Wilder vs Fury deserves an encore

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Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury delivered everything we could ask for—except a decisive winner. It’s only right they do it again.

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Wilder vs Fury - Watch Video Highlights | December 1, 2018

No matter how you scored it, Saturday night’s Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury heavyweight title match on Showtime pay-per-view was one of the most memorable boxing events in recent years. The result, a 12-round split-decision draw, was fitting as there were no losers here.

The biggest winners were the fans, who witnessed a fight filled with more drama than a television courtroom. The replay will air this Saturday, December 8, on Showtime (9 p.m. ET/9 p.m. PT).

Manchester, England’s Fury looked as good as ever, if not better. In November 2015, “The Gypsy King” sat atop boxing’s glamour division after dethroning long-time champion Wladimir Klitschko. He spent the subsequent two-and-a-half years battling substance abuse and mental health issues, losing his belts in the process.

Against Wilder, the lineal heavyweight champion proved he is still one of the world’s top heavyweights, turning in a vintage performance that will endear him to fight fans forever.

Though Wilder believes he deserved the decision, the WBC champion says the action validated the matchup.

“It was a lose-lose situation for me,” he told reporters on Tuesday afternoon. “People already made excuses for Fury about not being in the ring, taking time off, not being ready. They doubted him. They said he wasn’t ready so if I would’ve knocked him out early, that would’ve been the excuse.”

Wilder almost finished him off anyway. The pride of Tuscaloosa, Alabama showed resilience, and his vaunted power, dropping Fury once in the ninth and again in the twelfth. Most men couldn’t have risen from the last knockdown. Fury’s Lazarus-like recovery is now the stuff of legends.

For once, the fight matched the hype—and exceeded it. The show drew 17,698 to Staples Center in Los Angeles, the biggest boxing audience at that venue since Shane Mosley upset Antonio Margarito in January 2009, and the largest attendance for a heavyweight bout since April 2004.

I’m ready to give the fans what they want to see and end this talk once and for all. I don’t want no one else but Tyson Fury. I think the fans deserve the rematch to settle the score once and for all.” WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder

“We had controversy and passion but right now, this fight and boxing is the talk at water coolers all over America,” said promoter Lou DiBella, of DiBella Entertainment. “The fervor, excitement and debates after Saturday are still going on, and that’s a great thing for boxing and heavyweight boxing.”

Wilder, 33, has now defended his WBC belt eight times. With this fight, “The Bronze Bomber” has officially crossed over. He spent much of Monday making the rounds on the Los Angeles media circuit, visiting the FOX Sports studios and even a surprise guest appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden.

“The questions about Deontay’s stardom has been answered and it’s been answered in a dozen different ways,” said Stephen Espinoza, President of Showtime Sports. “We did a Snapchat daily series starting the Saturday before the fight. All week long, on a 24-hour basis, those Snapchats were being viewed 4-5 million times a day. We never had anything do that kind of activity in terms of a Snapchat series.

“After Saturday, we know Deontay’s place. He’s at the top of the heap.”

The champion is feeling the love, moving another step closer to his stated goal.

“Everyone in the world is talking about this fight,” Wilder said. “Even homeless people are talking about it; the attention that it stirred up. It was amazing, from start to finish.”

“I’m fighting so hard to bring the attention back to American boxing,” he continued. “My goal was to bring the heavyweight division back here in America. To see the turnout … It was overwhelming for me. We had the world’s attention. This is the moment that I’ve been waiting on.”

So, what’s next? Wilder has set his sights on a rematch. Should that occur, it would likely take place in May or June, according to Espinoza.

“It’s only right to give Fury a rematch as soon as possible,” Wilder said. “I’m ready whenever he’s ready to do it, I’m ready to give the fans what they want to see and end this talk once and for all. I don’t want no one else but Tyson Fury. I think the fans deserve the rematch to settle the score once and for all.”

For a complete recap of Wilder vs Fury, check out our fight page.

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