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Some Technical Thoughts on Wilder-Fury Two
It’s a rarity that I actually see a big fight, but I did.
Going into the much-hyped contest of giants, I had only seen either of them fight in their last match and had seen some highlights of Wilder dishing out concussion and of Fury training. My remarks before the fight was that if Wilder is coachable at all, if a new wrinkle can be put into his game, and if Fury wakes up an old man in boxing terms, just slips that inch necessary to go from slick to slow in that rarified arena, that Wilder could have it.
On the other hand, in the first fight, Fury almost won doing what Fury generally does, being a giant, trash-talking Bugs Bunny. So all Fury had to do was not get hit by those two shovel hooks that decked him in the first fight as Wilder proved that he could not hurt the dancing giant with his over-used and over-extended over-hand right.
Then the fight and Fury came forward, hunting, using his Bugs Bunny routine like a peek-a-boo man from Philadelphia and the fight was over. Wilder apparently has not been trained to fight backing up. Or, maybe he cannot—coming to the game late as he did—be taught the finer points of the game. God knows he has the tools.
Speaking of which, Wilder’s lean muscularity, so impressive to the spectating sedentary, is a time bomb for him. Muscle guys gas. All you have to do is get them off their game and get them digging inside for something extra and it’s like punching a hole in their gas tank. One could see the soul of Wilder shiver as his aggressive role of the “Bronze Bombe” was taken from him and his arsenal was left sitting on the metaphoric runway with some giant Bugs Bunny dropping big carrots from what looked like a bi-plane from some other era—and it was.
Tyson Fury fought as of old, like fighters of a hundred and more years ago fought.
The big man has a better defense than most lightweight champions.
Mohamed Ali only dreamed of moving so well. Fury’s style and mobility, among comparative heavyweights, only has one historic analog, Jack Johnson.
Kenny Bayless, a ref I have been watching for some years, too small by half to handle these giants, knew that in Fury, he had a 300 pound Bernard Hopkins on his hands, a slick, shifty, dirty fighter.
This was a mugging that Uncle Kenny saw unravel before his eyes and he mercifully let his man off the hook by stopping the fight before it had to be stopped and saving Wilder some brain damage. He could not save him from psychological dismantling. I doubt if Wilder will ever be the man he was after this, and if he gets back to his former frightening ring self, it should stand as a Lazarus moment in the sport.
In boxing terms this was a mugging, most reminiscent of Duran vs Moore in the 1980s, except the partisan ref in that fight helped abet Duran’s many crimes and the partisan ref in this fight was there on crusade calling Fury for some of his many, many fouls, even taking a point away long after he knew that Wilder was doomed, just to give his man a break.
Good on Fury.
He came to the foe’s country.
Fought before the foe’s partisan referee.
And savaged his man with:
-Heel hands
-Holding and hitting
-Intentional tripping
-Rabbit punching
All against the rules, and only got called on one repeat offense!
And that is not all, I don’t think. This is one big, sneaky bunny rabbit and I only saw the fight once on a small screen. All of this shit is illegal and you get to do it three times before you lose a point and another before you get DQd! That’s boxing, a study in bending and breaking rules.
If this was MMA it would have been far worse.
If this happened in an alley behind the bodega—good night, “Call the poleese Uncle Kenny!”
Look, the most distressing aspect of this fight was seeing Wilder, beaten in his mind by Round 3, looking askingly at the Ref and saying with wide eyes, “Could you please get this Yeti off of me—‘cuase I cain’t?”
Other than the fouls, Fury’s normal skill set—so far as I saw it in the first fight—was perfectly retooled to go from defense to offense. The big man brought it, and brought uses and frequency of uses of the following things which are rarely seen outside of lightweight and welterweight ranks:
-shifting [hardly anyone still does this]
-lead changing [kind of died with Haggler]
-wing blocking
-rolling—few fighters roll with the punches anymore, so used as they are, like Wilder to having been fed easy meat in the ring
-weaving, weaving is all but lost, with most fighters who can slip or bob not weaving these elements together in a true peek-a-boo style.
For the survival fighter, note that though Fury came forward Wilder punched first and allowed the bigger big man to put on a counter-fighting clinic in the pressure cooker of the professional prize ring. Imagine that fight on a sidewalk and note how many times Wilder failed to hurt the man he hit with that taped and gloved hand and would have been pinned against a wall, shoved through the store window, tripped over the curb or bent back over the hood of some old white boomer asshole’s car while his Uncle Kenny called 911 and said, “Good Lord, these Nepalese forget to feed they pet polar bear. Send SWAT!”
Of course, one Darwinian friend of mine described this fight as a Stone Age victory of Neanderthal over Home Sapiens.
What I saw was a test of adaptability that found one fighter wanting and the other hunting.
Thanks to Referee Kenny Bayless for demonstrating that detailed rules of civilized behavior, diligently applied by a duly appointed official, cannot keep a good Barbarian from lifting from an anointed head an undeserved crown. [1]
Editor, please use as a postscript to Barbarism vs Civilization.
-1. Wilder was a political champion, awarded one of 13 championship belts, while Fury was the unbelted Lineal Champion, being “the man, who beat the man, who beat the man, who beat the man…” In heroic fantasy terms this was like Conan the barbarian strangling the anointed King of Aquilonia on his throne and placing the crown on his own head.
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Add Comment
John BarberFebruary 24, 2020 10:15 PM UTC

Great post-fight breakdown, James! I missed it too when I was watching the fight live, but Bayless didn't stop the fight. Wilder's trainer Mark Breland threw in the towel. Reports today are that Wilder is considering firing Breland for stopping the fight. His corner "s'posed ta know he rather die in the ring than quit!'

Deontay is also exercising his immediate rematch clause due to his legs being weakened as a result of the 45lb costume he wore to the ring as part of his tribute to black history month. You probably think this is one of my off-color jokes. I wish it were. Im as serious as a case of sickle cell
responds:February 25, 2020 4:38 PM UTC

This is the true sign of the end times!
OliFebruary 24, 2020 1:57 AM UTC

Glad you got to watch. I'll add a couple, wilders defense in the first fight at least incorporated head movement. Until he got tired. Then he just raised arms up to protect his head.

Fury would feint, wait for this then strike around his guard. Neither wilder or his corner caught on. Wilder was also gassed early. He doesnt do roadwork and has admitted as much in interviews. Fighting a clinch heavy fighter, no roadwork, and a shell for a defense. Not a great recipe..
responds:February 25, 2020 4:45 PM UTC

Good analysis.