Is Deontay Wilder the 'Tito Trinidad' of the Heavyweight division, and has he ruined Tyson Fury forever?
Despite being the slight betting underdog at a microscopic (+105) on most race and sportsbooks, the "Bronze Bomber" truly believes that the big right hand, which dropped the Gypsy King during the opening minute of the twelfth and final round, still lingers within the lineal heavyweight champion's psyche.
"When a man takes a shot to the head like he did during the twelfth round of the first fight, his body doesn't forget it. He may think that he got up and moved past that, but his body remembers that kind of trauma," stated the current WBC Heavyweight champion to BT Sport. "I understand the science of the body. I know the head isn't meant to be hit like that in the first place."
"His body doesn't want to go through that trauma again, with his brain shaking and him going down unconsciously. He doesn't even remember how he got up. It's unhealthy...and his body doesn't want to go through that again, and you'll see that during the second fight."
Is Fury still suffering from any mental or physical residual effects from his first encounter with the Bronze Bomber?
Throughout boxing's rich history, there have indeed been cases where prizefighters were never the same after experiencing the concussive power of specific opponents.
Top Rank commentator and former pound for pound pugilist Tim Bradley recalls a certain Hall of Fame puncher who seemed to possess the kind of power that appeared to "ruin" his opponents as well.
"Do you remember a guy named Tito Trinidad? When Tito Trinidad hit guys, it did something to them. It ruined their careers. Remember David Reid? Remember William Joppy? They were never the same after they fought Felix Trinidad."
"So I think there could be a little 'residue' from the first fight between Wilder and Fury. I think Fury has been affected by that punch in the twelfth round," stated former two-division world champion Tim Bradley on ESPN. "Fury got up...I get it. But the way Wilder hits guys, he's the hardest puncher in the history of boxing. I believe honestly that it ruins fighters."
Has Wilder's power potentially ruined Tyson Fury as an emotionally and physically durable prizefighter?
Although Fury has been in the ring since competing against Deontay Wilder in December of 2018, he's received a mixed bag of reviews.
In June of last year, the lineal champ took on the number 64 ranked fighter in the world, Tom Schwarz of Germany. Despite being undefeated in his respective campaign, Tom was ostensibly in "over his head" and couldn't compete with a fighter of Tyson Fury's experience and skill level.
But in September of 2019, it was a different story.
Fury met formerly undefeated Otto Wallin of Sweden at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, and seemingly received a much tougher test than most anticipated. Despite winning a unanimous points victory over the 6'5" Swede, Fury was cut badly in the fourth stanza and was apparently rocked in the final round.
Bradley believes the fight revealed much more than most want to believe.
"One indication was the Otto Wallin fight. Otto Wallin hurt Fury several times during the fight. He hurt Fury in the twelfth and final round as well. Fury's been rocked before, but not by Deontay Wilder."
"I don't know if Tyson Fury will still be the same fighter on February 22nd."
While Tyson did a great job in the first fight with Deontay controlling range in the center of the ring, the lineal champ has vowed to punch with more aggression and stop the undefeated WBC titlist in the rematch.
Considering what transpired in the final round of their last meeting, is the decision to slug it out with the devastating puncher at short range a good idea, and can Tyson's beard withstand another massive right hand?
Wilder doesn't believe Fury is capable of scoring a knockout.
"He may say that he can get a knockout, but does he really believe that? I don't think he really believes he can knock me out...when is the last time he's scored a knock out at the top level? Good luck."
"Although I've never been good at predictions, I'll tell his fans not to blink. Your fighter is facing the hardest puncher in the history of boxing, period."
It will be interesting to see how Tyson Fury's body reacts the first time he catches a clean shot from the Bronze Bomber.
The long-awaited rematch with Deontay Wilder will take place in less than one month's time.
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