Max Kellerman of ESPN believes that it would be a good idea for the team of former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder to put him right back in with Tyson Fury in an immediate rematch later this year without rebuilding him first. The question that Kellerman asks is whether Wilder’s team believes in his future enough to rebuild him by not putting him back in with Fury right away?
Kellerman thinks that it’ll be a ‘cash out’ if the 34-year-old Wilder is put in with Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) in his next instead of being brought back slowly with tune-up level fights. Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) was wiped out by Fury in a 7th round knockout loss last Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
The wasn’t remotely close. From the moment that Fury hit Wilder to the back of the head with a right hand in round 3, the fight was a mismatch. Wilder never regained his balance after being dropped from a rabbit punch from Fury in the third. Fury was unloading with a lot of shots to the back of Wilder’s head during the fight.
Fury went out battered the hapless Wilder from the very start of the fight. He dropped Wilder once in the 3rd and another time in the 5th. Fury also knocked Wilder down in the 4th but didn’t get credit for it.
Kellerman: Should Wilder fight Fury in a cash-out?
“I think they’re going to need to take Deontay, and get a win or two and build back up the confidence, and the confidence the public has that he really can destroy anything he touches before these guys get back into the ring together. Guys, it’s now been two fights with 19 rounds,” said Kellerman to ESPN. “How many rounds has Deontay won? The two where he knocked him down? That’s it.
“Maybe only 2. Deontay has special stuff about him, not just the power, but a certain belief in himself. So the question, Do you want to cash out in a quick third fight with Tyson Fury, which could wreck him, or do you believe in his future to build him back the right way? I would opt for the latter. I would NOT put him right back in with Fury.
“He’s been out the game before, and then he came back. If you believe the simple things in life, start with a jab. He’s got a good one. Use it. I think Deontay has special characteristics as a human being,” said Kellerman.
Judging by what was said by Wilder’s team at the post-fight news conference, it looks like a slam dunk that he’s going to be thrown back in with Fury in November in a trilogy fight. Wilder has the contractual ability to force the rematch, and that’s what it looks like he’ll be doing. The purse split for the trilogy fight will be 60-40 in Fury’s favor.
The pay-per-view buys will likely be far lower than last Saturday’s Wilder-Fury 2 rematch, because the fans will not be excited at watching mismatch. Without a doubt, Fury will be a HUGE favorite, and those types of fights rarely do well. It would be smart for the promoters to delay the third fight by putting it off for a year or so before making the fight.
Wilder had to wait 14 months before he got his rematch with Fury after fighting him to a 12 round draw in December 2018. By Fury’s team delaying the rematch with Wilder, the fight likely made a lot more money than if the two had faced each other right away in early 2019.
If money is what Fury and Wilder’s team wants most of all, then it would be smart for them to come together and agree to wait another year before making the third fight. In the meantime, Wilder can take two or three tune-ups, and show the boxing world that he’s come back from the loss, and has improved. If Team Fury sees the wisdom of delaying the third fight with Wilder, then they’ll go ahead and do it.
Can Wilder come back from his loss to Fury?
“Now we find out how special because particularly when he’s a devastating puncher, who everyone is scared of and has never lost, gets whipped like that, then you find out if he can emotionally recover,” said Kellerman. “George Foreman never really recovered from Ali. When he lost to Jimmy Young, then 10 years later he came back, as a new character.
“Foreman was special. It was not over for him. It just took him 20 years to get back the title. He perceived, but even someone as special as George Foreman, it took him 20 years to really recover from that. Deontay, even if he does have that special stuff, and I believe he does, this is not something you get back in one fight.
“The thing about Deontay is the right hand is so absurd. People are going to go, ‘Oh, he just lost.’ Do you know that Earnie Shavers lost a bunch of fights, and Deontay is like Earnie Shavers with more confidence? We’ll see if he has that confidence here.
“He’s now been totally outboxed in the first fight and mauled in the second fight. It’s not like Fury presents one style that Wilder needs an answer for. Actually, Fury presents multiple styles that he doesn’t seem to have a winning answer for. Here the best boxer, the smartest boxer, the most talented, the most versatile guy, is also 6’9” said Kellerman.
Wilder can come back from the loss if he’s matched carefully against the right type of opposition. Maybe a fight with Adam Kownacki, Chris Arreola or Andy Ruiz Jr. would be good.
Kellerman expects Wilder to have excuses for loss to Fury
“When you lose, you can always find an excuse,” said Max Kellerman to ESPN. “Tim Bradley had a bad leg when he fought Manny Pacquiao, and he figured it out, and he was just in with a better man tonight. Tyson Fury is a natural fighter, and he’s also a very experienced fighter.
“He’s dynamic and fluid in a way that Wladimir Klitschko and those Eastern Europeans haven’t been,” Kellerman said on Fury. “Deontay Wilder might not have the level of experience to really cope with that. I think when he goes back, Deontay will say, ‘He hit me on the back of the head.’ I’m talking about Deontay’s point of view. ‘That messed up my equilibrium. They threw in the towel. I was ready to go out on my shield. I did not have a full chance to win. I didn’t quit. My corner quit for me.’
“Those are things that he’ll be able to use, but again, his right hand, we’ll be on pins and needles whenever he walks inside the ring. He’ll be a big underdog when they fight for the third time,” said Kellerman.
We’re already hearing that Wilder had equilibrium problems due to his cut left ear, and there’s talk that he injured a leg. Those were good excuses.
Fury’s rabbit punching
The one thing that’s not being talked about is the punches to the back of the head that Fury threw – and got away with – during the fight. The knockdown Fury scored in round 3 was clearly from a punch to the back of the head.
In rounds 3, 4, 5 and 6, Fury repeatedly hit Wilder with punches to the back of the head. In other words, rabbit punches. Those are illegal punches, and the referee is supposed to warn, penalize and disqualify fighters that use those shots to gain an advantage over their opposition Fury’s best punches of the fight were rabbit shots, and he got away with it.
If there’s going to be a third fight, Wilder will need to make sure that the referee is enforcing the rules about rabbit punching. If not, then Wilder won’t have much of a chance. Of course, Wilder could get in the mud with Fury and throw rabbit punches as well, and turn the fight into an ugly foul-fest. It’ll look bad if both fighters – instead of just one – are braining each other with rabbit shots. What’s the next step? Repeated low blows, head-butts, and elbows?