BACK TO K-9 KIM’S CORNER

By Steve Kim Updated on October 11, 2021

Thrillogy Completed

What took place this past weekend at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, where Tyson Fury defended his WBC heavyweight title by getting off the canvas twice -- and scoring three knockdowns of his own -- to stop the game Deontay Wilder in the 11th round, encapsulated this often heated and colorful rivalry.

Wilder was forever flawed but perpetually lethal with the power he possesses.

While Fury was simply the more complete and relaxed fighter.

To his credit, Wilder after a relative late start in boxing, learned to fight, and has crafted a lucrative career for himself. However, Fury is a natural fighter, who's natural instincts allow him to overcome his often undisciplined ways.

One was made into boxer, the other a natural one. As Fury like to say, ''He's a fighting man, from a fighting people.''

Fury emphatically stamped himself the winner once again on Saturday night by steadily breaking down 'the Bronze Bomber' after hitting the deck two times in the fourth round after he had seemingly taken complete control of the bout by flooring Wilder the previous round. At that stage it looked it would be an early -- and easy night -- for 'the Gypsy King'.

However, Wilder showed that his right hand can detonate even when he's damaged, as he clipped Fury with short right in the next stanza when it looked like it was going to be a short night and a continuation of their rematch which was dominated by the big Brit. Fury hit the floor two times in this round and suddenly a fight had truly broken out.

Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Throughout the rest of this bout, Wilder would remain lethal with his right hand, which at times seems to have a mind of it's own and has the ability to turn fights around in a split second. But from around the sixth frame on, as Fury regained his bearings, he began to beat down and bludgeon Wilder with a series of hard jabs and looping right hands that often had Wilder's head jerking back violently. 

As the fight wore on, you could see the glazed look in his eyes, early on in this contest the highly chiseled Wilder looked wobbly and weary on his feet, as he dealt with the size and pressure of Fury. He was dangerous in spots, but it was Fury who kept chipping away consistently, and then began to lean on Wilder inside and land the occasional left hook downstairs.

Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

There is no questioning the heart of Wilder, who wore the look of a wounded animal in the late stages. After their second meeting in February of 2020, Wilder complained bitterly about his former co-trainer, Mark Breland throwing in the towel in the seventh round while he was getting assaulted by Fury. You wondered if Malik Scott, who took over in his corner, was given specific instructions to not stop the fight under any circumstances.

In the 10th round, a short right hand sent Wilder down again, and for all the world it looked like the end. But to his credit, Wilder staged one last rally that had Fury stunned at least for a moment, and at halted his forward momentum at the end of that memorable inning. 

Say whatever you will about Wilder, he went out swinging, and as he asked, out on his shield.

Which is precisely what took place as Fury began the 11th by smothering the wilting Wilder, and taking away his space(and any chance to unfurl his long-armed arsenal) and finally a overhand right struck him as he was pressed along the ropes. Wilder would fall almost lifelessly to the canvas. A slab of humanity, who had given all he could, but had nothing else left to give. 

Simply put, the fight was beaten out of him.

Photo Credit: Sean Michael Ham/TGB Promotions

There were no decisions for Scott to make, as the fight was immediately waved off by referee Russell Mora at 1:10 of the round. 

It was an incredibly courageous effort by Wilder, one that should be lauded. But he succumbed to the better man on this night. There wouldn't be any of the traditional post-fight niceties, as Wilder refused to shake Fury's hands afterwards. It's clear that there are still some very hard and bitter feelings between the two. But their names will be linked forever in boxing lore.

“It was a great fight tonight, as good as any trilogy in history,” said Fury. “October 9, 2021, will go down in history, I hope. I always said I was the best in the world and he was the second-best. Don’t ever doubt me.  When the chips are down, I will always deliver.”

 

FIGHT OF THE YEAR?

In the immediate aftermath of this contest, many were labeling this not just the 'fight of the year' for 2021, but the greatest heavyweight bout of all-time.

Pump the brakes like Fred Flintstones, guys.

Fury-Wilder III was a highly entertaining and memorable battle -- it was also largely one-sided the last several rounds down the stretch. While you got the sense that Wilder could always pull the fight off with one huge 'Hail Mary' right hand, for much of this bout it felt like it was destined for Fury to win.

 

Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

When I think of all-time great heavyweight fights, like 'the Thrilla in Manila' (Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier III), Larry Holmes-Ken Norton or Evander Holyfield-Riddick Bowe I, what comes to mind is how competitive these classic bouts were, and just how many back-and-forth exchanges took place in them. 

I think some people are being a bit prisoner of the moment here.

As for the scope of this rivalry, in 30 round between the two, it's Fury who has won at least 21 of those rounds, and scored five knockdowns. While Wilder has four knockdowns to his credit. A strong argument could be made that it is Fury who won all three off these battles (the consensus is that Fury should've had his hands raised in victory in their first match-up in 2018 which was ruled a draw).

Regardless, in an age when it's become very difficult to get elite fighters in the ring with one another, it's refreshing that an actual rivalry, that the general public actually cared about, was able to come to fruition.

 

FINAL FLURRIES

Juan Francisco Estrada-Roman Gonzalez II is still my 2021 'fight of the year'....So with WBO belt-holder, Oleksandr Usyk, set to rematch, Anthony Joshua, it will be interesting to see who Fury (who holds the three other major belts) faces next. I get the sense he really doesn't care about any mandates from the sanctioning bodies...Is this the end of the road for Julian Williams?.... Liam Smith showed he still has something left as he stopped Anthony Fowler in eight....So Bama wasn't so unbeatable after all, but Georgia sure looks like it. But there's still plenty of football to be played... Justin Herbert has to be considered an elite NFL quarterback by now....Dak Prescott is showing he's worth every penny of his big contract in Dallas.... I can be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com....

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Author
Thrillogy Completed
  • Hosted 'the Main Event' on KIEV 870, and then later XTRA AM1150 ( a three hour show devoted to boxing) from 1996 to 1999.
  • Joined one of the first boxing websites, 'House of Boxing' in 1999, and then later became one of the founders of Maxboxing, that started in 2001, till his departure in 2014.
  • From 2014 to 2018, he was the lead columnist for UCNlive.com.
  • Was a boxing reporter for ESPN.com from 2018 to 2020.
  • He has written for Ring Magazine, International Boxing Digest and Boxing News.
  • Is the co-host of 'the 3 Knockdown Rule' with Mario Lopez, which has become of the most popular boxing podcasts the past several years.
  • Steve has also served as an announcer and analyst for RingTV, Thompson Boxing, 360 Promotions and CBS Sports Network.