Deontay Wilder, once hailed as the most dangerous and destructive puncher in boxing. Of course, that was before February 22 of 2020. That’s when a whole new Tyson Fury came calling.
Their first meeting fourteen months prior had enthralled everyone. Fury, coming off the back of a three-year layoff, was getting himself back to full fitness.
Wilder, on the other hand, was wiping out everyone in his path. The initial contest went to type.
Fury dominated the rounds with his superior boxing. At the same time, Deontay Wilder looked for that one shot to end it all.
In the twelfth session, it happened. Wilder connected with one of the best thumps of his career, and Fury had no right to get up.
The shot would have ended 99.9 percent of heavyweights out there. But Tyson Fury is no ordinary heavyweight.
Ending in a draw, both men would have ample time to prepare for the second collision.
Not sensing the need to change what has never failed his entire career, and why would he? – Wilder went through his usual routine.
In stark contrast, Fury hired a whole new team around him and completely changed his tactics. It worked a treat.
Signing with Top Rank under the guise of Bob Arum was a masterstroke. Arum told Fury to delay the rematch, get in better shape, and make his name in the United States.
After two bouts with Arum, Fury then switched coaches at the last minute. Yet another game-changing move.
Under Sugarhill Steward, a man who shared the same vision as Fury’s father John about how to beat Wilder, domination ensued.
In irresistible form against an under-par and out-of-sorts Wilder, a beatdown happened in front of a stunned capacity crowd at the MGM Grand.
Three of those present were WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman, his wife, and Deontay Wilder’s fiancee Telli Swift.
Discussing the potential mental scars, not only that may be present in Wilder – but also the suffering Swift, there are wonders how the now former champion will deal with his defeat.
“We (my wife and I) spoke about the great boxing show on February 22, in Las Vegas. The night Tyson Fury dethroned Deontay Wilder, at MGM,” said Sulaiman in his latest column.
“My wife commented that it is the most incredible card she has ever attended. The astonishing outburst of English fans, their luxurious clothes, the beautiful women with their gala dresses, and the many children were running around the arena asking for autographs from the personalities.
“In addition to the music, the British chants and the spectacular entrance of both fighters.
“The fight was dramatic; It ended in something that had never happened before, as the new champion sang ‘American Pie.’ The whole stadium replicated the song with him.
“My wife has been close to Deontay Wilder’s wife. Telly Swift is an active ambassador of WBC Cares and has done events of the Foundation together.
“Precisely two days before the fight, they went together to visit Richard Steele’s gym to talk with the young people, give them a message and toys.
“After that, they attended a hospital for children with cancer.
“Chris commented that she suffered a lot during that fight, because every blow from Fury, she imagined what Telli Swift was feeling; until the end came and the referee stopped the fight.
“With the new world heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury took the place that Deontay Wilder held for the last five years.”
Therefore, we could now have one of two versions of Wilder for the trilogy.
Either that night affects the rest of his time in the sport, which could potentially be short, or Wilder comes back with explosive intensity to completely smash Fury into smithereens.
Wilder has the capacity, through his tremendous power, to be the most vicious avenger imaginable.
Only the first bell for the third encounter will signal what happens next.
So, what version of Wilder do you think we will see?