Extra Points Column: Could there be a Wilder-Fury III in A.C.?
As a reward for babysitting my two young grandsons Saturday evening, my son treated me to a ringside seat in his living room for that night's Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury rematch.
Despite the fact that Fury's seventh-round TKO made me $100 richer - I bet $20 at Ocean Casino Resort's William Hill Sportsbook at 5/1 odds that Fury would win by KO/TKO - I came away disappointed. I couldn't help rooting for Wilder, for having an American heavyweight champion brings some sorely needed attention to boxing in the U.S.
Here are some thoughts on the bout:
*Both Fury and Wilder looked ridiculous during the prefight ring walks. Fury, the self-described "Gypsy King," sat atop a throne wearing a crown and red robe while a group of women pretended to carry him toward the ring at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Wilder wore a black mask and a suit of armor that looked it came from Russell Crowe's dressing room in "Gladiator."
Are you not entertained?
It was a scene reminiscent of some of Prince Naseem Hamed's ring entrances. Locals might remember his "Thriller" walk through a cemetery at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall before his bout against Wayne McCullough in 1998.
Their antics made me long for the days when Mike Tyson would come into the ring wearing a pair of solid black trunks and boots. He wore no robe, just a white towel with a hole cut in the middle.
*I thought the first two rounds were fairly even. Fury probably won the opening round while Wilder took the second.
Any realistic chance of Wilder beating Fury, however, disappeared in the third round, when Fury's right hook sent Wilder to the canvas. Although Wilder got up, the blood trickling out of his left ear indicated that the fight would soon be ending.
According Yahoo Sports, Wilder did not suffer a punctured eardrum as had been initially feared, but the punch clearly affected his equilibrium. He spent the rest of the fight against the ropes, fighting to regain his balance, hoping to catch Fury with a right uppercut or hook.
For his part, Fury the extra weight he carried - he was 273 pounds on Saturday, 16 more than what he weight for their first fight - to an advantage. Whenever the fighters clinched, Fury leaned on Wilder, eventually sapping his strength.
*What in the world possessed Fury to lick Wilder's sweaty neck in the sixth round? Maybe he should do a Super Bowl halftime show with Shakira.
*Maybe I missed it, but I was stunned that none of the ringside physicians ever visited Wilder's corner between rounds to check on his bloody ear and overall health. Same goes for referee Kenny Bayless. If they had, the fight might have been stopped two or three rounds earlier.
*Kudos to Wilder's trainer Mark Breland for literally throwing in the towel in the seventh, thus sparing Wilder from enduring what could have been serious damage. Sometimes it's necessary to save a fighter from himself as much as from his opponent.
"I just wish my corner would have let me go out on my shield," Wilder told ESPN.com after the fight. "I'm a warrior. That's what I do."
Had Breland not intervened, he might have gone out on a stretcher.
*Fury gave a terrific effort, but I headed to my car as soon as he grabbed the microphone in the ring and began to sing "American Pie."
If I want to hear someone perform that song, I'll buy tickets to Don McLean's upcoming concert at the Ocean City Music Pier on Aug. 22.
"Took my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry. ..."
*Speaking of singers, I'm sure Saturday's Celine Dion concert at Boardwalk Hall was fantastic, but I would have much rather have been there for the fight.
Maybe the arena can host Wilder-Fury III? According to BoxingScene.com, there was a rematch clause in the contract. Promoter Bob Arum told the web site that Wilder has 30 days in which to exercise his right to a rematch and that Wilder-Fury III would presumably take place in August, but both dates are negotiable.
Maybe I'll even bring my grandsons.