THE right hand was bad enough, but it was the follow-up left hook Deontay Wilder landed on Tyson Fury in the 12th round of their December bout that the WBC heavyweight champion believes turned an immediate rematch into a question mark.
“Fury didn’t want this rematch,” said Wilder, who left Los Angeles’ Staples Center with his title intact after a draw verdict was rendered. “He knows he got knocked out, he didn’t even know how he got on the ground or was on the ground. That’s scary. He don’t want to go through that again. And then he’s telling people he felt the effects after the fight and how hard it was and how dangerous a fighter I am. I was informed that he was concussed as well, so I know he don’t want this fight, his family don’t want him to take this fight either, and that’s okay.”
Wilder-Fury was the kind of fight the heavyweight division sorely needed. Not only was it a matchup of two of the three leading big men in the game, but then it delivered on fight night. No, it wasn’t Riddick Bowe-Evander Holyfield I, but Fury produced a brilliant tactical effort while Wilder lowered the boom twice, dropping the Brit in rounds nine and 12. The drama of the knockdown and Fury’s subsequent rise in the final round captivated the world beyond the boxing bubble, and when you add in the controversy of the scoring, the sequel was a natural.