By Frank Warren
Rematch clauses are rightly legally binding when they are written into the contract of a title contest, but they can also be a right bind as well when you are seeking to keep a champion active.
Wladimir Klitschko insisted on such a safety net being put in place before he put his belts on the line against Tyson Fury last November and, in normal circumstances, this wouldn’t have been too much of an issue.
However, normal is not a word often associated with heavyweight boxing.
‘Repeat or Revenge’ was a long time in the making anyway before some well-documented bumps in the road were encountered following the postponement of the original July 9 date due to Tyson sustaining an ankle injury.
Thankfully, the issues are in the process of being ironed out and we will hopefully be able to confirm the new date of October 29 very soon.
It is a lot more straightforward making big fights when you are taking on a mandatory challenger or negotiating a voluntary defence of a title. Mandatory splits are predetermined, while with voluntaries you can make ‘take it or leave it’ offers and then move on.
It is much more complicated when the challenger already has legal right to the fight and is able to call some of the shots. This wriggle-room a champion would usually enjoy has been denied to Tyson and, as a result, has kept him inactive for longer than he would have wished.
In an ideal world, Tyson would probably be looking at making his second defence by now and mounting up the kudos he richly deserves after his exploits in Dusseldorf.
Don’t get me wrong, this is still the best fight out there between the top two heavies in the world. It is just a pity that it has taken so long to come around again.
Tyson is looking in great nick again, is back in camp getting ready, so hopefully there will be no more dramas before the big night on BoxNation.
We need to get him going again because, by the time fight night comes around, it will be nearly a year since he confounded the odds at the Esprit Arena. Tyson wants to take on all-comers, so the delays have been hard on him and also a big frustration for the fans who want heavyweight forces to frequently collide.
The heavyweight scene stalling is not a new thing though. When Muhammad Ali – then Cassius Clay – famously dethroned Sonny Liston in February 1964, he was also required for a repeat performance before he could set about the rest of the division.
The second coming didn’t occur until some 15 months later because Ali sustained an injury shortly before the fight but the delay didn’t affect Ali in the slightest. He got straight to work on the fearsome former champion, forcing a first round stoppage in Lewiston, Maine, with the so-called ‘phantom punch.’
I am not suggesting Tyson’s forthcoming appointment with the 40-year-old Dr Steelhammer will be a similarly brief encounter, but knowing the angry mood Fury is in I forecast some explosive action this time round.
More heavyweight talk from Frank tomorrow