The Heavyweights Remain a Division in a State of Flux
By Teodoro Medina Reynoso
Mon, 11 Oct 2021
I may be in the minority here but far from determining the one true heavyweight champion of the world, events of the last few weeks only served to show a division in a continued state of flux or variability.
Yesterday, Briton Tyson "The Gypsy King" Fury of the UK repeated over ex-titlist American Deontay "The Bronze Bomber" Wilder by 11th round technical knockout at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada to retain his WBC and so called linear world heavyweight championship.
The 6-9 Fury who officially weighed in at 277 lbs showed that his 7th round stoppage of the 6-7 Wilder who came in at his heaviest at 240 lbs was no fluke as he took control of the fight from as early as the second round, even flooring Wilder in the third despite being staggered and downed twice in the fourth, fully utilizing his size advantage in smothering the lanky American both on offense and defense.
Only Wilder's indomitable fighting spirit and his so called eraser of a right kept him in the fight and the hopes of his corner and supporters. But it was evident that Fury had got him figured out from the last two rounds of their very first fight which he used in scoring the TKO in their second fight and which he continued in scoring another stoppage in this third fight.
The strategy was similar. Use his size to smother and weaken Wilder, tuck his chin or move forward to deflect and avoid Wilder's telegraphic looping left. Wilder's corner wised up to the move and ordered him to throw some uppercuts, a few landing but Wilder was so tired and fatigued for those to have their desired impact. And Deontay was an old dog who will always go back to the old trick he knows, that of throwing the right though how awkward or ineffectual it already was.
Most viewers were already fatalistic that it was only a matter of time that Deontay will cave in and many were hoping that Fury immediately deliver the coup de grace and were time and again frustrated that the hulking Briton seemed could not deliver the ending blow or blows.
Finally after a combination of fatigue and unrelenting pressure and some debilitating punishments mostly from Fury's sweeping hooks which other opponents perhaps could anticipate and better defend, Wilder went down again once each in the 10th and in the 11th rounds prompting the referee to mercifully stop the carnage.
After the contest, some pundits called it an instant classic while some were quick to confer to Fury the title as the one true heavyweight champion of the world.
Was the fight, an instant classic? And is Tyson Fury the one true heavyweight champion of the world?
There was an impression that it could be a better matched fight physically with Wilder coming in heavier than the second setto and packing more muscles especially in the arms and upper body (his Ichabod Crane legs remained suspect since the vastly smaller Evgeni Romanov first exposed it in the amateurs).
But that proved illusionary only after two rounds when Fury began to impose his size advantage and even knocked him down in the third. Despite scoring two hard knockdowns in the fourth, Wilder was soon back to defensive, survival mode reminiscent of his sputtering first fight finish and his woeful showing in the second fight. Any improvement in his strength and stamina seemed to evaporate amidst Fury's literal weighty pressures.
Instant epic it was not.
What Fury proved last night was that he was the better heavyweight of the class or category Lennox Lewis established in the beginning of the new millennium which the Klitschko brothers continued for most of the last two decades until he, Wilder and Anthony Joshua came along. The extra sized or Giant Heavyweights.
In fact, Fury inherited the lineal heavyweight title with his own victory over Wladimir Klitschko while Joshua earned some sheen with a similar win over Wladdy later.
The one true heavyweight champion of the world Fury is not. At least not yet.
For just a few weeks back, Ukraine's Oleksandr Usyk, a regular sized heavyweight who grew literally up from the cruiserweight like Evander Holyfield in the 1990s, himself staked that claim when he thoroughly outclassed a decidedly bigger Anthony Joshua winning in the process majority of the world belts at heavyweight.
In winning the heavyweight crown coming from the cruiserweight, Usyk also in effect put into serious question the need for a Bridgerweight as another division between the cruiserweight and the heavyweight.
In beating Joshua, the 6-3 220 lbs Usyk spoiled what was then bruited as the match to determine the one true world heavyweight champion between Joshua, had he win and the winner of this Fury-Wilder third fight.
Therefore, both Fury and Usyk has equal claim and that can only be settled in a fight between them.
For what the earlier Usyk win over Joshua and Fury's victory over Wilder and likewise the victories of the giant Robert Helenius over standard sized Adrian Konawki and standard sized Frank Sanchez over another giant Efe Ajagba in yesterday's undercards, essentially demonstrated is that the heavyweight remains a division is a state of flux or variability.
But that has been its case intermittently since the time of Jack Johnson-Jess willard-Jack Dempsey and Jack Sharkey-Primo Carnera-Max Baer.
The author Teodoro Medina Reynoso is a veteran boxing radio talk show host living in the Philippines. He can be reached at email@example.com and by phone 09215309477.
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