Staples Center has emerged as the favorite to stage a Dec. 1 heavyweight title fight between unbeaten champion Deontay Wilder and former champion Tyson Fury of England.
Wilder’s co-manager Al Haymon has turned to the Los Angeles venue because of scheduling conflicts in Las Vegas and New York. Staples Center has previously staged two heavyweight title bouts featuring Vitali Klitschko and has had success drawing interest for lightweight matches.
Brooklyn’s Barclays Center has a Michelle Obama speech scheduled on the night of Dec. 1 while T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas is the site of a Justin Timberlake concert that night.
There’s an expectation that a final decision on the venue for the fight, which will be a Showtime pay-per-view event, could be reached as soon as the end of this week, with the hope to have the matter settled no later than Oct. 1.
Wilder (40-0, 39 knockouts), the World Boxing Council champion from Alabama, hoped to fight three-belt champion Anthony Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) of England this fall, but Joshua and his promoter, Eddie Hearn, balked in favor of a mandatory title defense against Russia’s Alexander Povetkin on Saturday at London’s Wembley Stadium.
Wilder did the next best thing and landed the popular and enigmatic Fury (27-0, 19 KOs), who won three heavyweight belts from long-reigning champion Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 but soon after had substance abuse problems, blowing up in weight during his layoff before returning to fight two nondescript opponents this year.
Mikey Garcia’s lightweight unification triumph over Robert Easter Jr. drew 12,560 to Staples Center on July 28 after the Leo Santa Cruz-Abner Mares featherweight title bout sold well on June 9.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. said in a video statement released Wednesday in Japan that “before Pacquiao, I’ll be back in Tokyo for a huge boxing thing — stay tuned.”
The comment has been dismissed as either unlikely or something far less than the rematch with Manny Pacquiao, the World Boxing Assn. secondary welterweight champion, after they set the earnings record for a one-day sporting event in their 2015 meeting.
A rematch “is going to happen,” an official close to the unbeaten Mayweather (50-0) said. Mayweather has previously told friends he’d like to fight near his 41st birthday in February.
“The Senator [Pacquiao] is good with all dates,” Pacquiao ally and veteran fight manager Sean Gibbons said in a text message.
“The Senator has a solid year left to get in as much as possible. So everything is on the table!”
Never too old?
The third fight between former UFC light-heavyweight champions Chuck Liddell, 48, and Huntington Beach’s Tito Ortiz, 43, set for Nov. 24, pushes the threshold of how long mixed martial artists should continue.
Irvine’s Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, 40, who’ll meet Wanderlei Silva, 42, next week in a Bellator MMA event in San Jose, said the decision to return to the cage is personal.
Golden Boy Promotions is staging the Liddell-Ortiz bout at the Forum after UFC President Dana White said he no longer wishes to see Liddell, his close friend, fight.
“A lot of people can criticize older fighters. This is what we know and it’s the sport we love,” said Jackson. “We want to participate in it. I don’t see anything wrong.
“Nothing against Tito or Chuck … I know Tito wants to beat Chuck, so there is a reason. I hope it’s a good fight.
“They’re both older than me and I hope at that age that I’ll be fishing, but if that’s what they want to do, more power to them.”
Puerto Rico’s super-lightweight champion boxer Amanda Serrano (35-1-1, 26 KOs) will appear in her second MMA bout Oct. 13 on the Combate Americas card just six weeks after defending her belt at Barclays Center.
Serrano will meet Mexico City’s Erendira Ordonez (2-1) in a 125-pound (flyweight) fight at Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Ariz. DAZN will stream the fight while Univision Deportes will broadcast it.