• That champion would be in hot demand on the lat-enight talk show circuit, would attract greater sponsorship deals, and would generate a lot of cash outside of fighting.
  • The winner of the anticipated three-fight Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury rivalry could receive $138 million in total prize money should he then also challenge Anthony Joshua in a potential unification fight.
  • "Heavyweight champions historically have been at the top of the food chain in boxing," Fury's promoter Bob Arum told us. And history could be about to repeat itself.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories .

LAS VEGAS The winner of the Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury fight on Saturday could earn $138 million in 12 months on prize money alone.

The WBC heavyweight champion Wilder defends his world title at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in a rematch of his 2018 draw with the challenger, Fury.

The Los Angeles Times boxing reporter Manouk Akopyan tweeted this week that both fighters could expect to receive more than $40 million each after pay-per-view buys are tabulated.

Fury's promoter in the US, the Top Rank founder Bob Arum, told Business Insider this week that he expects this fight to "set records for heavyweight boxing." He said: "We really anticipate [selling to] two million pay-per-view homes in the United States and 800,000 to a million in the UK."

Saturday's fight might not end Wilder and Fury's two-fight rivalry, though.

Having already gone 12 rounds in their first fight 14 months ago, the two heavyweights could fight for a third time later this year as a trilogy has been contractually agreed. "A third fight has been signed," Arum told us.

"The winner of this [second] fight Saturday would get 60% in the third fight and the loser gets 40%. And that will happen this year unless the loser pulls the plug [on the deal]," he said. "That's how the contract is written."

If a trilogy bout generates a similar total prize fund as the $80 million Akopyan mentioned, then Saturday's winner could bank a further $48 million based on that 60% share.

"Assuming that is the case it will be a big payday for Tyson," Arum said.

But the CEO of Mayweather Promotions, Leonard Ellerbe, who has frequently called Wilder the "top dog" in the division, expects the American to be the one who hits the jackpot in Las Vegas.

Speaking to Business Insider in the VIP Lounge at the MGM Grand on Thursday, Ellerbe said: "The sky is the limit for Deontay.

"He has the ability to impact the sport in a major way. I think they'll do a tremendous number [of pay-per-view buys] on Saturday with two powerhouse networks [ESPN and Fox Sports] behind them. With those two coming together, you will see great results," Ellerbe said.

But the biggest payday could be one fight after Wilder and Fury end their rivalry

An even bigger event could be a fight which is yet to be made. Another of Arum's fighters, Kubrat Pulev, is expected to challenge Anthony Joshua for the popular British heavyweight's three world titles this summer.

The winner of that fight, and the winner of the Wilder and Fury rivalry, would be a bout with all of the division's championships on the line. It would be the most significant heavyweight fight in years, maybe even decades.

Arum said it would be "a really massive fight."

Anthony Joshua
Anthony Joshua
Getty Images

Ellerbe told us it takes time to become a truly global superstar, and referenced the nine years it took to turn Floyd Mayweather into a pay-per-view sensation.

"In this world today, everybody wants instant gratification," Ellerbe said. "You can't climb Everest overnight. Our first pay-per-view fight was in 2005. Floyd [Mayweather] turned pro in 1996. Our first pay-per-view [with Mayweather] took nine years. Nothing happens overnight.

"A number of things have to come into play to have success. But any fight which Deontay is involved in will be a big event. I fully expect him to knock Fury out on Saturday night. And then all roads, in my opinion, lead to Deontay."

Arum seemingly agrees with Ellerbe about the timescale needed to nurture superstar talent. Earlier in the week, he told us: "In boxing, there's no instant reward for winning, but there is a big reward down the road."

It is unclear how great that big reward down the road could be, but Joshua reportedly made $85 million when he won back the world titles he lost to Andy Ruiz Jr. in an anticipated rematch in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, in 2019. The total pot was apparently $100 million, with Ruiz Jr. receiving $15 million.

A fight for the unified heavyweight championship, to decide an undisputed champion in the division, could feasibly attract a similar payday.

The reported $40 million check for Saturday's fight, combined with the anticipated $48 million in the trilogy and a 50% share of a $100 million megafight equals $138 million in prize money alone.

An undisputed champion, whoever that might be, would be in hot-demand on the late night talk show circuit, would attract greater sponsorship deals, and could generate additional revenue outside of fighting.

As Arum told us: "Heavyweight champions historically have been at the top of the food chain in boxing."

And history may be about to repeat itself.

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