So I recently watched this kinda hilarious back and forth video on the 2nd Deontay Wilder/Tyson Fury fight. It goes off the hinges in the last 15 minutes, with the guy outside the ring, who had good points up to then, trying to write off everything to Fury’s height, which is incorrect.
It’s a bit long, so you may want to read this post first than view the video.
So I thought I would chime in, on my (hopefully) very quick thoughts, as just a fan of the sport, on the fight.
First, those of you not giving respect to Deontay Wilder, let me quickly ask you this.
- How many times have you fought Tyson Fury?
- How many times have you knocked down Tyson Fury?
- How many times have you been in there fighting him round after round?
- And beyond the fight, the really crushing thing is often all the draining bs circus that revolves around it, how many times have you and your family had to suffer the tirades of people who have never stepped foot in a boxing ring a day in their life?
If the answer to any of those questions is 0, then you lack the background to disrespect or to berate, and so you should learn.
If supremacy in Boxing is defined by how many men can get in a boxing ring with Tyson Fury, and throw hands with him for multiple rounds, that’s a very short list, and top of that list is Deontay Wilder.
So keep your hate and disrespect in perspective. And say nothing through the keyboard or twitter or facebook or chat, whatever, that you would not say to that person’s face in private.
Ok— onto my thoughts on the fight —
I think the fight illustrates a few different issues with the Heavy Weight division. One that I have stressed for sometime.
From 200lbs to say 235lbs, to be generous, you are a heavy weight. That is the HT, completely arbitrary Heavy Weight range, but I’ll let you know why and where that comes from as we go on.
Beyond 235 you are a super heavy weight. There is a reason fighters our penalized money and fights are called off, if you go over weight. Every pound, in a sport that is all about pounds, is seen as an advantage.
I am one of those who thought the first Wilder/Fury was a draw.
I think in this 2nd fight, they both came in with game plans, and Fury’s was the better, if not exactly legal, game-plan.
I think Tyson stacked the deck with a lot of advantages going into that fight, and part of that is on Wilder’s team for letting the date, and the venue, and so many other things– be to the advantage of Fury’s camp. On top of that, by my measure of the weight range– my definition of what makes a heavy weight, Wilder is a natural heavy weight. He can come in at 215 or 220, and be a wrecking house at that weight.
Wilder’s gameplan was he came into this fight at the heaviest he has ever been, to try and deal with the weight advantage of Tyson Fury, who at nearly 280 is a natural super heavyweight.
It is the gameplan that a lot of real heavyweights have had to do, to try be competitive against these Super-heavyweights; and unfortunately it generally does not work. You blow yourself up, to a weight you are slower at, less resilient with your cardio, all in the hopes having enough mass to stay in the fight. But what generally happens in that scenario, is talent being equal, the one more comfortable at that weight… wins.
Without doubt Fury used every dirty trick in the book, and a few not invented yet, in that fight; from illegal rabbit punches, to finding creative ways to extend his reach and nullify the padding on his glove. And without doubt he is an extremely talented boxer, but the deciding factor was the weight. All of this and Fury knows how to drape all of that 280lbs on you, so you are spent –just trying to stand up, much less evade punches and try to deliver your own. That 40lb difference, on top of everything else– on top of the fact that Wilder is not used to carrying his own beefed up weight, just decided the fight.
But Wilder has nothing to hang his head about. In a world of nearly 8 billion people, I don’t see too many others who were there that night, in a hostile venue, standing in front of a 280lb skilled Super-Heavy weight. And still after the fight, there are not too many legitimate fights for talented Super heavyweights, which is doing a disservice to the heavy weight division.
There are a lot of fighters in the heavy weight division that can be the next Jack Johnson, or Marciano or Ali. But we won’t see them as long as we let Super Heavyweights fight in the heavyweight division. We are stagnating a whole generation of potential great heavyweights.
Limit Heavy Weight to 235. If you are over that weight, you fight in the super heavy weight division. That is the only sane option to make the heavyweight division the exciting, competitive, packed dream division that it once was. You negate Fury’s weight advantage (which he has had in both fights) and you are talking two very different fights.
That fight, between Wilder and Fury played out with both men at no more than 235lbs, I think while Fury is the slicker Boxer, Wilder pound for pound is the stronger man, and at the 235 limit, against another 235er, I think Wilder puts Fury on his butt. Puts anyone on their butt.
I will also say, again just as a fan, I do not think Wilder’s corner did him any favors. I think Fury looked at their first fight and (beyond any of the questionable, potentially illegal hijinks done) adapted.
Whereas Wilder’s camp beyond putting on additional weight, I don’t really think they adapted a fight plan for Fury. Just based on their first fight, and watching previous Fury fights, I think the plan sensibly would have been… “what to do to negate Fury’s movement and reach and angles”.
And the answer that comes to me as just a fan (with no boxing or coaching experience, so I think it would be 10 times as clear to someone who is a boxer or trainer) is you put the fight on Fury’s chest. Realizing that if you headhunt a 6’9 lightning slick Fury, hoping to land a ‘hail mary’ punch, you are not going to win.
Rather you put the war on his body, attack the arms, attack the ribs, attack the gut, slow him down, get the arms to drop. A war of attrition to negate that motion, to control the pace and the ring, and get into the later rounds. I think that is the gameplan that gets you into the championship rounds.
Seemingly they did not come with that gameplan, or it was jettisoned in the ring. And instead we got the fight we got.
But regardless of my take, both men deserve and have earned respect.
The world is full of a few types of people. In sports, one of the best are those who aspire, and risk winning and losing.
WIlder and Fury are an example, both of them, of that best. Of those who aspire, and risk losing, in order to win. It is courage, anyway you stack it.
Then there are those, fans who , not as gifted, celebrate those who excel at a thing. Now your being a fan, may buy you an opinion to like or dislike a thing. but at no point, should you lose sight of the respect you need to hold, for someone who is better than you at something.
Whether a soldier or a cook or a boxer— at the thing they are better than you at, you respect the man or woman, who does their job well. To fail to do that, is just envy, and it is not a good look… it defines you— not them.
Would I like To see a Wilder Fury III? If Wilder comes with a real game plan, ok, sure. But I’m tired of there only being 3 or 4 viable super-heavyweights, and therefore a shallow pool of options. So what I really want to see, is a Heavy Weight Division, for the good of the sport, institute a 235lb limit.
Till they do that, the Heavy Weight division will be a suppressed division.
Here endeth the Lesson.
WHY DO WEIGHT CLASSES MATTER?
And lest you think I am making too much, of a 5 or 10 or 40 lb advantage, here is a brief breakdown of weight divisions for those of you who do not know…
The reason we have weight divisions, is to make fights competitive.
Let me repeat that, the reason we have weight divisions, is to make fights competitive.
There is a reason that at every ten pounds you are generally in a new division. Being the best at a specific weight class is an art. To fight at that weight, against others who have trained to fight at that weight, and to be the best at it, is an art.
If you are a champion at the light weight division and knocking out people at 135lbs, it is a whole different level of power when you go ten pounds up to 147lb Welterweight division, and then go up ten more pounds to the 160lb Middleweight division ( historically where the most exciting fights have happened, often the perfect combination of speed, power, finesse, and just entertaining wars). These fights are competitive, and the division is competitive because you have a lot of great fighters at that weight, with similar reach, etc, to make for competitive fights.
And that competitiveness continues as you go up in ten pound increments to the 175lb Light Heavyweight Division and 200lb Cruiserweight division.
Today that competitiveness stops when you hit the heavy weight division.
And the reason for that is that lack of a strict weight range that makes for disciplined, competitive fights and fighters. And while the heavy weight division managed fine for most of the 20th century without doing weight limits, the reason was that even though you may have the anomaly of the extremely tall or extremely heavy fighter, they were not really competitive against the standard, a 6ft/6ft 2″ 200lb to 220lb world class boxer.
George Foreman in the 1970s was arguably the World’s first TRUE super heavy weight. He was big and he was strong he was fast, and he was a brilliant boxer, he was the unbeatable man, and dwarfed the heavyweights of the day. When you see Ivan Drago in Rocky IV, that was George Foreman in the 1970s. He was a frightening force of nature. One reason Ali is remembered as the greatest is he fought all these unbeatable men, and found a way to beat them. But the young, mean, “I will Break You” George Foreman was a glimpse of what was to come.
After very competitive years in the heavyweight division with Ali, Holmes, Tyson, Holyfield, Bowe, and the return of an older, nicer George Foreman, the curtain began to descend on the division with the rise of the Super Heavyweights on the Heavyweight stage. These 6’6″+ and 250lb+ behemoths, the age of Lennox Lewis, Wladimir Klitschko, Tyson Fury (while all great fighters) led to an extended period of stagnation and disinterest in the heavyweight division. Largely because you only had 2 or 3 competitive super-heavy weights at any one time, so you had a lot of legitimate heavy-weights, blowing themselves out, putting on weight to try and be competitive against someone who naturally outweighs them by 50lbs, or has a massive height/reach advantage.
Only recently, having 3 such exciting and flamboyant fighters in the division at the same time, Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, and Tyson Fury; has the heavyweight division become prominent again. And really it was largely the rise of Deontay Wilder, as a flamboyant, and exciting prospect in the mix (and someone who legitimately, in my opinion, is a heavy weight, rather than a super heavyweight), that really galvanized the division.
Okay history lesson over, that’s a little bit of why tightly defined weight ranges matter, and why the Heavy Weight division needs that instituted.
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