Wilder Fury 2 – More Wild More Furious

Image result for wilder fury 2

Heavyweight boxing hasn’t been so loaded with talent since the 1960’s. Wilder, Joshua, Fury, Ruiz, Jospeh Parker, Dillian Whyte, Aleksander Usyk, and Daniel Dubois, have all been title holders, or are all contenders. Wilder Fury 2 promises to kick off what should be the most interesting and dramatic year in the history of the heavyweight division.

It’s my opinion that while both fighters stand to gain the same if they win, if they lose Fury will suffer the greater setback. Wilder has accumulated a record of 43 fights, 42 wins, 41 by knock out. This record pretty much guarantees Wilder’s next fight to be a title fight if he loses. For Fury it’s different, because of his inability to build a record during his three years away from the ring. A loss for Fury would leave him with a record of 1 loss  in 31 fights, good but not as attractive as Wlder’s.

At thirty-four years of age, Wilder must be looking to take the fights that the public want to spend the money for on pay per view. For either of these fighters this is can be a career defining moment. A Wilder win would build add to his legacy and lead to a big fight with Usyk, or Joshua. A Fury win will elevate his status to the number one heavyweight, and build on the enigma that is, Tyson Fury.

What’s Happened Since the First fight?

One thing that isn’t in doubt is the difference in the quality of the competition Wilder and Fury have fought since the first fight. Both have fought twice, with Wilder making two title defences against opponents with a combined record of, 51 wins and 2 losses. The losses coming in title fights against Wilder and Anthony Joshua.

Fury’s two fights were against opponents with a combined record of 46 wins and no losses, but his opponents have never had title fights, nor fights against world title contenders.

Wilder scored two brutal knockout victories while Fury, against unarguably lesser opposition, won by technical knockout and a unanimous points decision. If quality of opponent has an effect on the outcome of this fight, Wilder is far superior.

Away from the Ring

The Wilder, Tyson brands are big business. Deontay Wilder is worth an estimated $30 million. For his last fight against Luis Ortiz, he was paid $3 million. For this fight Wilder and Fury will split their share of the pay per view money 50/50. With each pay per view costing $80, it’s reasonable to expect both fighters to be earning upward of $10 million.

Despite having fought less, being four years younger, having spent three years away from the sport, and being British, Fury signed a five fight deal with ESPN for          $80 million and is reported to be worth more than $100 million in total.

But there’s more to both these fighters than their extraordinary wealth. Wilder became a father at the age of nineteeen. His daughter,  Naieya was born with the debilitating condition spina bifida. In order to cover the extensive medical bills, Wilder took up boxing.

Image result for deontay wilder and daughter

Fury’s greatest challenge is himself. After winning the world championship against the Ukranian, Wladimir Klitschko in November, 2015 Fury wouldn’t fight again for nearly three years. Fury has stated that he suffers from a version of Bipolar, and during his three years away from the ring became addicted to alcohol and cocaine and contemplated suicide. To say Fury was out of shape would be a gross understatement  at his heaviest he is reported to have been 385 pounds. When he fights Wilder on Saturday he’s expected to weigh around 270 pounds. Fury is an enigma, a larger than life loquacious character that has helped to make the heavyweight division the most interesting in boxing.   When asked about his depression Fury said:

“I have been so dark that everything was pitch black. Before, every single day for me was a grey day. And some people might not know what I am talking about when I say that, but every day shouldn’t be a grey day. Because life is a blessing. And now I know that every day is a rose-coloured, sunshine day. Which I appreciate. I appreciate every second, every hour, every day, because life is so very short.”


Fury and Wilder are both unusual for boxers because they have both laid bare their troubles away from the ring, and in doing so they have perhaps engaged more fans than ever seen before in the sport.

Image result for tyson fury fat
Tyson Fury appeared in British newspapers September, 2017.

Knockout, or Decision?

Popular opinion sees this fight having only two outcomes: Wilder knockout; or points decision for Fury. Few believe Fury will knock Wilder out, and I’ve not heard anyone thinking, Wilder will win on points. Even another draw seems more likely than these last two outcomes. But, which is the most likely, Wilder by knockout, or Fury by decision?

Wilder might be the most one dimensional boxer in heavyweight history, but when that one dimension happens to be one of boxing’s greatest punches, it doesn’t matter. This, like any Wilder fight, is all about Wilder’s right hand. If Wilder lands a clean right, he’ll win. If Fury can make the fight go the distance, he’ll have out boxed Wilder and will win on points. It’s almost impossible to see an outcome outside of these two possibilities.

The fight comes down to one question, can Fury avoid Wilder’s hand for thirty-six minutes? Wilder’s record of fort-one knockouts in forty-three fights suggests not. Their first fight also highlighted Fury’s vulnerability to the power of Wilder. Styles make fights, and this is a classic case of the boxer versus the puncher. Such style match ups can produce classic fights: Benn versus Eubank, Ali versus Frazier, but invariably they end up going in the favour of the boxer. Fury is without doubt the most mobile and ring smart heavyweight Wilder has ever faced. Fury should be faster than in their first fight. That said, the law of averages seem to lean in favour of Wilder. The odds are against Fury going twelve rounds and not getting caught by a big right hand. But, if Fury can avoid one of boxing’s greatest punches, he will have deserved to win. I can’t see it happening and expect Wilder to win by technical knockout in the ninth.

What’s your prediction?

Ruiz Vs. Joshua – A Gold Rush in a New Golden Era of Heavyweight Boxing

 “The hero and the coward both feel the same thing. But the hero uses his fear, projects it onto his opponent, while the coward runs. It’s the same thing, fear, but it’s what you do with it that matters.” 

Cus D’amato

We’ve been forced to wait a very long time. Not since the early 70s, with fights like The Rumble in the Jungle, and The Thrilla in Manila, has heavyweight boxing been this entertaining.

The last golden era in the division occurred during the career of one man, Muhammad Ali. An era which saw Ali take on fighters like Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Ken Norton, Floyd Paterson and Larry Holmes, each of whom would have been good enough to dominate in any other era.

Anthony_Joshua_vs._Andy_Ruiz_JrOn Saturday, December 7th, Andy Ruiz will defend the heavyweight boxing titles he took from Anthony Joshua 6 months ago, in a rematch. Ruiz’s win was one of world championship boxing’s biggest upsets. Not since, 1990 and that night in Tokyo, when James ‘Buster’ Douglas knocked out a then undefeated, and what looked like an unbeatable, Mike Tyson. Ruiz’s win was a shock, there can be no doubt about that. Before the fight bookmakers had him at 9-1 against, ridiculous odds in a sport with only two competitors, and where one punch can end a fight. But those odds reflected the chance public opinion gave Ruiz when he defeated Joshua, at the beginning of June, in Madison Square Garden. The, Ruiz – Joshua rematch will formally kick-start a golden era in the heavyweight division, some might argue started already when Deontay Wilder fought a dramatic draw against Tyson Fury. There are, at the moment, five legitimate contenders for the title meaning that all of them will be less likely to cherry pick easy fights and forego a big payday. It really is a case of make hay while the sun shines, except in this case substitute hay for money, and sunshine for punching your opponent in the face.

Boxing Abroad

Heavyweight title fights have historically been held in the United States and on occasions in Europe, fights outside of these two locations are very uncommon. But holding one of sports biggest prizes in an out of the way, exotic location from which neither boxer originates is not new. Such fights do, somehow, capture the imagination as well as huge piles of cash. These locations have been decided purely for the financial benefits to the boxers and the potential for generating positive publicity for the hosts. In some instances this has seen the blending of sport and morally bankrupt ideologies, which for a time are forgotten until several weeks after the fights conclusion.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

January 22, 1973, The Sunshine Showdown, Kingston, Jamaica. When Foreman annihilated Frazier, knocking him down six times before scoring a technical knock out with one minute and twenty-five seconds of the second round still to go. Foreman achieved this despite going into the fight a 4-1 underdog.

  • October 30, 1974, The Rumble in the Jungle, Kinshasa, Zaire. Both boxers were paid $5 million. To put this into context, Joe Louis, world heavyweight champion from, 1937 to, 1949. Who made a record twenty-five consecutive defenses of his title, never made $5 million throughout his entire career.
  • October 1, 1975, The Thrilla in Manilla, maybe the most iconic boxing match of all time. Staged by president Marcos to divert attention away from the civil war that was being fought in the Philipines at that time.  Ali walking away with $9 million and Frazier netting $5 million. To give these figures some perspective, both Wilder and Ortiz were paid $4.5 million in disclosed purses for their second fight a couple of weeks ago, this does not include their shares of pay per view television,
  • February 11, 1990, A fight that was expected to be so one sided that nobody bothered to give it a name. What was certain is that nobody in America was willing to pay for the right to host Mike Tyson to destroy James “Buster” Douglas inside of three minutes. With now mythical odds of 42-1 against, Douglas achieved the impossible inside the Tokyo Dome, Japan. 42-1 against. When Foreman beat Frazier twenty-seven years earlier it was considered a shock with Foreman overcoming odds of 4-1. Tyson was paid $6 million, Douglas walked away undisputed heavyweight champion and $1.6 million richer.
  • April 21, 2001, Lamely given the moniker Thunder in Africa. Obviously rumble in the jungle was the beginning and end of any catchy rhyme and wordplay when it came to fighting in this continent. With   Rahman a 20-1 underdog, this was thought to be such a one-sided affair that no Las Vegas casino was willing to pay the amount South Africa was, to stage the fight, Rahman being paid $1.5 million, while Lewis made $7 million. In similar fashion to Buster Douglas, Rahman shook the boxing world, knocking out Lewis with a straight right driven through the sloppy guard of the champion in the fifth. Compare this fight to the Ali fights, nearly thirty years earlier and you appreciate how Ali captured the world’s imagination and generated  the extreme revenue necessary to justify his purse.
  • December 7, 2019 In the crazy cash sports era of today Joshua will earn at least $40 million, Ruiz will take away $9 million, and both will have an agreed cut of the pay per view revenue, details of which I haven’t been able to find. Needless to say, they’re both walking away rich men.

The history of heavyweight boxing in obscure locations is colorful and littered with upsets. Ruiz, Joshua promises to be a far closer fight with no heavy underdog. In fact it’s much in debate as to who the underdog is.



Why Ruiz Will Win

As in the first fight, I expect to see Joshua touching cloth on multiple occasions in the rematch.

Styles are said to make fights, it might equally as well be said that styles break fighters. Ruiz’s style couldn’t be any more awkward for Joshua. On paper, and to the eye, Joshua would win every time, but Ruiz has the box of tricks to beat Joshua. Ruiz’s main strength is his hand speed and accuracy. What this crudely translates into is, Ruiz’s fists spending more time connecting with Joshua’s head and face. Ruiz’s movement is also deceptively good, and he has proven that he has durability having been knocked down by Joshua, then coming back to destroy him. Joshua’s strength will always give him the ‘puncher’s chance’,  but Ruiz is likely to throw and land more punches. Meanwhile Joshua hasn’t convinced when under pressure of a high volume puncher. AJ was floored four times by Ruiz, ans was knocked down once when he fought Klitschko. Ruiz’s style of throwing quick combinations is AJ’s Achilles heel.

It’s ironic to remember that it was Eddie Hearn who cursed the career of Joshua when he selected him as the replacement for Jarrell Miller after the latter had failed multiple drug tests. Ruiz had only one month to prepare for the first fight, but had fought at the end of April, meaning he was already conditioned. But that should have counted for little when it came to fighting the multi titled world champion and former Olympic gold medalist. Few gave Ruiz any chance, including the bookmakers who were offering 25/1 against Ruiz winning by stoppage.To their credit, the Irish newspaper Independent.ie considered Ruiz to be more dangerous than the  originally intended opponent, Jarrell Miller. 

What AJ has in size and strength, he lacks in speed and skill. That’s not to say Joshua is slow and without talent, it’s just that up until now it’s been his size and strength that have been most telling in the fights he has won, Ruiz has the skill set to neutralize Joshua’s attributes.

One of the more amusing things about the fighters is that they have both been criticised for their physiques. In the past, Andy’s figure has been on the adipose, rotund end of the conditioning spectrum. Joshua meanwhile has been criticised for being over conditioned. AJ has some glaring similarities to Frank Bruno, he carries too much muscle bulk which ultimately makes him powerful, but slow. It’s been said that Joshua is looking to address this matter, but how quickly and how successfully he can reshape his physique is a question that remains to be answered.

It’s difficult not to support Ruiz, and I’m British. Ruiz is only getting 25% of the purse, and despite cutting weight  still bares a striking resemblance to British comic Johnny Vegas, a man whose act centres on him being drunk and unhealthy, but who doesn’t love Johnny Vegas?

In the future, out of Ruiz, Fury, Usyk and Wilder, I can only see Joshua beating Wilder. The other three have far higher boxing IQ’s, far better movement and hand speed. It’s the hand speed, combined with questionable durability that makes me believe that Joshua would succumb to any of , Fury, Ruiz or Uszyk.

Twenty-twenty, might be a format of cash fueled cricket, but it will also be remembered as the year of the mega fights in heavyweight boxing. The year that should see the Fury-Wilder rematch, Uszyk fighting one of these four, and Wilder fighting Joshua or Ruiz. Be cause the division has five huge talents it’s difficult to see how these fights can be avoided, and the huge pay per view revenue any combination of these fights would make should be too tempting to resist. Twenty twenty is the year that will stay long in the memory of boxing fans around the world. And my prediction as to who will be king of the hill,


The talent of Oleksander Usyk will ensure that the heavyweight gold rush of twenty-twenty will sustain itself for a few more years, with any combination of huge fights. The countries that these fights end up being hosted in, and for what cause, remains the most difficult thing to predict.

Mayweather Vs McGregor – A Showdown of Inevitable disappointment 

So, it’s on. After all the name calling on all the YouTube videos, after all the social media stunts, call me cynical but all of which I’m pretty certain have been carefully choreographed in order to maximise public interest, Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor will fight on August 26, In Las Vegas.

At least I hope they fight, because up until now, to me the premise of this fight reflects more of a circus freak show than it does a contest of pugilism. McGregor and Mayweather are both the most talented performers, and the biggest showmen in their respective sports. Individually they are able to draw more attention to their own fights than any other fighter, combine the two of them and you’re guaranteed an unprecedented hype fest. Both have exchanged considerable amounts of trash talk through social media, thus selling the fight like no other in history. There’s nothing new about hype and fights but is there any chance that this fight can even come close to living up to this amount of hype?

Simply, no. Already I feel cheated. Cheated because I desperately want to believe that this will be a spectacular contest, a fight for the ages. I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve hoping for a PlayStation, only for the next morning to be given the box set of the Twilight saga. Nothing good can come out of watching the Twilight saga, we won’t learn anything from it, and I tend to feel exactly the same way about the Mayweather McGregor fight. At the end of Mayweather McGregor I’m afraid that I will find myself reacting like this boy, sucked in by the promise of great things, only for it to result in empty promises, abject disappointment, and self loathing at having believed in the empty promises, hype and cheap marketing:

All the name calling, all the funny jokes McGregor and Mayweather have made about one another has been to make the audience believe that there is some degree of animosity between them, a reason for these two to fight. Well the reason they’re fighting is first and foremost about the money. Quite simply neither fighter, nor his support staff, could refuse this fight. Both fighters will pocket in excess of $100 million, the revenue from pay per view television is anticipated to break $1 billion.

Image result for dr evil gazillion dollars    Financially the fight makes sense, the fight itself will generate almost a much money as a small African country can in a year. That really is disturbing. When Conor McGregor made his debut in the UFC he was paid $8,000. By contrast, over his career Mayweather has accumulated a wealth estimated at $340 million. But while this fight is a no brainer financially, will the public be spending there money on anything more than hype?


Again, the answer is almost certainly no. Don’t get me wrong, I concede that Conor has the puncher’s chance, but that’s what people always say when one fighter doesn’t realistically have a chance, Dolly Parton would also have a punchers chance against Floyd Mayweather. This will almost certainly be the most over hyped, over paid, and disappointing moment in sports since it was revealed to us how Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds could hit home runs so far. The McGregor Mayweather fight wil fail because:

  1. McGregor is not a boxer. Yes he does hit people with his fists in the UFC, but that’s as far as the similarities between boxing and mixed martial arts goes. The rationale that this can turn into a real fight is like Roger Federer challenging Tiger Woods to a game of tennis and saying that it’s fair because they both hit balls.
  2. What are they fighting for? McGregor isn’t a boxer, Mayweather is a retired boxer. Whoever wins, what do they gain? What’s the incentive outside of the money. Money which they’ll be guaranteed before they step into the ring. Really, how can you expect a decent fight when neither fighter is really fighting for anything.
  3. Mayweather is the greatest defensive boxer of all time, because of this he’s generally one of the most boring to watch. When watching someone swing and miss Mayweather for 12 rounds, it’s possible to appreciate Mayweather’s skill, while at the same time not be entertained. McGregor will be fighting with far bigger gloves than he uses in the UFC, to be honest he’d have more chance knocking Mayweather out using a pillow.

This isn’t the first time that a boxing legend has accepted the challenge of someone skilled in another martial art. The greatest, Muhammad Ali fought  kickboxer, Antonio Inoki in 1976. However, unlike the Mayweather McGregor fight ,Ali’s opponent was allowed to to use his specific skill set and kick Ali. In truth it was an ugly, farcical contest, the highlights of which can be seen below:


Maybe I’m being too close minded about Mayweather versus McGregor, a touch too cynical. Maybe this type of contest heralds a new era in sporting match ups, in which we find two contestants with vaguely similar skill sets and then pit one against the other . For example, Stephen Hawking could take on Lewis Hamilton at formula 1. I mean Hawking literally lives in that chair, driving himself around all day, I mean how different can it be?

Image result for stephen hawkingImage result for formula 1

What about a contest in which Maria Sharapova challenges Beyonce to bake a Victoria sponge cake, whilst gurning. I know it sounds silly but hear me out. This should be an even contest based on the fact that they’ve both got opposable thumbs, and they’ve both got faces. Believe me, this promises to be a far more even competition, and probably a more entertaining spectacle than Mayweather versus McGregor is ever likely to be.

downloadImage result for victoria sponge cakedownload (1)

My final suggestion for this new age of celebrity competition features two people with egos comparable to that of Mayweather and McGregor, if not the same degree of talent. I propose that Kanye West, takes on Justin Bieber in a game of Russian roulette. I’m quietly confident that based on the fact they are a pair of insufferable idiots, the promise of at least one of them blowing their own brains out, should appeal to an enormous audience thus securing record pay per view subscriptions.

download (2)download (3)Justin-Bieber


Well it’s 71 days until Mayweather versus McGregor, and despite all my negativity there’s not a chance in hell that I won’t be watching it. I want it to be good. No, in fact I want it to be great, it’s just that experience has taught me that I’m probably going to end up disappointed. Anyway, between now and August 26, I’ve got the Twilight box set to watch, so if you don’t mind.