of 65,000 it’s big enough, but there are still questions about whether all of those 65,000 seats could be filled – and that’s not down to the boxers. While restrictions in Las Vegas and Nevada aren’t as draconian as those in place in the United Kingdom, we’re still some distance from seeing normal attendances permitted at sporting events. Boxing promoters have already accepted that an empty stadium would be a bad optic for a world title fight of this magnitude. A half-empty stadium might actually look worse. The risk of fighting in front of a half-empty stadium wouldn’t apply in Saudi Arabia, where conditions are much less stringent, and a stadium could be both supplied and filled upon command.
It would be great to give American fight fans something to look forward to in 2021 after a long, dull 2020, and it would be even better for residents of Las Vegas if the fight could happen here. An announcement about the contest is overdue, and we expect to hear something from either Joshua’s corner or Fury’s corner in the near future. Staging the fight at home appears to be impossible for the two champions, so Las Vegas is definitely in the ring. Let’s hope that it gets its arm raised at the end of the ten count.