Danny Flexen examines this weekend’s Tyson Fury vs Otto Wallin fight in the context of a UK pay-per-view attraction
Calm down, American fight fans. The Tyson Fury vs Otto Wallin fight, scheduled for this Saturday in Las Vegas, taking the Mexican Independence Day weekend slot usually reserved for Canelo Alvarez, is still available to you via the value-for-money ESPN + app. I will be examining the fight as a pay-per-view attraction from the UK perspective, given live coverage (from 2am Sunday) over here will be on BT Sport Box Office, priced at £19.95.
Many people are criticising the validity of unbeaten but untested Swede Wallin as one half of a ppv main event but there should be no faux shock. If Fury vs the inferior Tom Schwarz was on Box Office back in June, this was always going to be. Walling was an international class amateur and has done all that has been asked of him as a pro thus far; he is also quietly confident. This fight could also be viewed as the third comeback bout Fury never had, following his two-and-a-half-year hiatus. That was the initial plan before the opportunity to challenge WBC champion Deontay Wilder presented itself as an offer too good to refuse, and Fury accepted after only a pair of facile, rust-shedding triumphs.
The key question this time around is whether Fury vs Walling will be a success on ppv. Here are the main pros and cons.
Yes, it will
Fury IS Box Office
Given the recent upset defeat suffered by Anthony Joshua against Andy Ruiz Jr and the fact the majority of observers believe Fury got the better of his December draw with Wilder, it can be sensibly argued that the traveller and former unified world ruler is the current best heavyweight on the planet. Add a colourful personality and err ‘eventful’ backstory and you can see why Fury transcends the sport and is now considered, by Frank Warren and BT Sport among others, as a ppv draw regardless of who is in the opposite corner. It is the Fury show and what a show it is.
The support is much improved from the disappointing Schwarz bill. For a start we have a world title fight with exciting Mexican Emanuel Navarrete defending his WBO super-bantam belt against 28-1 Filipino Juan Miguel Elorde. Add intriguing battles pitting Jose Pedraza vs Jose Zepeda – which we preview here - and Felix Valera vs Vyacheslav Shabranskyy and this is a decent card, top to bottom.
Not only have the broadcasting giant given this the hard sell via impressive shoulder programming and social media output, there is a good-value UK show taking place at York Hall on the same night that will be shown on subscription channel BT Sport 1. Headlined by Sunny Edwards, this finishes at midnight and will undoubtedly feature plenty of plugs for the Box Office show. To bridge the gap until 2am, BT are showing No Filter Boxing, Wilder vs Fury: Behind the Scenes and the Fury vs Schwarz fight. Simple but effective.
No, it won’t
Wallin IS NOT Box Office
The Swede seems like a nice guy, has some amateur pedigree and has further proven himself in high-level sparring. But until he was announced as Fury’s opponent few people beyond the boxing hardcore had heard of the 6ft 5 1/2in, 20-0 (13) southpaw. Having fought outside Europe only once and not yet having met a world-class opponent in the paid game, Wallin lacks name recognition and only the WBA rank him in their top 10.
The Sky Comparison
Sky Box Office events this year have tended to feature either multiple world title fights or stacked cards. The next one is a case in point and a logical point of comparison. While the October 26 London show lacks a superstar of Fury’s celebrity, it is a stronger bill with far more depth overall, including the WBSS final between world champions Regis Prograis and Josh Taylor, plus Dereck Chisora vs Joseph Parker, Ricky Burns vs Lee Selby and Yves Ngabu vs Lawrence Okolie. If you take the view that Fury like Anthony Joshua is pay-per-view regardless, then we should be entitled to expect an undercard like the one for AJ vs Ruiz in June, which had two further world title fights plus some quality supporting bouts.