A LOOK BACK: WILDER PERFORMANCE WAS ALMOST LIFE IMITATING ART!
March 25, 2023
By: Simon Ruvalcaba
Sometimes we’ve seen it all before? Over 3 weeks since the back and forth slugfest between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, even casual fans are still asking if I saw the fight and what I thought about it as they want to share their experience of having watched the fight. More so, there seems to be greater admiration for the game performance in defeat by the former champion Wilder then for the hard earned victory for Fury? It was a memorable match and Wilder’s adjustments for the 3rd affair with Fury made for high drama, drama that we have seen mainly in Hollywood and not often enough in real life.
Recently having watched Rocky 3 for the probably the 5 thousandth time? No exaggeration, I realized the common factors with Wilder. Down and out after a brutal loss, not sure if he was finished or not, a friend arrives to convince him that it can be done. Wilder, having issues with previous trainer Mark Breland, replaced him with longtime friend and former opponent Malik Scott. Scott, a former Heavyweight contender with the swagger to motivate anyone, took upon the duties for the bout and much was unknown about his abilities to prepare a fighter on such a big stage.
Bulking up for the bout, it was thought that Wilder was coming to attack for what could’ve been his last hurrah? Despite the physique he came out jabbing and with a body attack strategy. In the movie, Rocky gets trained by former rival Apollo Creed and comes out for the rematch with Clubber Lang with a new and improved style of speed and movement. All seemed well for Wilder in the first 2 rounds but then he got caught and dropped in the 3rd round. Just when it seemed he was on the verge of another quick defeat, Wilder bounced back for round 4 and dropped Fury twice. Back to the Hollywood bout, Rocky has a great first round and a half before running into trouble in round 2 as Clubber dropped him and went in for the kill. In Rocky 3, Balboa comes out for round 3 allowing Lang to land his shots and punch himself out with the famous line of response from Balboa’s Brother in law when Apollo says “He’s getting killed” and Paulie famously replies “No, he’s not getting killed, he’s getting mad!”
It was, in the end, a courageous effort from Wilder, who when on the verge of defeat, would rally and get back in the fight. It took until the 11th round for Fury to finally get the final knockdown that forced the stoppage. I did not attend the bout live and watched on big screen instead at a local Casino, Hobey’s Casino in Sun Valley, Nevada in what fittingly was a throwback like atmosphere! As I looked around at the crowd after the bout, many were still seated or nearby reliving to each other what they had just witnessed, and many who rooted for Fury early where suddenly inspired by the never say die heart of Wilder. Perhaps it was only fitting that trainer Malik Scott is from Philadelphia, just like the iconic character Rocky Balboa and in a poetic gesture after the fight, Scott gave Wilder a kiss on the cheek that was fitting for the love that he had just earned with the blood and guts effort. In between one of the rounds, Scott said to Wilder that he was gonna be proud of himself when he wakes up the next day. Over 3 weeks later, Deontay has nothing to be ashamed of and years from now, when he makes appearances, no doubt fans will come and share their memories of his great effort. There was no losers on October 9th, and the fans ultimately were the winners as they witnessed a throwback fight that reminded folks of how dramatic and special boxing can be! For Fury and for Wilder, Thank you for the war! Boxing needed you two more then you needed each other and both of you should carry on forever proud of that unforgettable Las Vegas night!
About the Editor
Army Veteran and former Professional Boxer Simon Ruvalcaba started boxing at the age of ten and Had a 71 fight amateur career which featured a 139 lbs. 1998 8th U.S. Army Boxing Championship out of Camp Casey, Korea and a spot on the prestigious Army Boxing Team at Fort Hood, TX. After a journeyman pro career of 18 fights, which included sparring sessions with many champions and contenders including Julio Cesar Chavez and Pernell “Sweat Pea” Whitaker, Simon started writing and has contributed to many publications and websites including fighthype.com, pound4pound.com, Tahoe Daily Tribune (South Lake Tahoe, CA), Nevada Appeal (Carson City, NV) and also writes a monthly boxing column for Tahoeonstage.com. He has also been the Boxing Instructor for Ken Shamrock and The Lions Den and MMA and Bareknuckle star Paige VanZant’s first boxing coach!
Born and Raised in South Lake Tahoe, California he now resides in Sun Valley, Nevada and spends as much time as possible with his Sons Gabriel and Oscar! Beyond boxing, Simon is an all around sports fanatic and is passionate about the teams that he roots for!