When last we saw Deontay Wilder in the ring almost a year and a half ago against the Gypsy King, Tyson Fury, it was not a good moment for Tuscaloosa’s hometown hero.
The Bronze Bomber got shelled by the giant redneck, a ferocious Traveler who could stand up to Wilder’s punches — a feat very few can boast. Despite being flabby and somewhat flat-footed, once Wilder was unable to put Fury down for the count, we saw Fury’s superior technical fighting skills take over, punctuated by repeated flurries of punishing punches almost on par with Wilder’s blasts.
Deontay was outboxed, outhit, and outmanned before being TKO’d in the 7th round.
Wilder said, somewhat laughably at the time, that he had been fatigued from wearing his overly ornate, 60-pound walk-up gear into the ring. But, for Fury, it was more a vindication from the draw in their first bout.
Most knowledgeable fans saw that first match for what it was — Fury was screwed.
Wilder was badly outboxed in that match as well, but a few memorable punches that put Fury to the mat (as well as more than a little self-interest from WBC scoring officials seeking a unification bout against Anthony Joshua), saw the Bronze Bomber claim the controversial draw. In reality, your eyes didn’t lie: Tyson Fury was the better fighter.
The meeting last February was an ignominious conclusion for the 35-year-old Wilder, a man who entered the arena against Fury with a 42-0-0 record, with 41 knockouts, and left with a 42-1-1 record, and a personal record of 0-1-1 against him. Was Wilder’s career over?
That is a question remaining to be decided. But the heavyweight future was set: redeem Joshua’s bump in the road against Ruiz, and then give us Fury-Joshua, the all-UK matchup in Saudi Arabia on August 14th.
It turns out that the Fury and Wilder camps could never agree on a rematch clause, and in a US arbitration yesterday, the judge ordered a third Wilder-Fury fight:
Tyson Fury has been ordered to face Deontay Wilder for a third time throwing his undisputed clash with Anthony Joshua into serious doubt.
The WBC heavyweight champion has been in arbitration with the American for months over a contracted third fight between the pair. A US judge has now ruled he must take on Wilder again as per the contract.
But Fury could pay him a substantial sum to step aside to rescue the clash with Joshua in Saudi Arabia on August 14.
As with many things, the third bout was a COVID casualty:
That [fight] was pencilled in for July 2020 but it was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Then it was pushed back until December but both sides could not agree on a date.
Wilder’s team wanted to push it back further into early 2021 but Fury did not want to wait any longer.
With Wilder not willing to budge on a date, and Fury antsy for that unidication bout with Fury, the Gypsy King scheduled the fight to occur before the third Wilder meeting.
Deontay’s storied career, one in which he is in the twilight, now has a few concrete ways to end.
Will Wilder take a quiet and substantial payoff, and slide into boxing history as the most devastating puncher of his generation — a flawed but terrifying fighter who just wasn’t quite good enough to be the best in the world?
Or will Wilder finally redeem himself — and prove to boxing fans, if not himself — that he is not only better, but deserving of that unification bout the heavyweight world has anticipated for years?
Or, is the past merely prologue, and Fury is simply the better fighter (even if no one is going to accuse him of being the better man)? The first fight Wilder explained away with illness; the second with encumbrance. If he takes this last shot, there can be no excuses...and that may be why he simply walks away in the end.
We’ll know by this summer. Though, I suspect for many, Wilder is a page of this book that has already been turned — and that Deontay-Tyson III is a distraction from the Fury-Joshua fight they really want to see.
What will be the outcome of this suddenly-complicated mess?
This poll is closed
Wilder takes the buyout, retires.
The fight happens, Wilder finally wins.
The fight happens, Fury wins again.