By: Kirk Jackson
Almost twenty years ago, there was an important question posed across the musical/cinematic universe that happens to apply towards the mega-event rematch, this upcoming weekend between Deontay Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KO’s) and Tyson Fury (29-0-1, 20 KO’s).
“Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted, in one moment
Would you capture it, or just let it slip?” – Eminem
“Lose Yourself” was the lead-off hit single to soundtrack of critically acclaimed movie 8 Mile, released back in 2002. Many of the lyrics, question included serve as soundtrack and provide the backdrop for this epic rematch between Wilder and Fury.
It only takes one shot, one punch, for Wilder to end the fight and display why he remains the most dangerous man in boxing.
Ruling with bronze fists, the long-time WBC heavyweight champion always comes equipped with bombs ready to detonate and with a singular focus for destruction of his opposition.
“My gut just tells me that I’m ready to go,” Wilder said. “I’m in the best shape of my life. My gut tells me that I’m prepared more than anything. I’m about to put on a show.”
“My gut tells me that I’m the heavyweight champion of the world, and I can’t be beat. And I can’t wait for February 22nd, so I can lay him to rest. That’s what my gut’s telling me.”
Recently hinting at retirement, Fury may only have one shot left for his run at the top of the heavyweight division.
This may sound odd, considering Fury seemingly rose from the canvas multiple times during his first encounter against Wilder. Fury self-described rose like a “Phoenix,” earning a draw in what was a spectacular fight.
While Fury figuratively rose as a phoenix, his personality also shines just as bright – like an irrepressible flame, signifying the resiliency in his personal life; overcoming self-induced drug abuse, battling addictions, depression and overall poor health.
“There’s no stress for me going into the fight,” Fury said. “You know, I’ve been 12 rounds with him, out-boxed him quite comfortable, took his best shots, got up, fired back into it. The one who should be concerned is Deontay Wilder because with him being a one-trick pony, he’s a knockout artist, but he had me down twice in two rounds, nine and 12, and he had over two minutes in each round to finish me and he couldn’t finish me. It was like that ‘Mortal Kombat’ [guy] that said, ‘Finish him!’”
“He couldn’t finish me, so yeah, he’s the one who should be concerned. He’s landed the two best punches that any heavyweight in the world could ever land on somebody else, and ‘The Gypsy King’ rose like a phoenix from the ashes, back to me feet and hurt him in the end of the round.”
“So yeah, it’s gonna be pretty difficult for Wilder, not me. This is heavyweight boxing – I’ve been hit, I’ve been hurt, I’ve been put down in me career. But it’s not when we get put down, it’s what happens when we get back up, keep moving forward.”
Wilder has a different perspective of how the first fight went and has a plan to end things in his favor the second time around.
“I have to throw a lot more in general, for real. The jab sets things up. It sets the right hand up. The left hook, and the uppercut, and everything you want to throw right after it. We’re adding a lot more two-and-three-punch combinations,” said Wilder.
“When I go in there, it’s not like I’m trying to play with fire or lose rounds or whatever. No one wants to lose rounds,” the WBC heavyweight champion continued.
“When you have devastating power like I do, you don’t really worry about it too much. It’s a 12-round fight. Thirty-six minutes. Somebody is going to have to make a mistake, and guess what; you’re going to make more than one mistake. They have to be perfect for 12 rounds. I only have to be perfect for two seconds.”
“My fists are wrecking balls. I told Fury I was going to baptize him. His nerves come from being knocked down before. Just imagine if you were the opponent that night, and you don’t know how f*** you got up? It’s scary, not only to you, but to your family, your friends — everybody. That’s why they don’t want him to take it again. My last two outings didn’t make it any better for him, because I knocked out two guys in devastating fashion. His outings versus my outings are day and night.”
And to Wilder’s point, his last two outings were also against superior opposition in comparison to who Fury battled in preparation for this rematch.
But against different opposition, come varying opportunities and intangibles.
Will the Gypsy King maneuver out of harm’s way and deliver enough punishment to turn the tides and knockout the knockout artist?
Can the Bronze Bomber manipulate his and Fury’s body positioning, to the point to where he lands that vaunted right hand like illustrated in the video below?
Secondary questions to ponder – if Wilder lands the right hand and Fury falls, when will it happen? Will time play friend or foe to Wilder? If Fury is planted on the canvas again will he rise yet again from the grave? And can Wilder put away The Gypsy King for good?
The song “Lose Yourself” is a depiction of an underdog sacrificing everything; battling nerves, combatting all of the negative forces pitted against them and overcoming the odds. While no longer underdogs, both Wilder and Fury are now regarded as respective kings of their craft.
They both represent the manifestation of hard work, natural talent, determination, grit and mental fortitude it takes to rise to the top of the sport. Similar like many great champions of the past.
While discussing the rematch, former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson chimed in proclaiming his admiration of both fighters because of similar humble beginnings.
“They both came from nothing and achieved becoming heavyweight champion. You have to respect that. I was in their position one time,” said Tyson.
It’ll be interesting to see if Fury channels some of the same aggression of the former heavyweight champion he was named after.
Wilder and Fury will each have their opportunity, their shot to win the title and emerge as the premier heavyweight in the world. Who takes it?