Not only was the third and, most likely final fight between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder The Fight of the Year, the October war was also one of the most punishing, damaging fights of many a year. And Fury, who looked back on his trilogy with Wilder with The Mail, says both he and Wilder will “feel the effects of this in our later years.” Fury said he and Wilder will pay the ultimate price in that “this will take years off our lives.”
It’s a frightening thing. No fighter, as great, as brave, as tough as he is, knows how his health will be many years after he’s hung up the gloves. Many a legendary fighter has paid the price deep into retirement, when, many years removed from their last fight, things like failing memory, slurred speech and other, far worse things began to affect them in a major way. Fury is mindful of the damage any fighter can suffer, and he always has been. Numerous times throughout his career, Fury has spoken about retirement, yet on he goes, looking to further cement his legacy.
But although Fury never lost to Wilder, beating him twice and getting a draw in the first fight that most felt should really have been a Fury win, the 33 year old “Gypsy King” took some thudding shots to the head; in fights one and three especially. We fans marvelled over the way Fury “rose like a phoenix from the ashes” in that jaw-dropping 12th round back in December of 2018, and we were thrilled by the way Fury, cracked with a simply monstrous right hand in round-four of the third fight, was knocked down but again got back up (twice). And as for Wilder, he took an almost insane amount of punishment in the third fight/war.
Fury is mindful of the debt he will likely have to pay in his later years for doing what he did in the savage Wilder fights, and Wilder himself is sure to have thought, perhaps late at night, when the demons come, about how his brain was affected by the heavy, heavy punches he somehow soaked up before eventually being stopped twice. Let us fans never forget the risks all fighters take, never let us ever forget the damage they inflict on each other for our entertainment.
Plenty of fighters don’t like to talk about the possible consequences of taking punches for a living, but Fury’s latest interview shows he is a man who is open and honest. All fighters know the risks, yet too many push themselves too far and carry on fighting for far too long. Wilder has recently said he’s been thinking about calling it a day. After the sheer guts and raw courage he showed on October 9, and considering the price he may well have to pay in the future for having done so, Wilder is more than entitled to retire right now if he wants to.
So is Fury. It’s far too easy for fans to call for this fight and for that fight, and to complain if a fighter retires without having fought everyone to their liking. Fighters give their all, but they can only do so for so long.
Fury and Wilder really did give us something special back in October; one of the greatest heavyweight fights of all-time. Let’s hope both warriors CAN look back and remember it some 20, 30, even 40 or more years from now.