“What’s a tough guy?…A guy with an edge…A gun or a knife, a nightstick, or a razor, somethin’ the other guy ain’t got. Yeah, a little extra reach on a punch, a set of brass knuckles, a stripe on the sleeve, a badge that says cop on it, a rock in your hand, or a bankroll in your pocket. That’s an edge, brother. Without an edge, there ain’t no tough guy.”
— THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI (1948) One of my favorite Orson Welles films. And one of the most quotable.
That quote from one of my favorite films highlights my thoughts on the Fury/Wilder fight in the micro view, and my view on heavyweight Boxing in the macro view.
We have weight divisions for a reason. 5 and 10lb jumps that denote real and game changing differences in reach and power and durability.
We have weight divisions to make fights competitive. So ever since the rise of the super-heavy weights into the heavy weight division, it has skewed the heavy weight division, so that unless you are 6’8 and on the wrong side of 250lbs, it is no longer a competitive division. You only have a few individuals with the genetics and the talent, to throw with a super-heavy weight. So the heavy weight division stagnates by the influx of these few individuals with the edge, that the above quote talks about.
It is bad for boxing, and it it bad for competition. To my mind the heavy weight limit should be 235lbs. The weight class attainable by men such as Marciano, and Ali, and Frazier, and Joe Louis and Holyfield and Tyson. And also Deontay Wilder.
Over 235lbs you should not compete in the historic heavyweight division, should not be part of that hallowed lineage, but be in a distinct division, of Super-Heavy Weight.
Both of them coming into a boxing match at the same weight range/limit of 235lbs I would give the edge to Wilder over Fury– nine out of ten times.
And I think even Fury realizes this because, he seeks an edge on Wilder in every fight, he came in nearly 50lbs heavier than him in his last fight, played mental warfare with him, and even with all those advantages, would not fight him clean, instead did dirty boxing, and rabbit punches, and using his weight, to lean on and tire out Wilder’s arms. it was more wrestling than boxing in that second fight.
And we come to the third fight, and it is more of the same. Fury talking about wanting to come in at 300lbs, and have brass knuckles. And while he is saying this in his game voice, the truth is he seeks to not fight Wilder on anything close to a level playing field.
From insisting on venue, and a hostile audience, to stare down and press conference shenanigans, that craziness is Fury’s world, particularly when it is a bigoted Pro Fury crowd. And being on FOX network, and the spin they put on the 2nd fight, Wilder very much was under attack and on the defense long before he ever got in the ring.
And unfortunately it is more of the same going into this third fight. Still very much like the 2nd fight — Wilder is, before he ever gets in the ring, fighting his opponents fight. Fury insisted on a crowd, he wants the mental warfare and pro-fury, bigoted pressure it would put to bear on Wilder. Fury is dictating and winning the stare-downs, the press conferences’ etc. Fury to his credit is a natural showman, and a master of gab and mental warfare. He is one that like Mayweather and Mcgregor needs the gab, the talk, the insult, the mental warfare, to break you down before you ever get in the ring.
Wilder is not any of the above.
So Wilder’s representation did him no favors putting this third fight, largely on the same trajectory as their 2nd fight. With Wilder already on the defense and under attack before he ever gets in the ring. They should have not agreed to the crowd or the venue or the press conference or stare-down shenanigans, all of which has Wilder going into this fight looking already defeated before he enters the ring.
On top of all this mental warfare outside of the ring, in the ring Fury has shown a penchant for doing whatever is necessary in and out of the rules, to win. He did a lot of dirty boxing for their 2nd fight. He has been practicing MMA since their last fight, and plans to come in with even more of a weight advantage than he had last time. I do not put it past Fury to sneak in elbows and trips, as well as more clinches and hitting in this fight as well.
In a level playing field, with both of them having to come in at the same weight, doing straight boxing I see Wilder’s pure power getting the job done over Fury’s dirty boxing, 9 out of 10 times.
But you add in the weight disparity, the mental warfare, and boxing glove shenanigans, and some MMA tricks, and I see Wilder as simply being unprepared to answer the circus that Fury has in-store.
This is why controlling the battlefield is so important. Because battles are oft won and lost, by the person who has booby trapped the ground you are to fight on. And I see that being what Fury and Fox has done,
Wilder is playing Boxing, which is what the sport should be, However Fury and FOX are playing circus. And it is the one who has prepared for the landscape, who typically takes the day. If anything Fury is poised to get a quicker finish than last time.
I would love to be wrong and see Wilder win this third fight, because when not trying to balloon up to try to be close to Fury’s weight, I see him as a true heavy weight, and good for the sport of boxing, in a way that I do not think Fury is. The heavyweight division in boxing has stagnated under these few super heavyweights. Put in weight limits, reinstate a fair playing field, reinstate true competition.
Here endeth the overview and the lesson.