There is no doubt about it, we got a great action fight, a momentous slugfest, a truly sensational give-and-take war on Saturday night when (still) bitter heavyweight rivals Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder fought the final instalment of their at times controversial, at times shocking, at times thoroughly entertaining trilogy. The two giants traded knockdowns, they both had to dig deeper than ever, and Fury and Wilder gave us a fight that will be talked about for some considerable amount of time.
Was Fury-Wilder III an all-time classic? Promoters Bob Arum and Frank Warren, both having been around the sport for decades, instantly declared how they have never seen a greater heavyweight fight. This is quite the statement, especially when we consider how Arum was there at Ali-Frazier I, and when we consider how both Arum and Warren were watching Ali-Frazier III when it went down all those years ago. Does Fury-Wilder III deserve to be ranked alongside those two epic rumbles? Does Fury-Wilder III deserve to be placed in the Top-10 Greatest Heavyweight Fights of all-time?
Ali-Frazier III, “The Thrilla in Manila,” will never be topped as far as many people go, and only the third and final act in this, the bitterest, most savage heavyweight rivalry of them all, ranks above “The Fight of the Century.” And plenty of fans/experts/pundits rank all three Riddick Bowe-Evander Holyfield battles as the next best heavyweight action fights after the 1970s epics. So which fight deserves to be placed next on the list?
Can we ever forget the sizzling slugfest George Foreman and Ron Lyle put on, in a non-title affair in 1976? Not a chance. How about, when we go back further in time, the too-much-action-for-the-brain-to-keep-up-with, multi-knockdown thriller between Jack Dempsey and Luis Angel Firpo? And Larry Holmes-Ken Norton, and in more recent times, Anthony Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko? Indeed, it is tough coming up with a Top-10 Greatest Heavyweight Fights list that pleases everyone. Impossible more like it.
But the argument has already been made: the long, hard, at times thrilling, at times almost mind-boggling to watch, at times brutal battle Fury and Wilder dragged each other through whilst completing their rivalry is worthy of being ranked alongside any great one you care to mention. It really could be quite some time before we see a greater, more pulse-quickening heavyweight slugfest than the one that went down in Las Vegas on October 9, 2021.
The heavyweight division is thriving once again.