Legendary promoter Bob Arum says Tyson Fury against Anthony Joshua os the biggest heavyweight fight since Muhammad Ali versus Joe Frazier.
Bob Arum was the promoter who staged the iconic Ali vs Frazier clash tagged ‘Fight of the Century’ at New York’s Madison Square Garden, fifty years ago.
Now Arum, who turns 90 this year, is on the verge of delivering another history-making bout in boxing’s blue riband division. He believes Fury and Joshua’s pay-per-view pulling power and online presence – not available during Ali’s reign – can grip the wider public’s attention like never before.
“The closest heavyweight fight it compares to would be the first Ali-Frazer fight which was in March of 1971,” Arum told SunSport.
“The whole world stopped. Why? Because Ali couldn’t fight because of the draft situation, couldn’t fight for three and a half years but he was still undefeated.
“He captured everyone’s imagination, unfortunately, we didn’t have the technology we have now.
“We didn’t have satellites domestically as we do now to get the signal, we had to use telephone company long lines and we were limited to the number of people who could watch it.
“There was no pay-per-view at the time, but still it was by far the biggest fight that I had ever experienced then and, looking back on it, now.
“And I really think Fury-Joshua will begin to approach that first Ali-Frazer fight.”
All-time great Ali had been stripped of his title in 1967 after his refusal to serve in the Vietnam war due to his religious beliefs. He returned in 1970 and had two fights before challenging Frazier, where he lost for the first time.
It took Ali three years to gain revenge, as he won the rematch on points, before emerging victorious in the series with his 1975 trilogy win.
Fury, 32, has himself enjoyed a similar comeback story, having vacated the unified belts a year after he won them against Wladimir Klitschko in 2015.
It took Fury – like Ali – three years to return, but by 2020 he was already at the heavyweight summit again.
He dominated Deontay Wilder, 35, last February for the WBC belt, setting him up with a historic undisputed title decider against Joshua, 31.
It will be the first time in heavyweight history that all four belts – WBC, WBA, IBF, and WBO – will be on the line.