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Boxing: Wilder vs. Fury, Unfinished Hype

LAS VEGAS, Nv. (FNN SPORTS) – On Saturday night, the boxing world will once again take center stage, as one of, if not the biggest showdown in recent boxing history will try to rewrite the fortunes of a sport that has longed for life after the golden era.

WBC heavyweight champion of the world Deontay Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KOs) will face off once again against the former WBA, IBF, WBO, and lineal heavyweight champion of the world, Tyson Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs) in a rematch of a 2018 bout that produced one of the most memorable heavyweight fights in boxing history.

But to understand better what we all witnessed that night, you would have to go back in time, and revisit a powerful period in boxing history. A period in the sport where champions won and lost by fighting the best there was to fight in their respective weight classes. A time where boxing was about the battle of one’s will, and determination to prove to the world that there was only one king of the ring. A time where champions were recognized as the guy to beat, and the keeper of their class. A time when people like Ali, Frazier, Foreman, Holmes, Tyson, Holyfield, Bowe, and Lewis graced us with the last of the golden era in a sport that has been dying for a resurgence to once again become the king of sports combat.

Since the rise of self promotion in boxing, and branding in sports in general, fight fans have been left out to dry. Boxing became a watered down sport that not too long ago uplifted so many people by watching what seemed to be these hometown guys rise from obscurity and literally fighting their way to the top to live the American Dream. Hard work pays off and all your dreams can come true if you dedicate yourself to your craft and put in the work. Today it seems every month there is another mega fight, where two guys jockey to stay undefeated, and make it to the top by guarding, slipping, and fighting far inferior competition in hopes to set up a giant payday. Fight fans pay to see a glorified sparring session because these guys just want to promote and get paid. A lot of hustle and no bustle, if you will, or smoke and mirrors. How many times can you count on your hands and toes a pay per view fight that was worth the money you spent in the past 15 years?

Saturday night is different. Wilder is by far the most hard-hitting heavyweight boxer boxing has produced and showcased since the likes of Shavers and Tyson. With bad intentions in every punch this man throws, what he lacks as a technician he more than makes up for with punching power, keeping fans coming back to see him and his vicious attacks, as whoever Wilder faces must be at their best for a full 60 minutes. If you haven’t seen this man punch someone, please revisit his last fight against Luis Ortiz (31-2-2, 26 KOs). Wilder managed to lose 6 rounds straight only to demonstrate the exact nature of his game, brutally crushing Ortiz in the 7th to end the fight.

Let’s not forget about Tyson Fury. To be the champ you must beat the champ. Once upon a time, there was a unified heavyweight champion of the world that went by the name of Wladimir Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs). Maybe you’ve heard of him? He was the undisputed heavyweight champion for over 12 years, successfully defending his title 22 times, tying only Mohammad Ali (56-5, 37 KOs) for most successful title defense by a heavyweight in the history of the sport, and trailing only to Joe Luis (66-3, 52 KOs) who defended 25 times.

In a bizarre move, Fury vacated his titles before his 2016 rematch with Klitschko due to substance abuse issues instead of taking the rematch and the payday. Fury decided to get his life together and began to seek outside help to fix an inside problem–one that no recognition or fortune seemed to heal. And the man, who beat the man, all but vanished just as quickly as he arrived into the boxing world.

On December 1, 2018, Fury and Wilder squared off in a very interesting match. The new-age brown boomer faced the last lineal champion the sport had to offer. This offered an opportunity to take the torch from the last guy and claim the rightful ownership of the heavyweight division–a class that has lacked its king since 2016.

In a fight that saw both men hurt, tired, and bloody, boxing had produced a fight that truly came down to points. Fury’s precision and technical prowess gave Wilder more problems than he could handle, and Wilder’s power and relentless determination almost ended Fury’s night twice as both men put on a fight that was reminiscent of what we used to watch growing up. We witnessed two guys who were meant to be in the ring, in that moment, on that stage, fighting to prove who was the best so they could, without doubt, be called the number one heavyweight champion of the world.

We are two years removed from that fight, and these two have been on a collision course ever since that memorable night.

Saturday’s fight has been named Unfinished Business. Deontay Wilder will put his title up against Tyson Fury for a second time, hoping to recapture, rebottle, and resell the high dramatics of a high stakes fight that will have the entire world watching, hoping, and waiting to see if this sport can pick itself up off the mat and deliver a knockout performance like the all of the great fighters of the past.

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Antonio Campana is a Florida National News sports contributor. | sports@floridanationalnews.com

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