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NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: FURY VS. WILDER INTRIGUE, TRILLER'S HISTORICAL BOTCH JOB

By Paul Magno | October 04, 2021
NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: FURY VS. WILDER INTRIGUE, TRILLER'S HISTORICAL BOTCH JOB

Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder is never going to be a dull affair. The pairing will always be a compelling watch, even if one proves himself to be definitively better than the other (and many would argue that we’ve already reached that point). Hell, even as separate entities, Fury and Wilder are never dull.

Wilder’s bad-ass persona and explosive one-punch power make him a “must watch” character. Fury’s loud-mouth charisma and the potential he has to deliver memorable, impactful performances in the ring  make him, also, a “must watch” character. And, together, the show they put on is of the “can’t miss”  variety.

That’s why I’m looking forward to this coming Saturday’s Fury-Wilder part 3 when, given the one-sided nature of part 2, maybe I’d not normally be so eager to revisit such a pairing. I mean, I’m not wishing and praying for a Canelo Alvarez-Billy Joe Saunders 2 or hoping against hope that Terence Crawford vs. Jeff Horn 2 comes into being. 

Fury-Wilder 2, back in February of 2020, was every bit as one-sided as Canelo-Saunders and Crawford-Horn. However, I do want to see the return bout and I’m looking forward to it. 

Being a heavyweight title fight could be part of it. There’s also the timing of it as a heavyweight title fight. Coming just two weeks after Oleksandr Usyk upsetting Anthony Joshua for three of the four belts, the winner of Fury-Wilder 3 will be the absolute, undisputed top big man in the sport (unless you’re one of those weirdos who stuck Usyk in the very top spot based off his one showing against Joshua)-- and the division hasn’t had an absolute, undisputed no. 1 in a very long time. 

All of that belts and heavyweight top dog stuff adds intrigue to the picture, but it’s not entirely why Fury-Wilder 3 is so attractive. 

Much of the intrigue has to do with the charisma and character of the two men involved. Love them or hate them, Fury and Wilder are entertaining figures. Whether you’re rooting for them to be curb stomped or to emerge victorious, you CARE. And when you care about the fighters, you want to see what happens to them. That should serve as a lesson to the bland, surly, and/or media-dismissive fighters at the top of the competitive food chain who should be much bigger stars than they are and can’t figure out that people not flocking to buy their fights is directly tied to them being reluctant to reach out to fans via media.

As for what’s going to happen in the actual fight? 

It doesn’t really matter to those with no vested interest in the business of the fight. All we know is that there’s a high likelihood that we’ll see something memorable and entertaining. 

Right now, Fury is the -350 to -300 betting favorite (and rightfully so) depending on where you put your money. But Wilder’s one-punch power and single-minded self-confidence will make him a very live dog in every match he has until the very end of his career. And, of course, we know that boxing, unlike other mainstream sports, is the only one where someone could be hopelessly behind on points/runs and never be truly out of the running for a victory. Wilder could be force-fed Fury’s floppy glove all night, dominated in every possible way, yet still be just one punch away from victory at all times. 

My head screams Fury. So, that’ll be my official pick. But I just want to see the carnage, one way or the other.

*          *          *          *         *          *          *

When the Triller boxing department is not busy defiling not-suited-for-combat boxing legends or scheduling shitty, vibe-killing musical acts to bog down their fight cards, they are failing miserably at “real” boxing.

The muddled, confused, weak-brained handling of their first foray into legit main stage boxing via the  Teofimo Lopez-George Kambosos Jr. IBF mandatory title defense will go down in history as a “How NOT to” guide to scheduling and boxing conflict resolution. 

I wrote about the mess in previous articles (and it’s been written about elsewhere as well), so I won’t dive back into that swirly of cock-blocking confusion. But here’s the Cliffs Notes version: 

In February, Triller went crazy in wildly out-bidding other promotional companies to get the rights to the lightweight title defense and then proceeded to move the date and location around a half-dozen times since then. To be fair, at least one or two of those changes was no fault of their own as Lopez contracted COVID-19 in June and had to pull out of their mid-June date. Everything before and after that, though, has been from pure Triller incompetence. With the most recent change, tossed-about contender, Kambosos, finally balked at being tossed about and refused to accept the new, final fight date and location. Team Kambosos filed a breach of contract complaint with the IBF, petitioning that the fight take place on October 4, as most recently scheduled (prior to a move to October 16) or that Triller’s purse bid be declared default. Triller responded with their own petition to the IBF to have Kambosos removed from his mandatory contender spot so they can move ahead with another Teofimo Lopez opponent.

Lopez, meanwhile, has been hurling insults and “chicken” accusations at Kambosos for not agreeing to this last change of date and venue. He’s reportedly had his own deal sweetened a bit to sign off on this latest move, so, take that bravado with a grain of salt (especially considering how his team threatened to walk away from the bout over the summer when it was rumored that Triller was considering taking the show to Kambosos’ home base of Australia). 

Who knows how this all plays out? You can’t be mad with Kambosos, though. As I wrote previously: “The on-again, off-again title defense has to have played havoc with his preparation and focus. This very well could be his only shot at breaking through to next-level success and he’s not getting a fair shot at pulling it off.” A line had to be drawn somewhere and, considering recent history, there’s no guarantee that this October 16 date would actually stick, anyway. And, therefore, there’s no guarantee that this scheduling mess wouldn’t run through the rest of the year, effectively costing him a year of his career waiting for a shot that should’ve been his months and months ago. 

As someone who pulls for the little guy, I hope the IBF does the right thing and removes Triller from this title defense. Then again, sanctioning bodies have a piss-poor history of doing the right thing when it stands in the way of big money. 

Got something for Magno? Send it here: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com

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