SPARE a thought for Italy’s Francesco Pianeta.
The 33-year-old is in Belfast preparing for a fight he cannot possibly win on Saturday (August 18) at Windsor Park, and is, rather than an opponent for Tyson Fury, a mere inconvenience at this stage.
Get rid of him, Fury knows, and a fight, a much better one, against WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder is all but guaranteed for November in either Las Vegas or New York. The hard-hitting American will even be sitting ringside on Saturday; waiting for his moment, waiting for Fury to dispose of Pianeta and invite him in.
The Big One, it would seem, is now an inevitability. The two of them, Fury and Wilder, have already been caught trading verbals inside a Belfast hotel, and the next stage requires Fury, 26-0 (19), beating Pianeta, as straightforward as it sounds, and Wilder then vaulting the top rope and invading the Englishman’s post-fight interview.
After that, expect a press conference to be held in London on Monday. That’s the word on the street at least.
“Me and Tyson Fury will definitely be fighting,” Wilder, 40-0 (39), said yesterday. “It will seal the deal if he can get a win come Saturday night. Then it will definitely be even more realistic.
“I have no doubt in my mind that he’s going to do what he’s got to do and get the job done and get this fight out of the way so we can get into camp and get ready to train for the battle of the real kings of the heavyweight division.
“Fury has always been welcome in my home and I think now, finally, these guys have grown some balls and now he’s ready to fight me.
“It’s going to be a good fight while it lasts. He’s definitely going to be in shape.
“People don’t think he’ll be in shape and he needs more tune-ups and stuff, but he’s a champion. He’s a professional fighter. He knows what he needs to do to get in shape.
“When guys know they have to face me, they get in the best shape of their life.
“And they should because I’m a very dangerous guy.”
It’s all well and good being a dangerous guy, but what Deontay Wilder has shown in travelling to Belfast, seemingly to rubber-stamp this Fury fight, is that he also has no qualms about taking dangerous fights. For that, we should be thankful.
If Wilder vs. Fury is a fight the whole world wants to witness, Gervonta Davis taking on Abner Mares is a fight few outside Mayweather Promotions feel is necessary.
The potential WBA super-featherweight title scrap, semi-announced by Floyd Mayweather on Instagram this morning, would pit Davis, 20-0 (19), against the best opponent of his five-and-a-half-year professional career, yet, regrettably, one who has perhaps seen better days.
Mares, 31-3-1 (15), a former world champion at bantamweight, super-bantamweight and featherweight, recently lost a decision to Leo Santa Cruz in a WBA featherweight title fight. It was his second defeat to the Mexican, having lost a closer decision in 2015, and went some way to highlighting the 32-year-old’s ceiling in the nine-stone division.
There have been solid enough wins for Mares as a featherweight – ones against the likes of Daniel Ponce De Leon, Jesus Marcelo Andres Cuellar and Andres Gutierrez – but there can be no disputing the fact his form has inevitably suffered as a result of moving through the weights.
It’s hard to imagine his fortunes will change by virtue of moving to yet another weight class, either. Not when confronting a physical specimen like Davis; someone whose aggressive, relentless style is liable to have a newcomer to the weight class, like Santa Cruz, thinking they’ve skipped not one but two divisions; someone no ageing former champion wants to contend with as their career winds down.
Sure, Mares remains skilled and experienced enough to pose questions, but it’s hard to see how he finds a way to turn back the clock, ignore the size difference, and upset a rambunctious 23-year-old known as ‘Tank’ for a reason.