Some thoughts I took away from the fight.
1. Whether or not we want it, I think we’ll see these two gladiators for a 4th tilt within 24 months – provided Deontay doesn’t retire. Why? Look, consider the following. Fury clearly has Wilder’s number. An immediate rematch isn’t in the cards. Besides, I don’t think even Wilder wants that right now. But if he doesn’t retire, where does Wilder go from here?
The obvious answer is AJ – with a spotty chin – or Usyk – undersized when compared to Wilder. The other options like Ruiz, Whyte, Helenius, or Joyce have issues that I think make them easy enough game for Deontay. Joyce, in particular, is tailor-made for Wilder.
My point is that I can readily see Wilder winning the WBA, IBO, ABC, whatever. title, then, with no other fight that matters, tangling with Fury once again to unify the heavyweight crown at long last. We haven’t heard the last from these two. For those who argue this can’t happen, I refer you to Pacquiao/Marquez. I believe they went four times.
2) There was no “long count.” There was a “slow count.” This is one of the most misunderstood rules in boxing. Generally, a 10-second clock is used for knockdowns by the timekeeper, who begins the count as soon as the fighter hits the canvas. That’s why the first number we hear out of the referee’s mouth is usually “3” or “4.” But the rules call for a 10-count, not a 10 second count. The cadence of the count is up to the referee. In truth, by the time the ref gets the fighter who scored the knockdown from over his fallen opponent and into the neutral corner, some seconds have elapsed. If referees were to stick strictly to a 10 second count, I think the first number the fallen boxer would hear, might be “7” or “8.”
Was the count on the Fury knockdown slow? Yep. But note that it was equally slow when Wilder was knocked down. What mattered more to me was Fury’s condition during the count. He was alert and clear-eyed. He was obviously in control of his faculties and was clearly able to get up whenever he wanted. He took advantage of the few extra seconds he got – as well he should have. But he wasn’t in any way “saved” by the count. That’s rubbish.
3) Tyson Fury is indeed a very good boxer. But is he a “great,” as some are suggesting? For me, the answer is an unsatisfactory one. “It’s too early to tell.” He has proven to be better than I thought. But I think some of the hyperbole about him is just that – hyperbole. When I hear “great,” I think of Ali beating Cleveland Williams, Duran beating Leonard, Frazier beating Ali, Liston beating Patterson. Hagler besting Hearns. Names like Ezzard Charles, Joe Louis, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Harry Greb, etc. come to mind. I can’t put Fury there quite yet. But now I have to admit that he has a chance. Let’s see a few more fights.
4) Whatever Deontay Wilder lacks in sportsmanship, he more than makes up for with his heart. Yes, yes, yes, I’ve heard it. We’ve all heard it. Wilder was most ungracious in defeat. Easy to criticize him, but we’re not the ones who had the stuffing beat out of us over nearly 33 minutes. We’re not the ones who had our dreams crushed by that Fury right hand. He shouldn’t have said what he did; fair enough. But after the tenacity, courage, heart, and just plain cojones this man showed us, I’m willing to give him a “Mulligan” on this one.
5) Did you watch the undercard? With all due respect to Robert Helenius, a top contender, the division is in real trouble. Other than Fury, Wilder, and Usyk, I don’t see much there. Unlike many, I’m not sold on the other contenders at all. We need new blood.
6) Watching the undercard, I found myself wondering this, “Do they teach the fundamentals at all anymore?” Efe Ajagba has all the physical prowess in the world – but just who is training this man? Same for Kownacki? I mean it’s just awful! No footwork. No ability to parry and pivot. And, most disturbingly, seemingly no real plan going in. I don’t know how to explain it, but go look at say Holmes/Norton, or Quarry/Lyle. The technical level of those fighters was other-worldly compared to what we are seeing now.
Fury/Wilder was a great fight; one for the ages. We needed that. Boxing needed that. The trilogy has been inspiring. I don’t know about you, but I have an appetite for a fourth – not right now, but soon enough. I think others will feel the same once they’ve had a steady diet of what’s left out there.
Video courtesy of Top Rank Boxing