Remarkable comebacks are an ingrained story in Heavyweight boxing, they seem to occur in each generation, and while not all are successful, they are all greeted with support from the masses around the world who love to see the fairy-tale ending in a pantomime weight class.
Tyson Fury is just one of a number of fighters that have captured the imagination of millions, oozing with a contagious belief that he can indeed reach the summit once again to crown his rise from the bottom.
But when taking such a leap of faith in the most unforgiving of sports, gravity’s resistance is always that bit greater. In this instant it is the undefeated WBC Heavyweight champion of the world, Deontay Wilder, who acts as that gravitational force.
Alabama’s Wilder 40-0(39KO’s) is the most fearsome puncher in all of boxing, and while skill and technique are far from being traits that make him successful, 40 straight wins suggest that what he is doing – however unconventional it may be – is working.
Fury 27-0(19KO’s) has already succeeded in inspiring hundreds of thousands in shifting such a large amount of weight in such a short space of time. His perseverance and attitude should be applauded, but Tyson Fury did not shift all those pounds to be patted on the back with the consolation prize of winning his biggest battle outside of the ring. Fury did all this to prove himself right, to back up his own words that he is the best Heavyweight of his generation.
The two bouts leading in to this title challenge were far from ideal preparation for such a steep task. The Sefer Seferi fight turned into a circus act from the moment Fury picked the former Cruiserweight up at the weigh in, and was thankfully concluded in the 4th round when Seferi decided he wanted no more, a decision that benefited all that endured the long 16 minutes of “action”.
Francesco Pianeta was an improvement, but the challenger still lacked any ambition to discover if Fury was still as good as he was three years prior. Pianeta didn’t take any risks, and neither did Fury, the fight going the distance.
Seferi and Pianeta have not prepared Fury for what Wilder will bring on Saturday night, but it was not as if Fury was cast in to deep waters before he fought Wladimir Klitschko either. That night he was also considered brave for taking the challenge on the road, but was heavily written off, then he stunned the boxing world, proving he could befuddle a great like Klitschko just as easily as he could Christian Hammer or Dereck Chisora.
Wilder has already come close to unravelling in 2018, when his finest challenger to date, Luis Ortiz, saw his opportunity to claim world honours slip through his grasp when he had Wilder in all sorts of trouble. The bell saved Wilder, but what ensued was all down to Wilder’s powers of recovery.
Wilder’s chin has been questioned, but while rocked he was never dropped by a puncher like Ortiz. And in spite of taking such sustained damage, Wilder had plenty left in the tank, and more importantly plenty left in his arms to produce a thunderous knockout in the 10th round. If Wilder is going to be dethroned at the Staples Center, he will not be doing so quietly.
The consensus is that Fury can box rings around the champion, as and when he likes, but the ‘Lineal’ champion has not shown he can produce the power to finish this contest inside the distance. Therefore, like Ortiz found out in March, so long as Wilder is on his feet, he is a split second away from finishing the fight.
Fury’s concentration must be at an all-time high for every second of every round. One mistake and his unbeaten record will be in tatters.
The pick is that boxing is already the winner as we enter Saturday night. Fury and Wilder have stepped up to the plate, and we can all revel in what is a terrific clash of styles in Los Angeles.
Fury’s speed and consistent jab can give him a lead in the early stages, but this was a risky fight years ago before Wilder had been tested, and before Fury had retired. Now its risk level is near critical.
At some point, Wilder is going to land big, and at some point he is going to hurt Fury, force him to hold on and force him to lose his momentum.
Fury is proud enough to return fire when he is in serious trouble, but the frantic swings from Wilder will prove too much.