By: Dan Rafael
On Sunday, when former heavyweight titlist David Haye pulled out of his Feb. 8 all-British showdown with Tyson Fury -- the second time he pulled out, this time because of a shoulder injury that might force him to retire -- Fury promoter Mick Hennessy had a great idea for a replacement.
He got on the phone Monday with Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaefer to gauge his interest in making a deal for Deontay Wilder, the 2008 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist and most notable American heavyweight hope, to fill in.
“Mick called me up and said that Haye had dropped out of the fight in February and said he’d be interested in Deontay filling in, saying they could still go on pay-per-view [in the United Kingdom], that it would still be a big fight over there,” Schaefer said. “He said the Brits like Deontay and that he made a good impression over there when he fought Audley Harrison.”
In April, Wilder, traveled to England and blitzed the shot 2000 British Olympic gold medalist in 70 seconds.
“I told Mick that I’m open to doing the fight and to make me an offer,” Schaefer said. “He said, ‘Let me think about it and I’ll call you back. I need to talk to [broadcaster] Sky [Sports] and I’ll call you back with an offer [Sunday] night or Monday.’”
And then came silence. Schaefer said he has not heard from Hennessy since -- no call, no offer, no nothing.
“When I didn’t hear from him Monday, I called him on Tuesday and he doesn’t answer his phone,” Schaefer said. “He didn’t call Wednesday, he didn’t call Thursday and he didn’t call Friday. What he should know is if the deal is right, we’re happy to go over there to England for the fight. But he hasn’t called. We’re waiting. But I told him we could do a 50-50 deal. I’ll bring U.S. television, he brings British television, we put everything in the pot.”
I think it would be a tremendous fight and love that Wilder is willing to travel. It’s a match of two up-and-coming heavyweights, both of whom are huge. Fury (21-0, 15 KOs), 25, is 6-foot-9, 254 pounds while Wilder (30-0, 30 KOs), 28 and far less tested than Fury, is 6-7, 225 pounds.
Schaefer said he is disappointed that Hennessy teased him with the call and never got back to him as promised.
“Tyson Fury and his team must have realized that Tyson would get knocked out and they will go for a safer opponent,” Schaefer said.