Fury vs Wilder 3, the morning after: A modern heavyweight boxing classic
It’s an odd feeling to wake up this morning, think about the all-time great heavyweight boxing main event that was Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder 3, and then remember that most of us were hoping for a different match up. After all, this one only happened due to contract stipulations.
That’s not to say interest was low leading up to this trilogy match — this was still one of the biggest boxing matches of the year even before it blew the roof off the T-Mobile Arena. Still, after Fury largely boxed up Wilder over the course of the first two fights, the precedent seemed to have been set, and everyone thought they had an idea regarding what to expect.
It was impossible to accurately predict just how last night’s trilogy match would go down, because the two athletes shifted forms so often inside the right. Whether you expected Tyson Fury to box brilliantly, throw his weight around in the clinch, or trade power shots and trust in his size to keep him safe vs. the legendary puncher, well … you were right at various points of the fight.
Can anyone honestly say they expected Fury’s approach to differ so radically round-to-round? It took at least five rounds for Fury to really get into his usually stellar head movement groove. Early on, he did not have a read on Wilder’s right hand, and that’s usually a death sentence.
Fury survived massive right hand trades — presumably an exchange he was looking to avoid? — on numerous occasions. As for Wilder, it was easy to make jokes beforehand about the costume excuses from the rematch. However, it was abundantly clear that “The Bronze Bomber” intended to come out of this fight victorious. He came prepared to take out Fury, armed with a strategy and the ironclad mindset necessary to become a champion once more.
Wilder’s will to win is ultimately what made the fight so great. Starting near the end of the first round, Fury’s right hand didn’t miss that often. He was crashing forward, throwing his full weight behind the shot, happy to land in the clinch, and the right just kept landing. Often, it was a clubbing shot, landing to the temple or side of the head.
Those shots were softballs. Each one took a little bit of stability from Wilder’s knees, and by all rights, he probably should have crumbled somewhere several rounds earlier. Instead, he rallied from a third-round knockdown to put Fury on the canvas twice just a few minutes later.
That was not Wilder’s last hurrah either. From about the sixth round to the finish, Wilder was taking a beat, standing on wobbly legs and getting shoved into the ropes. He was stunned and exhausted, yet he still found moments to unleash monstrous right hands.
The best example of Wilder’s grit came in the 10th round. The former champion was drained and had already been dropped, but he still finished the round firing an extended combination, landing big shots that clearly hurt Fury a bit. The fight didn’t last too much longer into the 11th, but Wilder remained dangerous and determined to the end.
Boxing doesn’t get much better.
• Culled from www.mmamania.com