The crossover between boxing and MMA fans still is not huge, and so it was kind of stunning that WBC and lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury ceded some of his camera time on ESPN after his demolition of Dillian Whyte on Saturday to a discussion about a potential fight with UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou that almost certainly won’t happen.
Ngannou was in the ring to Fury’s left as Fury was being interviewed by ESPN’s Bernardo Osuna in the wake of his sixth-round TKO of Whyte at Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday when Fury noticed Ngannou.
Fury called Ngannou over and the pair had an awkward moment or two, discussing briefly what Ngannou said would be a "hybrid rules" bout with each of them wearing MMA gloves.
Ngannou said, “We’re going to find out who the baddest mother f***er on the planet is.”
We already know that. If it’s boxing, it’s Fury, who is now 32-0-1 with 23 KOs after knocking Whyte cold.
If it’s MMA, it’s Ngannou, who in the past two fights has defeated both Stipe Miocic and Ciryl Gane in impressive fashion.
If Fury and Ngannou were to box, Fury would win, easily.
If Fury and Ngannou were to fight under MMA rules, Ngannou would win, easily.
And if they fight under a hybrid set of rules, well, honestly, who cares? What does it prove?
UFC president Dana White has been firmly against these kinds of fights, and for good reason. He relented and allowed former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion Conor McGregor to fight boxer Floyd Mayweather in 2017 because the money would be so huge.
Mayweather made over $200 million, and McGregor collected close to $100 million in the fight at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Aug. 26, 2017, that sold 4.1 million pay-per-view units.
A fight between Fury and Ngannou wouldn’t come close to that. Fury doesn’t have Mayweather’s PPV-selling power — no one does — and Ngannou can’t sell nearly as well as McGregor.
If Fury chooses to fight again, facing the winner of the July rematch between Anthony Joshua and IBF-WBA-WBO heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk would be massively more lucrative than fighting Ngannou in a hybrid-rules type of fight. These events almost always disappoint and leave the buyer feeling suckered.
Plus, we know what’s going to happen.
Ngannou had knee surgery following his win over Gane that will keep him out until the November timeframe. When he returns, he could be in line for a mega-fight with former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who has moved to heavyweight. The UFC is trying to put a Jones-Miocic fight together for the summer, probably July, and Jones is already in. The UFC needs to get a deal with Miocic.
A Jones-Miocic fight could be for an interim heavyweight title with Ngannou sidelined, and then Ngannou could return to take on the winner. Ngannou-Jones or Ngannou-Miocic II would be a significant, meaningful fight.
Fury-Ngannou would be just folly.
It is unlikely to happen, but if it does and you wind up feeling cheated out of your money, don’t say you weren’t given fair warning.