(Boxing247 Resident Fight Scribe Vivek “Vito” Wallace sheds light on a few key points in the aftermath of Fury v Wilder II):
Rd1 – (Last Man Standing?): There’s a case to be made that after this past weekends dominating victory, we can crown Tyson Fury as the best of the Heavyweight division’s “Big 3”. This isn’t to say Joshua or Wilder couldn’t land something nasty and get the nod over him. But it is to say that all things being equal, no one in the division has a definitive answer for Tyson Fury. One major reason for this is that he’s the only one of the “Big 3” that truly trust his chin. Add his physical dimensions, some great corner work, and a higher than average ring IQ to the mix, and you have a talent that the others just don’t quite match up well with. This simple truth gives him the best odds of being the last man standing….but of course only time will tell.
Rd 2 – (Was Breland Correct for Throwing in the Towel?): There’s an argument to be made both ways relative to Breland’s decision to throw in the towel. Fans were quick to say the towel came in on time, but in Wilder’s defense, we’ve seen fighters take far more severe beatings that did not result in fatalities than those that have. By the current sentiment, we would have never witnessed fights like Corales/Castillo or Barrera/Morales. I can remember seeing a badly faded Holyfield eat about 15 consecutive punches against Qawi, only to storm back and battle it out. Situations like this where you have a Champion with a one-hitter-quitter in his arsenal, undefeated, in a fight of this magnitude, you have to let him finish that round.
If you look at the fight film, he did show some life. For example: He was at the center of the ring before the start of nearly every round, eager to compete. He never walked to the wrong corner or did those things we’ve seen battered fighters do. In Breland’s defense, Wilder’s legs did appear shot, but even then, he was still fighting back. In a bout of this magnitude, it’s best to apply the “3-1-3” rule. In other words, you want to see at least one punch returned for every 3 or so shots that land. He delivered that! As further proof, he took more punches in the first fight after 11 rounds, yet still had enough heat to get a knockdown in the 12th. So you have to give the guy til the end of the round and see what he can do. Just my thoughts…
Rd3 – (Should Breland Keep His Job?): The Breland firing was appropriate but not for the reason you may think. From the beginning of Wilder’s career he has only had one weapon (power). Many say “Breland is the only one in the corner who has pro experience”. At what point did his “experience” kick in to help Wilder grow beyond that? At no point did his “experience” make Wilder better suited, strategically, for a fight of this magnitude. His between-round advice was VERY passive and for lack of better terms, pretty basic. Fury felt his last trainer (Ben Davison) lacked fire. So what did Fury do? He brought in someone to sharpen his killer instinct and reshape his tactics. It made all the difference in the world!
Due to limited effectiveness as a trainer, one could argue that Wilder was correct in letting Breland go. Need more? Consider this: Outside of his two 1st round stoppages (Stiverne and Brazeale), if you remove the knockdowns, Wilder was either tied or losing five of his past seven fights at time of stoppage. He was tied with Washington on all but one card (when he got the stoppage). He was losing to Ortiz in the second fight, would have been losing without the knockdowns in the first fight. He was losing to Fury in the first fight (needed the knockdowns for a draw); and he was losing to Fury in the second fight. That’s more than enough reason to replace a trainer, and in all fairness, Breland shouldn’t be the only one ousted.
Rd4 – (Is Wilder Finished?): Wilder is not “done”. Fans spouting off about how he’s one-dimensional, and doesn’t have a future were saying the same thing about Anthony Joshua. Fast forward a few months and he’s not only Champ again, but winning with a totally new and improved style. Granted, Joshua has a few more tricks up his sleeve in comparison to Wilder, which made his transition a little easier. While Wilder doesn’t have those weapons, he does have more innate toughness. When you get beyond Fury, few others in the division have the physical size to disrupt Wilder and that extended reach of his. And we know what happens when he’s able to touch you! Bottomline….win, lose, or draw after Fury 3, he’ll be fine!
Rd5 – (Costume Excuse Valid?): The costume may have been 40lbs….who knows? Either way, it’s not something you want to say when things don’t quite go your way! The fact that Wilder mentioned this and his leg “condition” right after saying he wouldn’t make any excuses only added further pain to the blood stains! Confidence in himself created a level of denial that’s beyond pathetic that night. That being said, this same confidence is why you have to believe he’ll come back strong and hard, ready to right the wrongs to keep his career moving on!
Rd6 – (What/Who Next?): Rumor has it that Deontay Wilder will push for the rematch clause and force a trilogy. An unspoken truth about their contract is the fact that Tyson Fury has to actually accept that option as well, which some sources are saying may not be his intentions. This is where the confusions enters the equation, as it was not previously noted (publicly) that the rematch clause had to be mutually agreed upon.
With Wilder considering a new trainer, perhaps it’s in his best interest to take some step aside money like Pulev with Arum/Fury, allowing Joshua and Fury to hash things out in the UK as he acclimates to his new trainer in a tune-up fight. As logical as that sounds, don’t bank on it happening! If he does concede and Pulev agrees to step aside as well, the UK could be in for one helluva treat! The two sides have 30 days to figure it out and the clock is running. Stay tuned!
(Vivek “Vito” Wallace can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 954.770.9807. He can also be seen here on Boxing247, Facebook, and Twitter – @vitostake)