“It’s a great honor to say this is gonna be my 10th title defense—considering many people never thought I would be a Champ at all. I’ve always fought for legacy. I want to be the best to ever do it. When people talk about boxing I want them to say Deontay wilder.” — @BronzeBomber pic.twitter.com/qDYs5v35ek
— PBC (@premierboxing) November 12, 2019
There is just one slight blemish on WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder’s otherwise flawless pro boxing record – that controversial 2018 draw with Tyson Fury.
The Briton simply wouldn’t stay down. Fury twice hit the deck in the Staples Center but, although he was knocked down by Wilder, he got up again and went on to take their bout in Los Angeles the distance.
Splitting the judges is not the same as losing. The outcome of this fantastic fight which was heavyweight boxing at its dramatic best wasn’t exactly satisfactory for either man.
It leaves an asterisk against both former lineal world heavyweight champ Fury and “The Bronze Bomber”. Other than “The Gypsy King” and Canada’s Bermane Stiverne who he took the WBC strap from back in 2015, Wilder has won every single one of his other 40 fights in the paid ranks by stoppage.
He has laid any ghosts of the unanimous decision victory over Stiverne that brought the belt he has retained ever since to rest in a rematch with the Haitian-born fighter. Wilder wailed on him with a first round knockout in their return bout of 2017.
Although he has to get through old rival Luis Ortiz of Cuba again first, the only way to secure his legacy is to also have a second fight with Fury. The curious thing about Wilder is he has clearly been willing to accept rematches with foes he has defeated.
There are also other opponents for The Bronze Bomber to face in the future he hasn’t crossed paths with yet. Fury’s fellow British boxer Anthony Joshua, who also has a world title fight rematch before 2019 is out on his hands, is an obvious example.
Wilder never tangled with the mighty Wladimir Klitschko, but another Ukrainian pro – former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk – is making waves at heavyweight now and has been talked up as a potential contender. Any of him, Joshua or Dillian Whyte heading stateside in 2020 would be a box office draw.
Yet it is Fury, the rival Wilder somehow just couldn’t quite vanquish, who continues to be most vocal about a rematch. That is pencilled in for February 22, but not confirmed.
Oddsmakers on both sides of the Atlantic have priced the return bout up in anticipation that it does goes ahead, however, and the Tyson Fury v Deontay Wilder fight odds don’t make good reading for The Bronze Bomber. That’s because Irish bookmakers Paddy Power have him as the underdog to win.
Fury is a slight favorite which, given he was twice on the canvas in the original fight, may make Wilder a value bet. In order to stop the Manchester native, the Alabama-born champ may have to do what nobody ever has up to this point and put his transatlantic rival down for the count.
Even for a man with 40 pro career knockouts, that may take some doing. Fury is a tremendous advert for the sport of boxing despite his well-documented problems away from the ring. The fact he returned and created moments with Wilder that will long live on in the memory suggests the pair are destined to clash again.