Wilder-Fury Rematch Talks Already Heating Up Following Draw
Following their controversial draw on Saturday night in L.A., boxer Tyson Fury today said that WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder will "try to avoid a rematch with him 'at all costs,'" according to the AFP. Wilder retained his belt after a "thrilling 12-round battle ended in a split decision draw at the Staples Center." The result means he is "still in a position to achieve his dream of unifying the heavyweight division" against Anthony Joshua, who holds the WBA, IBF and WBO versions of the title. After the bout, Wilder said that he would "prefer to target Joshua's titles in a bid to unify the division but would be satisfied with either a rematch against Fury or a chance to take on Joshua." But Fury said Wilder will try and "stay away from me" (AFP, 12/3). ESPN.com's Dan Rafael noted Wilder "earned at least" $4M to Fury's $3M for Saturday's bout, though each will "earn millions more thanks to their percentages of the profits from the event." They will "almost certainly earn much more in a rematch" (ESPN.com, 12/1). Fury: "One hundred percent we'll do the rematch. 'We are two great champions. Me and this man are the two best heavyweights on the planet." Wilder "floored Fury in the ninth and final rounds, yet Fury clearly outboxed Wilder for large portions." The fight "attracted the celebrity attention expected in Hollywood from actors and athletes alike." Everyone "from Chadwick Boseman, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Shaquille O'Neal to boxing stars Gennady Golovkin and Mikey Garcia gathered for the marquee heavyweight bout" (AP, 12/2).
PUNCH FOR PUNCH: In N.Y., George Willis wrote the draw was a "buzzkill ending to what had been an entertaining fight" (N.Y. POST, 11/2). In DC, Joe DePaolo wrote it was a "classic style matchup of boxer versus puncher." But a draw "appeared logical in a bout which was extremely difficult to score" (WASHINGTON POST, 12/2). ESPN.com's David Purdum wrote under the header, "Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury Fight Trumps Football At Vegas Sportsbooks."