There’s something special about the Heavyweight title. Always has been.
Whether you think of the days of Ali, Foreman, and Frazier, or the days of Tyson, Holyfield, and Lewis, in boxing, the Heavyweight champion has long been the sign of the true pinnacle of the sport – the belt that truly names the baddest man on the planet.
Right now, that man is Tyson Fury.
Tyson Fury? The Tyson Fury who only recently returned from a 3 year absence? The Tyson Fury who once dressed up like Batman at a press conference? Who once punched himself in the face? THAT is the baddest man on the planet??
And actually, yes, yes he is. Because of one night. November 28, 2015. That’s the night Tyson Fury shocked the boxing world by upsetting Wladimir Klitschko. For a decade, Klitschko (along with his brother Vitali) had been the king of the Heavyweight division. Since the 2003 retirement of champion Lennox Lewis, the Klitschkos had dominated the division – not always in the most dramatic and exciting fashion, but they had dominated nonetheless. Then in 2015, Tyson Fury flipped the narrative, knocking Wladimir off his pedestal and claiming boxing’s top prize. Was it a good fight? No, not at all. But he won. He was the man.
And then, poof, he was gone. In the aftermath of the historic win, the always mercurial Fury started to really fall apart. He became even more erratic, he failed drug tests, he openly battled with depression, he put on a tremendous amount of weight, and his new titles were, one by one, taken from him. And he stopped boxing. Until now.
That’s why this Saturday’s showdown between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder is one of the year’s most must-watch fights for all combat sports fans. Because sure, the WBA and WBO and IBO and IBF and any other combination of letters can strip Fury of those titles, but they can’t change history. And history says Tyson Fury is the man who beat the man. Saturday, he returns to the big leagues. Standing across from him will be the American power punching machine Deontay Wilder – the most potentially exciting American Heavyweight since the Tyson days. And, just for an added bonus, the WBC champion too.
Winner here walks away the WBC champion, the lineal champion, and the true man at Heavyweight. And he sets himself up for an even bigger fight with that other Heavyweight champion of the world, Anthony Joshua. For fans of Heavyweight boxing – for fans of combat sports period – this is the kind of fight you’ve been waiting for.