Fight fans first felt a worrying sensation when it was announced how Tyson Fury had signed that big, multi-fight deal with Top Rank/ESPN – would the immediate rematch between Fury and Deontay Wilder, who fights (or fought) on Showtime, still happen? We now know that the fight won’t happen; at least not next. And now fans are even more worried: will the rematch of the drawn battle of December 1st 2018 ever happen?
On paper, yes, it still will; around September time, this after both men have boxed an interim fight – Fury and Wilder are both to announce their next opponent soon. But will that return actually go ahead? There are a few reasons to worry that it won’t. What if either man, or both, lost his next fight? What if Wilder doesn’t agree to come to ESPN, for even one fight? What if, as Eddie Hearn says Wilder should absolutely be doing right now, and that’s trying to make a fight with Anthony Joshua; what if (as unlikely as it might seem) a Wilder/AJ clash got signed?
Throughout heavyweight history, there have been a few “must-see” heavyweight rematches that we never actually saw, but in terms of modern times it could be argued that no world heavyweight title fight has cried for, screamed for, a sequel more loudly that Wilder against Fury. The sport will rumble on quite happily if the return fight does not happen, but we fans will sure lose out on getting some answers: Would Wilder’s bombs get Fury out of there in a part-two? Would an even sharper Fury outbox Wilder and win a clear decision this time?
Hopefully we WILL get our answers, and a second great fight, but it is entirely possible we will not. Where would the failure to see Wilder-Fury II rank amongst the biggest heavyweight disappointments?
Lennox Lewis and Vitali Klitschko should have fought again, their 2003 war being both thrilling and controversial. Fans wanted to see what would have happened had the horrific cuts on challenger Klitschko’s face not stopped the action. Sadly, due to Lewis being smart and realising Father Time was well and truly against him, we never found out.
James Douglas and Mike Tyson should definitely have fought again. Was the monster upset “Buster” pulled off in 1990 a fluke, would Tyson have smashed him in swift fashion in a return fight, or would Douglas have solidified his greatness by again beating up “Iron Mike?” This rematch is also confined to the imagination.
Would Muhammad Ali’s magic have worked a second time against Big George Foreman, in a similar fashion to the way it did in that famous 1974 classic, or would a 33 or 34 year old Ali have been overcome by the younger, physically stronger man? Here too we never found out.
It will be a shame if Wilder-Fury II joins these fights (and maybe a couple of others you can think of) but fans won’t be shocked if this turns out to be the case.