We always wanted to see boxing fights, but they never happened. Should Spence-Crawford be added to the list?
In November, Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford were on the verge of a deal for an undisputed welterweight championship fight, but with talks stalled and Crawford agreeing to face David Avanesyan on Dec. 10, it's unclear if they'll ever meet in a ring, let alone next.
Fans will have to settle for The Gypsy King in a tune-up trilogy bout against Derek Chisora ahead of a possible spring bout with Oleksandr Usyk for the undisputed heavyweight championship.
If boxing can deliver Fury-Usyk, it will be a rare superfight between two boxers at the top of their game. There is also hope that a deal can be reached to match lightweights Ryan Garcia and Gervonta Davis in what could be the sport's biggest commercial event in the United States. And there is still time – albeit limited – for Spence and Crawford to reach an agreement before the matchup expires.
But what about all the fights that have been abandoned over the years? Those megafights that would have been obvious moneymakers for the sport and the fighters but never happened for one reason or another. Unfortunately, there are numerous examples of the sport depriving its fans of some tasty matchups at the peak of its commercial interest.
All Sports examines seven fights that should have occurred (but never did). Each fight received a viability score out of 30, with 10 points assigned to how much public interest there was in the fight at the time, another 10 assigned to how much money the event might have brought in, and ten more assigned to how much sense the fight made for the fighters. In that order, the potential superfights are listed.
George Foreman vs. Mike Tyson
Score for viability: 28
10 fans are interested.
Potential for profit: 10
8 fighters are interested.
A financial bonanza for the ages. In 1990, a fight between two of the greatest – and most popular – heavyweights of all time was on the line.
Tyson fought a doubleheader with George Foreman after being knocked out by James "Buster" Douglas in the biggest upset in boxing history. Tyson was looking to rebuild after his first career loss, while Foreman was attempting a second heavyweight title run in his 40s. In his first fight after losing to Douglas, Tyson knocked out Henry Tillman in the first round, while Foreman stopped Gerry Cooney in the second round in Atlantic City in January 1990.
Tyson and Foreman appeared to be heading for a fight, but it wasn't to be. "Iron" Mike went on to fight Razor Ruddock in two fights before going to prison for rape, while Foreman lost a decision to Evander Holyfield the following year in a heavyweight epic that proved he was still elite all those years later.
Of course, "Big" George went on to win the heavyweight championship years later in one of sports' greatest comebacks. Still, he didn't want anything to do with Tyson, Foreman told ESPN's Max Kellerman in 2020.
Deontay Wilder vs. Anthony Joshua
Score for viability: 26
9 fans are interested.
Potential for profit: 9
8 fighters are interested.
This one will hopefully still take place, but it will never be as large as it could have been.
When this was first discussed in 2018, Joshua was possibly the biggest star in the world of boxing. He held three titles at the time, and Fury was still retired. Joshua could also be argued to be the second-most intimidating puncher in boxing history. Deontay Wilder was and still is the undisputed champion.
The deal fell through due to network issues (Wilder was with Showtime, while Joshua was with DAZN), as well as promotional allegiances. Later that year, Wilder and Fury fought to a split draw, while Joshua was defeated by Andy Ruiz Jr. in June 2019.
In the rematch with Ruiz, Joshua reclaimed the titles, but he hasn't shown the same ferocity (or trust in his chin). Now, he's coming off back-to-back losses to Usyk, while Wilder has a first-round KO over former sparring partner Robert Helenius after a pair of brutal beatings at the hands of Fury.
If Joshua-Wilder is re-fought, it will still be a superfight, but it will never match the allure of the original.