I have been slow to comment on this scenario given the fast pace of news on the subject. As quickly as it appeared that heavyweights Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua were all set to have their blockbuster unification fight, the fight was killed. Deontay Wilder saw his arbitration case succeed in gaining him the ability to get his third fight with Fury. In the wake of the decision Fury’s people decided to not pay a lofty step aside fee and have pushed off the fight with Joshua in order to take care of the Wilder rematch. I aspire to be right and wait for details as opposed to posting to be first. Rather than chase the story I have decided to wait and see and it looks like the big fight is dead for now. Because this topic has been so reported on throughout different boxing media platforms and pundits I have decided just to put my thoughts out there. This is a divisive topic among boxing fans as Wilder, Joshua and Fury all have passionate fans with different agendas and hope to see certain outcomes. Wilder fans say Fury cheated, tried to duck the trilogy and that Joshua is ducking him. Joshua fans think Wilder ducked him, was exposed as a fraud and that he will beat Fury. Fury fans think he is the greatest heavyweight of all time and will easily dominate Joshua like he did Wilder and that Wilder made false accusations and has been exposed.
Wilder vs Fury III
I really dislike this fight because we have seen this movie before and nothing of the second fight leads me to believe a third fight would play out any different. The second fight had a lot of interesting storylines going in because the initial encounter had lots to chew on. Fury boxed a great fight and executed his game plan after such a long lay off and in my view and the view of many others won handily. Fury was nearly knocked out in the final round with some going as far to say that referee Jack Reiss administered a long count. Though I have never posted about long counts on here before I tend to give them little credence. Being down for ten seconds and a ten count are two different things. Either way, Fury rose to his feet when he looked done and survived with bout two minutes to go and could have been given the round if there was no knockdown. All of this created buzz heading into their 2020 rematch and that fight was a one sided beat down. Fury won every round and backed up and broke down Wilder before trainer Mark Breland threw in the towel. Fury had completely adjusted his style for Wilder and took his best punch while himself hurt and stopped Wilder. Wilder has not fought since and nothing indicates he has improved or adapted for the third fight. If the judges got the first fight right this would not even be an issue.
Fury vs Joshua
This is possibly the largest fight that can be made in boxing and it stands in a class of its own alongside a Crawford-Spence type of fight. The stakes are huge as it is a chance to have the heavyweight division completely unified for the first time in the 4 belt era. Fury enters off of his Wilder performances and Joshua enters having avenged his loss to Ruiz and having big wins over Klitschko, Povetkin, and Parker. This is an interesting clash of styles and pedigrees and gives fans a chance to see a genuine rivalry. I favor Fury at this point, I think he is the best in the world right now but I do not think he is unbeatable. I think their styles will translate into a good fight and one that will likely end in a knockout. I think boxing needs to move in the direction of total unification and title consolidation and Fury vs Joshua is that fight.
Fury Cheating Allegations
I don’t give any weight to these charges of cheating from Wilder. I think the doctoring of gloves and wraps is extremely difficult to do because it is so heavily regulated and monitored. If Fury cheated it happened under the supervision of the commission and Wilder’s team. Wilder fought Fury already, he did not notice anything strange going on during the fight. He did not levy any accusations in the wake of the loss but he chose to do this much later. There are irregularities in some of the videos in select frames but what does it really prove? Fury took his gloves off and no tampering was discovered by the referee or commission or spotted by Wilder’s team that night. Luis Resto is the most infamous case of cheating by tampering with gloves and if you are not familiar with it I’ll link it here. Resto was caught in the ring when shaking hands with Billy Collins’ team and the matter was settled then and there. I don’t thin he cheated but I have a very high bar for the burden of proof.
I am not writing this opinion on the trilogy fight and the cheating to slam Wilder. I rooted for him in both Fury fights and would root for him against Joshua. Fury I am not so sure of given the cheating claims and his behavior in the aftermath. I was worried that Wilder was just trying to get step aside money or a vacated title but am glad to see he is actually trying to get the Fury fight. I am genuinely curious to see what Wilder can do with a new trainer but feel this is not the time to hold up the division from complete unification. Furthermore, I really do not like rematch clauses over multiple fights and for fights that were as one sided as Fury-Wilder II was. I was hoping to see the big unification fight with Wilder facing Whyte, Parker, Usyk, or Joyce in the meantime.