Five blockbuster boxing matches that never materialised

The blockbuster unification bout between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury is set to be called off after a US judge ruled in mediation that Fury has to fight Deontay Wilder this summer.

The announcement was a major blow to boxing fans, who have been anticipating the bout between Britain’s top heavyweights throughout 2021.

But it is not the first potential blockbuster clash that has never materialised. Let’s take a look at five other times things didn’t go according to plan.

Riddick Bowe v Lennox Lewis

Riddick Bowe and Lennox Lewis fought during the 1988 Olympics, with Lewis winning what was a controversial match.

Throughout the 1990s, Lewis called on a rematch, telling Bowe that he would “knock him out”.

But the bout never took place. Lewis told Revolt TV earlier this year that he believed Bowe didn’t take the fight because he was “afraid [Lewis] was going to knock him out”.

Sugar Ray Leonard v Julio Cesar Chaves

Julio Cesar Chavez went an incredible 90 professional fights without tasting defeat throughout the 1980s and early 90s. He secured victory over world champions such as Jose Luis Ramirez, Roger Mayweather and Meldrick Taylor.

During that time, he was unstoppable and is today still ranked as one of the finest boxers to step into the ring. So too is Sugar Ray Leonard.

When he announced his first retirement in 1991, Leonard had won 36 professional fights, with 25 of those arriving via knockout.

A fight between two of the greatest fighters of their generation was at times speculated, but never quite came off. Which one would have emerged victorious?

Dana White v Tito Ortiz

Back in 2007, UFC president Dana White was all set to face former UFC fighter Tito Ortiz in a boxing match. He told TMZ in 2018 that he was prepared for one.

White said that Ortiz had challenged him to a bout shortly after the pair were reportedly involved in a fight on a private plane.

Both sides relay different versions of the story about what happened next, but what is common knowledge is that the fight was called off.

With plenty of boxing matches taking place featuring those from other disciplines or other sports altogether, it would certainly have been interesting to see how White fared inside the ring.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. v Paul Williams

Prior to his 2010 rematch against Sergio Martinez, Paul Williams was ranked as one of the best pound-for-pound boxers on the planet.

He was also keen to take on the unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr. Williams said he did not believe that “Floyd Mayweather will fight me anytime“.

As it turned out, the fight never materialised. Williams was knocked out in the second round by Martinez in their rematch, but bounced back with a controversial victory over Erislandy Lara in July 2011.

He was then set to face Canelo Alvarez in September 2012. Sadly, however, Williams was paralysed from the waist down after a motorcycle crash that May, meaning the fight against Mayweather would never be realised.

Anthony Joshua v Tyson Fury

Finally, of course, there is Joshua against Fury, which hasn’t happened – yet.

Had a US judge not ruled in mediation that Fury must fight Wilder this summer, we would likely have seen one of the biggest heavyweight fights in British boxing history.

Whether it can be arranged for another time remains to be seen. What is certain, though, is that fans will be desperate to see it happen.

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