Tyson Fury said he’d score a knockout against Deontay Wilder in the 2nd round, and Wilder, and we, laughed. One round later, it was effectively over; it just took Wilder’s corner five more rounds to end it.
Fury won the most significant heavyweight fight in years Saturday night on pay-per-view to become the true heavyweight champion, and he did it in a thoroughly flabbergasting fashion.
Sometimes, the best way to fight a power puncher is to back him up, not give him a chance to put his full momentum into those shots. And Wilder is as “power puncher” as they come.
Fury executed it this idea to perfection. All of his manic hand movement and funky head jittering made it so he could find a route in, and Wilder, long bereft of true boxing technique beyond what he needed to score a knockout, paid for his comparative lack of skill.
Fury won the 1st, and Wilder won the 2nd, on the TQBR card. You just know that Wilder’s gonna land some big, telling shots, and that’s what he did in the 2nd.
But in the 3rd, Wilder ducked in, and Fury landed a right-hand shot that was behind the head, sure, but due to Wilder dipping down, it was a legit shot. Wilder went down. And by the 3rd, if not sooner, Wilder was bleeding out of his ear.
It stood to reason that Wilder’s ear drum had burst, and his complete absence of balance from that round until the end spoke its further likelihood. Wilder tripped in the 4th, then in the 5th, Wilder got dropped on a body shot, of all things.
In the 6th, the ever-eccentric Fury licked blood off Wilder’s neck. OK then.
One more dominant round, and in the 7th, Fury backed Wilder into a corner — almost, though, as if Wilder himself backed up — and connected on a straight right that forced Wilder’s corner to throw in the literal towel.
Wilder protested, but his mouth was busted and so was his ear. This was a legit stoppage.
Once more, the second time in as many years, a pudgy, unconventional heavyweight surprised a sculpted Adonis, with this fight echoing Andy Ruiz’s upset of Anthony Joshua in their first match-up — a bout in which Ruiz hurt Joshua early and Joshua never recovered before it was stopped.
The difference is, Fury’s significantly, significantly better than Ruiz overall; and maybe another rematch would go differently for Wilder the way it did for Joshua, except Wilder’s shown no ability to box the way Joshua can.
Fury’s The Man now. Let’s not rob him of this moment. He was The Man before, and he’s The Man again. (Some would say he was always the man, but this writer insists that saying you’re retired multiple times, dropping your belts and not fighting for nearly three years is ample to consider someone abdicated.)
One of the points of this fight was to see who The Man was. Fury probably deserved the decision last time against Wilder, but getting knocked down a couple times can sway judges toward the occasional draw.
This was supremely impressive stuff from Fury. He earned this. The heavyweight champion is the kind of weirdo who jokes about going on cocaine and hooker binges post-win, or sings “American Pie” with the audience in the ring, and that’s gonna bring its share of good and bad attention to boxing. Fury’s an original, and people are going to love him, or hate him, and alternate in between. We’ll see what that means for the sport.
Fury-Joshua. Please. As big as this fight was, that would be the biggest fight in boxing since Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao, and would be one of the biggest ever, period. With both men on the rebound from the only blemishes on their records, it’s the cocaine-and-hookers of the heavyweight division.
(Photo: Tyson Fury licks the blood off of Deontay Wilder; via)