Mark your calendars February 22nd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena two Champions will face off.
Deontay Wilder the WBC Champion who brought the belt back to the United states nine years ago has become quite the ambassador for the Heavyweight division. Winning in exciting fashion, seemingly losing fights to only execute a hellacious punch to end the fight in his favor. In 43 fights he has 41 Knockouts, 1 decision, and 1 draw, those are video game numbers. He has been compared to fighters like Tyson, Frazier, and Foreman who reigned over the Heavyweight division with fear and power. Why isn’t he on the same level of fame as them? Well we will get into that answer a little later on.
That lone draw Deontay was apart of was against his opponent on February 22nd. The story of Tyson Fury is bit different. First and foremost let’s just start with his name. Tyson immediately the name has you thinking of one of the greatest fighters and heavyweights of all time. A man who simply was boxing in the eighties and nineties. And to follow that up with Fury is almost unfair which by definition means, wild or violent anger. He has a name that says fighting was his birthright, and in many respects it has been. “The Gypsy King” has spoken about what mistreatment and bullying was like growing up, and how it continued affects can be felt today on his career. After becoming the undisputed champion (IBF ) in 2010 following his defeat of Wladimir Klitschko. He went into a terrible downward spiral losing everything to partying and drugs, eventually being stripped of his titles. The first time these two men met it was the fight that reenergized him, Deontay Wilder made Tyson Fury want to be great. Now can it be the fight that completes his legacy?
Both fighters have had their share of controversial comments. Both fighters have had viral moments Wilder, “To This Day!” when discussing the atrocities that have been subjacated on African Americans for hundreds of years. Or Fury, in any number of Batman memes that circulate the internet. So how are two undefeated fighters, two undefeated champions still fighting for recognition? In all fairness this fight should be the fight to end all fights, it should be the fight of the century taking place in a massive stadium with unprecedented news coverage. Consider the last spectacle fight that remotely had this type of feel with undefeated fighters and Champions dueling was Mayweather vs. Alvarez. That fight however was box office, by that point Floyd had become bigger than boxing he was “Money”. Canelo was the young upstart who to that point in his very young career already had over 43 sanctioned bouts, but had the entire Latin fight world behind him… not to mention anyone rooting against Mayweather. However that fight wasn’t the fight to “Save” boxing.
The reason Wilder has struggled in my opinion to gain traction outside of normal boxing circles is an easy one. Deontay in many ways has been seen as a fighter with documented knockout power. Some of the greatest power the sport has ever seen (he floored Fury in the last encounter). But for all that power he is much like his namesake “Wild”. So that’s been the knock on him over the year’s “he’s champion, but he wouldn’t be able to survive in a different era.”
With Fury it gets back to appearance. And he has discussed this many times in the past stating “he’s too ugly” or “too fat” to be a marketable or marquee name. I think in that respect you’ll have people on both sides of the argument and neither would be 100% right or wrong.
For everyone who thinks boxing is in such need of a savior understand one thing. Boxing will always be a global sport fought by men and women who have mastered the sweet science to the point they can out think, out point, or out brawl the opponent in front of them. Wilder v. Fury II should be another great fight that fight fans will get excited for because it’s two great fighters squaring off at a time where that isn’t always guaranteed. I hope this fight shines a positive light on the sport and I think the winner will be able to continue to push the division forward over the coming years.