by Vito Basile
If you’re a boxing fan, or just a sports movie fanatic, you might recall the scene in Rocky IV when Apollo Creed is getting his head knocked off by the Russian Ivan Drago. It’s been just under 48 hours since the Wilder/Fury rematch took place, and American boxing fans saw their heavyweight champ get brutally stopped, in what most believe, was a surprise TKO by Fury in the 7th.
The match began with unique intros for both Fury and Wilder. Fury was carried to the ring on a throne carried by four women. On the other hand, Wilder made his way to the ring in what looked like some sort of bedazzled Black Panther costume. Both men are known for their showmanship, so this all came as no surprise.
Recap: In the first round, Wilder opened with using his levels, straight body shots paired with his jab to the head, while also throwing his signature right hand a little more aggressively than in the first fight. Noticeably by the end of the round, he showed signs of fatigue, which was going to become a factor. Fury, on the other hand, looked to be just as comfortable as he was in the first fight, utilizing his movement, length, and jab while being more aggressive and pushing the pace. The only round Wilder kept it competitive was the second round, and I gave him this round on the scorecard.
Wilder started the third round looking like he was already facing exhaustion, which made me feel the night was going to end early. Fury boxed circles around him in the third, being aggressive, picking his shots and landing power punches. Fury knocked him down in the third, and this is where he caught Wilder on his left ear, which started bleeding in between rounds. After this, Fury mashed Wilder for the rest of the fight, knocking him down one more time in the fifth round. In the seventh, the ref and Wilder’s corner simultaneously ended the fight, keeping him from taking on any more damage.
Fury leaned on Wilder the whole fight, which was a smart strategy that ended up affecting the outcome. Wilder, a smaller heavyweight in terms of weight, was burning energy throwing punches, and trying to keep a 270lb man off him.
Questions: Wilder, admittedly, was not the better fighter on Saturday. I took issue with some of his camp’s decisions. First, I’m curious as to why they thought putting on about 19lbs of lean muscle was the right decision. I think it cost him the fight, or at least the chance to win. Second, of course Wilder’s ear injury caused a lot of balance issues because it altered his equilibrium, but it came out after the fight that Wilder had issues with his legs during training. Third, during the fight, Wilder’s corner just let his ear bleed, which seemed odd for me.
Conclusion: In the end, The Gypsy King (Tyson Fury) reigns supreme. Fury, with this TKO over Wilder, cemented himself as the best heavyweight in the division without question. Fury was a class act after the fight, giving praise to Wilder, calling him a warrior and that he will be back, as well as a champion again. Fury proved that not only can he be technical, but he has the power to end the fight.
Where do we go from here: Wilder, being the champion, does have the right within the next 30 days to exercise his rematch clause setting up a Wilder v Fury III. I expect a rematch, but I believe both camps will set it after Wilder recovers and Fury gets a chance to defend the belt a couple of times. As for Fury and the heavyweight division, all eyes are on Tyson Fury v Anthony Joshua to unify all the belts and establish who is the best heavyweight boxer in the UK, as well as the heavyweight division. Wilder has some options when he’s ready, like Andy Ruiz, Anthony Joshua, and a third bout with Fury.
Most boxing fans will tell you that the one thing they absolutely hate is when losses define and end the career of a guy like Wilder, whereas in the MMA, everyone loves the redemption story. There’s no doubt that Fury is the best heavyweight and a class act. He won me over, but I do expect Wilder to be back. Fury is the Gypsy King, and for now, he does reign supreme.