Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury sold one of the biggest fights of 2018, and with the dust now settled in Los Angeles, we still can’t be sure just who the better man is between the two of them.
Wilder and Fury fought to a split draw tonight on Showtime pay-per-view, in front of a reported 17,698 fans at the STAPLES Center, with scores of 114-112 Fury, 115-111 Wilder, and 113-113. BLH had the fight 114-112 for Fury on both of our scorecards.
Fury (27-0-1, 19 KO) is still the recognized — at least by many — lineal champion of the world, while Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KO) hangs on to his WBC title.
What we do know is this: these are at the very least two of the three best heavyweights in the sport today. Wilder found it difficult to land his power punches on Fury, whose slippery defense and herky-jerky movement gave him fits for much of the bout.
But when Wilder did land, he did some damage. He bloodied Fury’s nose in the fourth round on a jab, then dropped him with a shot behind the ear in the ninth. In the end, though, what saved the fight for Wilder, and kept him from a split decision loss, was a monstrous 12th round knockdown, where he tagged Fury with a thundering right hand that, frankly, almost everyone watching live thought was the end of the fight.
Instead, Fury remarkably got back to his feet and fought on, even cracking Wilder with a good left hook that seemed to discourage the tired American from going for the finish.
The scores, of course, will be debated. A draw obviously brings that out, and really, even any competitive fight at this level has a lot of people seeing things very differently. But the fight itself had some fireworks, showcased a weird style clash that troubled both men at various points, and more or less lived up to the hype.
Obviously, each man thought he’d done enough to win, but unlike their press conferences building the bout, there was no animosity shown by the two fighters in the ring when the fight was over. As Wilder tried to get to Fury after the bout, Fury had to shout at people to “let him through,” before the two embraced in a genuine show of respect.
“I think with the two knockdowns I definitely won the fight,” Wilder told Showtime’s Jim Gray. “We poured our hearts out tonight. We both are warriors. With those two drops, I feel like we won the fight.”
“We’re on away soil, I got knocked down twice, but I still believe i won the fight,” Fury told Gray. “I’m showing total professionalism here. I’m a true champion, a true warrior. I went to Germany to fight Klitschko, I came to America to fight Wilder. Bless Deontay Wilder, he’s a top fighting man.”
There was also, of course, talk of a rematch.
“The rematch, I guarantee, I’m going to get him,” Wilder said.
“We’ll do the rematch,” Fury stated. “We are two great champions. Me and this man here are the two best heavyweights on the planet.”