Much talked about sequel goes down this Saturday night
By John J. Raspanti
Tyson Fury has been saying for weeks that he’ll knock out WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder Feb.22.
Fury, though a huge person, is not the puncher here. Sure, he’s scored 20 stoppages in 29 wins, but power isn’t his calling card.
“He has pillows as fists,” said Wilder during a media conference call a few days ago.
Fury, of course, disagrees.
“We’re giant heavyweights,” said the six-foot-nine-inch boxer. “I’ve had twenty knockouts, so I’m very capable of knocking people out. When you underestimate someone else’s power, you usually end up unstuck.”
Movement, speed, and a super high boxing IQ is Fury’s game. He knows how to win, not only in boxing, but life. So much so that he contemplated killing himself three years ago. But he’s come back from the abyss, remaining undefeated and seemingly defeating Wilder in 2018.
It was fitting that his first fight was in Tinseltown, the place of dreams, drama, and pathos. Fury did what he does. He boxed, baffling Wilder with quirky moves and combinations. Wilder knocked Fury down in round nine with a right hand shot over the ear. Fury got up and fought on, until the last round, when Wilder clipped him with a left hook and collapsed him with a right. Fury looked dead to the world.
Wilder celebrated his apparent victory in the neutral corner. Only Fury got up. Wilder, along with the sold-out crowd at Staples Center, was shocked. Fury even managed to stun Wilder with a jolting right hand during the last minute of the fight.
Even with the last round drama, it appeared that Fury had done enough to deserve the decision. Nope. One judge had Wilder winning the fight by an improbable 115-111 score. Another had Fury the winner by a 114-112 tally, while the third judged the fight a draw.
Neither fighter agreed with the decision. Hence the rematch this Saturday in Las Vegas.
The gregarious Fury also told boxing scribes that he plans to weight roughly 20 pounds more for the sequel. Wilder, built like a basketball player, also plans to add some poundage. Whatever, he’ll be giving up perhaps 50 pounds. The question is: With Fury, say weighing 275, will he be a tad slower, giving the bomb throwing Wilder the split-second he needs?
That’s all Wilder requires since power laces through his right hand. Just ask his 41 victims in 43 fights.
Wilder deserves respect, but love hasn’t come his way.
Why? Because, at times, he resembles an amateur. He delivers his punches in an awkward way. Off balance. All arms and legs – like a 6-foot-7-inch praying mantis tripping over his own wing.
But does any of that really matter? Wilder doesn’t hide behind his promoter. He wants to fight the best of the heavyweights. Whatever that means. In 2018, he fought Luis Ortiz for the second time.
Ortiz, pushing 40 or 50, has been avoided most of his career. Ortiz almost ended Wilder’s title reign. A counter left buckled his skinny legs, but Ortiz couldn’t finish him.
Wilder, showing intestinal fortitude, and a big heart, rallied in round nine. A whipping right hurt Ortiz. Another punch scrambled his senses. The next round signaled the end. Three clubbing rights floored Ortiz. Up before the count of 10, Ortiz was in a world of trouble. Wilder stepped inside and connected with the coup de grace, a short right uppercut that sent Ortiz to his knees. The referee took one look at the limp Ortiz and waved off the contest.
In the rematch, held in Vegas late last year, Ortiz outboxed Wilder with ease for six rounds. It was so easy Ortiz was laughing in round seven. He who laughs last. Wilder threw out three harmless jabs. He was lining up Ortiz for his right hand.
The shot was straight and pure. It crashed off Ortiz’s chin, collapsing his legs. His body followed, leaving him prone on the canvas-his head propped up against the bottom rope like he was slumbering at home watching television. Wilder casually walked away.
That was it. Done. Over. Power can make up for flaws in the bat of an eye.
Who will win when Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder fight again Feb.22?
I give the edge to Fury, but that doesn’t mean he’ll win. Wilder has something to prove, which can be dangerous.