Good Evening Fight-Fans!
If you are anything like me, you are suffering from a hangover of epic proportions. However, this feeling is not the result of some booze-fuelled weekend. No, this is a comedown from the best night of boxing action we have seen for years. It had everything, new domestic champions crowned, a battle-worn warrior showing that there was life in the old dog yet. There were torn muscles and broken jaws. The night was of course punctuated by what many are calling the greatest heavyweight fight of the 21st Century. Fans, fighters and pundits alike have all heaped praise on Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder for producing the best heavyweight fight since Bowe-Holyfield. And, in my opinion, it might well have even topped that!
Of course we all know now that Tyson Fury is still the WBC World Heavyweight Champion. Leaving Wilder in a heap on the canvas under the bright lights of the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada in the eleventh round. It was the third time Wilder hit the deck in the fight, Fury made two visits to the floor himself of course.
We also saw the refusal from Wilder to acknowledge any signs of Fury’s post-fight attempts at respect. The Tuscaloosa native shunning the open hand of ‘The Gypsy King’ and indeed the post-fight press conference that followed. We have since learned from Wilder’s trainer, Malik Scott, that this was because Wilder is steadfast in his beliefs that Fury did in fact cheat in the second fight of the pairs rollercoaster trilogy.
However, the former champion may feel about their second stanza. It is clear that there could be no allegations of loaded gloves in this outing. We’ve all seen Fury joking with Jay Deas as he was having his hands wrapped. We’ve also seen the incredibly farcical scenes over the horsehair gloves, to which this humble writer still chuckles over the naivety of the American’s team. As Wilder himself said, once he finally broke his silence. He was beaten by the better man. A shred of humility finally shone through.
As I was reflecting over this weekend’s action, something occurred to me. Now, we journalists like finding a narrative, after all, we’d be out of a job if we couldn’t find one. But, stick with me on this ladies and gentleman. You’ll be familiar with Fury wandering around Paradise Nevada before the fight in a certain hat. The hat in question of course is one akin to which the popular WWE wrestler ‘The Undertaker’ has made a career of walking to the ring in. You don’t need to be a whizz in pop-culture to also know that ‘The Deadman’s’ catchphrase is ‘Rest … In … Peace’. Unless of course you’ve been living under a rock since c1990.
Recovered from #FuryWilder3 yet?
Thought not! Relive the incredible post-fight scenes from one of the greatest fights in heavyweight boxing history ????
— Boxing on BT Sport ???? (@BTSportBoxing) October 11, 2021
Now this got me thinking…
Has Tyson Fury put a nail in the coffin of Deontay Wilder? Have we seen the last of him as a professional fighter?
Now the answer, of course, is subjective. Once you break the situation down however. One begins to think that the answer may well be yes.
The situation? Yes, dear reader. Wilder is a former champion and, should he stick around, would only surely look to fight the top names in the division. Ah, the penny drops. They’re all tied up! Newly crowned Unified Heavyweight Champion of the World, Oleksandr Usyk and former heavyweight kingpin, Anthony Joshua are tied up until the spring, we could even see a third fight there. Dillian Whyte, who I’m sure would love to share a ring with Wilder, will finally be granted his long-awaited chance at the WBC strap. Provided he gets past Otto Wallin on October 30th in London, of course.
Once the ink has dried in the history books of these particular fights, surely the quest for undisputed will be at the forefront of the relevant fighter’s grey matter. It certainly is if you ask Usyk or Fury, who have made it clear that their desire it to do such and then hang up their gloves. Now, by now we all know for a fight of such magnitude the fight for undisputed may well be two fights, or even a trilogy. Which puts months on the clock. Months Wilder may not have, given it’s his 36th birthday next week. He might well be 38 or older before he gets a chance at a world title tilt again.
My next point is, who on earth is going to risk fighting him. His power is well known. He will go down as one of the hardest punchers in heavyweight history, of this I am sure. But this works against him. The pre-Fury trilogy Deontay Wilder held the WBC belt in his position for some eleven title defences. There was a reward in taking the risk of fighting such a devastating puncher. The benefit defined. A Wilder sans title belt however is a different kettle of fish. He has nothing to bring to the table. The financial reward is nowhere near that of fighting a Joshua, Tyson or even Dillian Whyte who are the money men of the division. There maybe those who might fancy their chances of claiming a scalp and having Wilder’s name on their CV. I can’t imagine there will be a queue though, can you?
As of this writing, Wilder isn't ranked by any major governing body aside from the World Boxing Council. Naturally as the WBO, IBF & WBA didnt have a crystal ball for Saturday night's fight, and would have waited to see who came out on top before entering and then having to remove Wilder from their top 15.
Should Wilder choose to fight on, my personal opinion is that his quickest route to the top is fellow American … Andy Ruiz Jr. Ruiz holds a high ranking with all four bodies and of course dethroned Anthony Joshua not too long ago. It's also his best chance at a big payday given Ruiz stature in America.
There is another lifeline for the fallen champion is the fact that Tyson Fury's father, John has claimed that they have no interest in fighting Dillian Whyte. Should Fury vacate Wilder COULD be offered a quick route back to the top. This does hoever contradict Fury's own plans to become the undisputed heavyweight champion.
All of the above makes me think that Wilder may well hang up his gloves. That Fury has placed the lid on the coffin. That it really IS, Rest .. In … Peace …
Queue the bell tolls …..