After heavyweight champion Tyson Fury pulled out of his rematch last week with former champion Wladimir Klitschko, scheduled for Oct. 29 at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England, I got to thinking: Since Klitschko lost his opponent and titleholder Anthony Joshua, who is scheduled to defend his belt at the same arena on Nov. 26, still does not have an opponent, wouldn't it be great if Klitschko could face Joshua?
That would be a huge, huge fight. I tweeted my thought and, much to my surprise, Matchroom Boxing's Eddie Hearn, Joshua's promoter, responded with the following: "Reached out to Klitschko team. We love the fight!"
Well, how about that?
Now, it is certainly no slam dunk the fight will be made. Like any fight, especially one this big, things are complicated. But there is a chance, according to both camps.
While Ukraine's Klitschko (64-4, 54 KOs), 40, who lost his titles to Fury by decision in a huge upset in November and has not fought since while waiting for the rematch, would love to challenge his former sparring partner Joshua, he also does not want to give up his positions in the other sanctioning bodies. It is likely that Fury will be sidelined for at least several more months and could be stripped of his belts. Klitschko wants to wait to see what the organizations do because he could be mandated to fight for the vacant belts and he wants nothing more than to collect all four major titles.
Even if the organizations somehow agreed to allow England's Joshua (17-0, 17 KOs), 26, to challenge for the other organizations' vacant titles, there are still other issues even beyond how to split the riches from the Sky Box Office pay-per-view in the United Kingdom and the millions Germany's RTL pays for Klitschko fights. There would also be the thorny issue of the American broadcaster.
HBO has an agreement with Klitschko and was scheduled to televise the Fury rematch. Joshua has a contract with Showtime. The devil is always in the details so it remains to be seen just how tied each fighter is to their American outlet since neither is the primary broadcaster for either fighter. In any event, at least the sides are talking.
Bernd Boente, Klitschko's manager, has told me repeatedly they are genuinely interested in the fight and really want to get it done. He said he and Hearn are in contact and that "we would love the AJ vs. WK fight! ... Let's hope it happens in November."
But he also said they won't make any final decisions until they hear from the organizations about the status of the title belts. Boente did have a suggestion, however, about how to clear up any issues related to the U.S. broadcaster.
"The station that pays the highest license fee should broadcast it. [That] could be a solution," Boente said.
Hearn is also interested in making the fight but knows it won't be easy. He also wants the belts likely to be stripped from Fury to be on the line.
"It's pretty complicated, as all big fights are, but there seems to be a real interest from both sides to get this done," Hearn told ESPN.com on Monday. "It's the young superstar against one of the modern day great heavyweights and it's a huge fight. I met with AJ [on Monday] morning and if it's the right deal and a unification fight then he is happy to take it."
And boxing fans around the world will be happy to watch it.