The business of boxing dictates that when a champion defeats a dangerous challenger, he moves on to new and hopefully safer opposition. Risk/reward is the business model that boxing promoters and managers follow to maximize their clients earning potential.
When Shawn Porter added doubts to the validity of Errol Spence J’s perceived dominating presence in the welterweight division, Spence made a decision that his management will not have liked. He wants to rematch Porter to show to the fans that he could do a better job next time around. Spence Jr will gain new fans because of this. He has chosen to face the man that took him to places that most fighters do not want to be taken to a second time.
WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder wants to do this same thing twice in the space of three months. Last March, Cuban exile Luis Ortiz, came very close to ending Wilder’s reign as WBC titleholder. He was one punch away from securing him and his family’s future, but Wilder summoned up the tenacity, and sheer fighting will to come back and stop the now 40-year-old known as ‘King Kong’.
Nine months after the Ortiz win, Wilder took on the undefeated but underrated Tyson Fury in a fight that made little sense from Fury’s perspective. Two and a half years of alcoholism, cocaine abuse, and severe mental health issues had turned Fury into a 385lb caricature of the man that in 2015 had travelled to Dusseldorf, Germany and befuddled long-reigning and unified heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko out of his titles.
Wilder had always struggled to get the American Tv audience on his side even though he had knocked out every opponent he had faced other that in his title winning effort against Bermaine Stiverne in July 2015. By facing Fury, he would take the scalp of the man who beat the man, or so it goes.
As we all know by now, Fury is a genius at promoting a fight, he also uses the opportunity to mess around with the mind of his opponent. His almost maniacal self-belief and brashness can have his opponents ready to lose before the first bell even if they don’t exactly know it themselves. If that doesn’t work, then he will win the fans over with humour, singing, and a proven charm offensive
In a fight that should have pitted the most feared heavyweight puncher since Mike Tyson against a mentally weak and physically inferior opponent, Fury took the champion to school and thoroughly outfoxed the champion. It was hard to give Wilder 2 rounds other than when he scored heavy knockdowns in the 9th and 12th rounds that brought the fight level in the eyes of one judge with the other two scoring it one for Wilder and the other for Fury.
Now the fans had a real reason to doubt ‘The Bronze Bomber’.
Boxing history shows us just how easy it is for managers to stop a fight happening when it threatens their client’s career. Demanding an over-inflated purse is the first port of call in these circumstances but there are plenty of other convenient causes that can be dragged up. Deontay Wilder does not allow for that kind of management. Instead he decided to rematch Ortiz and Fury in back-to-back events three months apart.
Love him or hate him, Wilder deserves an enormous amount of respect for the way he has conducted his career. He does not shy away from the hardest fights, instead he chases them down. His belief that his ‘God given’ power can win a fight at any moment has proven to be true, but that still wasn’t enough to ensure victory over the 6’ 9” Fury, and yet he demands the chance to improve on his performance in their last fight.
Boxing fans, media, and insiders all thought that Anthony Joshua made a terrible decision to go straight back into a rematch with his conqueror Andy Ruiz Jr. Rematches, historically go the same was as their previous encounter so Ruiz Jr should be victorious the second time around, but of course there will always be exceptions to the rule. So is Wilder making a bad decision to rematch the two men that came very close to defeating him?
Errol Spence Jr and Deontay Wilder, stand up and take a bow. Boxing needs rematches when the fans demand them.