- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Want to perk up interest in the heavyweight division? Match two up-and-coming guys against each other and see what happens.
There are good fights to be made, even though most guys want to sit around waiting for a shot at one of the Klitschko brothers. But Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer wants to make interesting fights, Klitschko brothers be damned.
He wants to make a fight -- a very attractive fight, I might add -- between the 6-foot-7, 225-pound Deontay Wilder and 6-9, 250-pound Tyson Fury, two up-and-coming big men with a lot of question marks that a fight between them might answer.
Schaefer promotes Wilder, a 2008 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist, who has blasted through a litany of terrible opponents to compile a glittering record -- 28-0 -- without proving a thing other than he can knock out punching bags.
Wilder, 27, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., has real power in his right hand and obvious potential, but nobody knows if he can really fight because he has smashed his overmatched opponents so early, including the shot Audley Harrison on Saturday night in Sheffield, England, on the Amir Khan-Julio Diaz undercard. Wilder needed just 70 seconds and the first real punch of the fight -- a right hand -- to drill Harrison.
Fury (21-0, 15 KOs), 24, of England, is a bit more advanced than Wilder, having beaten opponents such as Dereck Chisora, Kevin Johnson and, on April 27 in New York, former cruiserweight titlist Steve Cunningham. But Fury has not shown the best chin. Obscure Neven Pajkic dropped him in a 2011 fight and Cunningham, a much smaller man, also dropped him and was roughing him in the early part of the fight. Wilder is a much bigger puncher than either of them.
“We’d like to make Wilder against Tyson Fury,” Schaefer said. “We’d do it in a minute. It would be a fight a lot of people would be interested in.”
Alas, like most interesting potential heavyweight fights, don’t count on seeing it.
Schaefer said Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez called Fury promoter Mick Hennessy to see if they were interested and they weren’t.
“Hennessy was saying that they have other options and this and that and other excuses,” Schaefer said. “They were not all that keen on it. It’s too bad.”
It is too bad.