Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury met in a classic heavyweight title fight (watch the highlights here) full of many incredible layers last night last night (Sat., December 1, 2018) from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
The fight’s ending was a supremely controversial one. It came down to the judge’s scorecards, and they called it a split-decision draw. An uproar unfolded as a result. Most who watched the bout felt Fury did enough with his unorthodox style to outlast the power-hitting champion Wilder. Fury was accurate with his jabs and measured bursts of combinations. Perhaps more so, his defense was stifling as he avoided much of the force of Wilder’s usually concussive shots.
That’s not to say Wilder didn’t have his moments. He dropped the lineal champion twice in the later rounds. The second time nearly had “The Gypsy King” out cold, but somehow he got back up. Despite the two knockdowns, however, most thought he would clearly lose on the cards. The ensuing controversy saw a swarm of critical claims, including the inevitable statements that the fight was fixed to book a rematch.
Good & Bad
Those who thought that was the case said the fight showed everything that was wrong with boxing on its most public stage. It was Wilder and Fury’s U.S. debut on pay-per-view. The result was absolutely questionable and Fury probably should have won. I won’t argue that this did show an ugly side of the sport due to the decision rendered. The rematch would have happened anyway because Wilder has a rematch clause.
Yet Wilder vs. Fury also showed a blossoming aspect of boxing that is more exciting than it is controversial. The fight was an epic, back-and-forth classic that, hyperbole aside, was one of the best fights of the year. Fury came back from substance abuse and depression to take it to the reigning, undefeated WBC champ for the better part of 12 rounds. Wilder nearly secured a late come-from-behind knockout to give the fight even more high drama.
The buzz is palpable, and it shows the heavyweight division is finally back. Couple that with British champ Anthony Joshua, who has the other three titles, and heavyweight is in a great spot right now. It’s not quite back to the level of the Ali vs. Frazier days, or even Mike Tyson’s heyday. It may not be back to the days of Holyfield and Lewis, either. But with a Wilder vs. Fury rematch certainly coming and the winner potentially fighting Joshua, momentum is here.
The decision was shrouded in controversy and probably wrong, depending on your point of view. The fight proved Fury is truly back from issues that may decimate lesser men. Wilder showed he has the power to knock out another top undefeated heavyweight. The rematch will be a huge hit, and it should be.
So no matter how you feel about the decision, the heavyweight division is finally back in boxing, and much of that is thanks to Fury vs. Wilder.