By Barry Holbrook: Tyson Fury coach Andy Lee is surprised that former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder has chosen to take an immediate rematch with ‘The Gypsy King’ after losing to him in a one-sided fashion on February 22.
Lee thinks that Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) should take at least one tune-up against former champion Andy Ruiz Jr. Wilder isn’t planning on doing that, and Lee sees his ego getting in the way.
Lee wants Wilder to “build a little more” before fighting Fury again, but that’s not what he wants. Wilder is a 12-year professional, and it’s unclear whether he’ll improve to any great extent no matter how many building fights he has before facing Fury again.
Wilder forcing the third fight with Fury surprises Andy
“I am surprised that they are taking it, he and his advisers are taking it,” said Lee to Boxing Social when asked if he was surprised that Wilder is taking a rematch with Fury. “I’m sure his ego wants to take it, and he wants it back to get the fight, but I think there should be someone that says, ‘Look, let’s fight [Andy] Ruiz, let’s fight somebody else, and then come back and fight Tyson again.’
“You know, let him build a little bit more. But a champion wants to get it right away, he’s a champion. It’s that mindset. He has made excuses but who knows what was really going on back there when he was training for the fight. Maybe it will be an improved performance, but I can’t see how he’s going to change that.
“Tyson is only going to get better at what he’s doing. I think it’s a big mental hurdle he has to get over,” said Lee on Wilder needing to come back mentally after his intimidating mystique being shattered by Fury. “Tyson will always intimidate him, and I don’t know how he’ll overcome that, especially after this last [performance].
“It’s the manner of it. He [Wilder] got beat in a public round, and he got beat by another man. So it’s going to be a tough one to take, but I commend him for taking the fight or whether it’s actually happening or not. Whether it’s just posturing to get more money or step aside money or whatever may happen.
“But if they want it again, Tyson will be more than happy to give it to them,” Lee said of Wilder. “Tyson said, ‘It looks like it’s going to happen. We got the date, and I’m going to start training again,'” said Lee.
For Wilder, he’ll be viewed as tarnished goods if he didn’t try and avenge his loss to Fury immediately. There are some defeats a fighter can walk away from without taking a career hit. If Wilder had lost a close decision to Fury, that’s one thing. Getting wiped out the way Wilder did, it leaves him no choice but to force a third fight against Fury.
Wilder shouldn’t have made excuses for the loss
“In the first round, I was worried because there were to clean right hands from Wilder that Tyson just walked through. He felt them, but he walked through, but that might have demoralized Wilder a little bit,” said Lee. “After round 3, I was thinking, ‘This is going really, really well.’ He could have run afoul by switching off, but we kept him focused. That was my focus. Sugar Hill was maintaining and reiterating what we’d worked on.
“After round 3, he was smothering his work a little bit and was getting too much into the mauling. Before round 7, Sugar Hill said, ‘You know what to do. Left jab, left jab, feint, feint, step back, 1-2, 1-2.’And exactly as soon as the bell rang, he went out and did it. After round 6, he said, ‘Go ahead and get him out of there.
“What are you waiting around for?’ It was similar to what Emanuel [Steward] said a few times, but not as animated. But he said, ‘Just go ahead and get him out of there now.’ To come out with an excuse, it always looks bad.
“What Tyson said on the morning show, ‘They can’t just admit that they got beat by the better man. It has to find some excuse.’ It could be legitimate [that Wilder was weakened by ring-walk outfit], but who cares? You shouldn’t come out and say it. That won’t change the result,” said Lee on Wilder’s excuses.
It’s not just one excuse that Wilder came up with to explain away his loss to Fury on February 22. Deontay had at least three of them that he used in the aftermath of the defeat, and none of them worked in helping him receive sympathy from the public.
Wilder’s excuses for losing to Fury:
- Legs weakened from ring walk outfit
- Trainer Mark Breland throwing in the towel
- Illegal tactics from Fury: rabbit punching and throwing elbows
Lee predicted Fury wouldn’t receive credit for beating Wilder
“I said that several weeks before the fight. I said that ‘you’re going to look so good in dominating Wilder that they’re going to take all the credit away by saying that Wilder was never that good, and that he was one-dimensional and that he was a puncher,’ and that’s what seems to have happened,” said Lee on Fury’s win.
“Just how dominant he was compared to the first fight where he was just flicking his punches, running and moving even before landing his shot. He was just trying to avoid and steal rounds. This time he went out there and absolutely dominated him and stopped him.
“That’s what makes him great in that he feels he’s got to keep proving himself, even after a fight like that,” said Lee on Fury not being satisfied with his win over Wladimir Klitschko. “I think he’s pretty happy now. I can only see him getting better and better,” said Lee.
Well, Lee was correct about Fury not receiving full credit for beating Wilder. The ‘Bronze Bomber’ Wilder looks so inept against Fury, they feel that it wasn’t much of an accomplishment for him to beat the one-dimensional champion. That’s why it’s important for Fury to defeat Anthony Joshua, Dillian Whyte and some of the younger heavyweights like Daniel Dubois and Filip Hrgovic. It’s not enough for Fury to beat of the one-trick pony Wilder. He’s clearly NOT the fighter that boxing fans thought he was.
Fury will be #1 heavyweight of all time with a win over Joshua
“He says he only has two fights left. If he beats Joshua, he’s got to be considered the best heavyweight of all time, hasn’t he?” said Lee. “It has to be. I know these guys aren’t George Foreman, Joe Frazier that he’s fighting, but they’re still considered the biggest punchers in heavyweight history.
“Anthony Joshua before the Ruiz fight was considered the main man. To beat a prime Klitschko as well, it’s a serious achievement,” said Lee.
To be called the number one heavyweight of all time, Fury will need to stick around longer than two more fights. Despite being Wladimir Klitschko and Deontay Wilder, Fury’s resume doesn’t stake up against the likes of Muhammad Ali or Joe Louis. Fury only has two important wins on his resume against those fighters, and that pales in comparison to what Ali did during his career.
Fury will need to fight another eight to nine years before he has a shot at becoming the greatest of all time. Unfortunately for Fury, the heavyweight division is weak right now, and the only big names are Wilder and Joshua.
If Fury keeps fighting into his 40s, he has a shot at beating a lot of additional young heavyweights that come up. That’s where Fury has a shot at becoming the greatest of all time, but it doesn’t sound like he plans on doing that.
Lee expects Fury’s retirement to be brief
“It’s up to Tyson,” said Lee when asked about Fury retiring after two more fights. “He’s 31 and he’s got these two fights that will take him to 32, and he’s rich beyond his dreams. He’ll have achieved everything, so what’s there left to do? It’s a tough game being a heavyweight.
“The training, the sparring, the wear and tear on the body, especially when you’re that big as well with all the aches and pains. I think he’ll retire after the two fights, and if you offer him some serious money, he’ll come back. That’s what will happen because he’ll get sick of sitting around, and he won’t know what to do.
“They’ll offer him some really stupid money, and he’ll come back and beat whoever is the champion. As I said, he’s [Fury] in the conversation with the greatest heavyweight of all time. He’s fiercely competitive, and he’s an intelligent man too. He’s a very clever person. It’s good that he’s getting the recognition because that’ll mean a lot to him.
It’s an honor to be a part of it. I was genuinely happy, as happy as winning the fight myself. We worked on the strategy and he just carried it out perfectly,” said Lee of Fury. “It’s one thing having a game plan, training for it, and then having the fight and doing it. That’s what makes him so good,” said Lee.
It’s very likely that Fury will be lured out of retirement with a huge offer or fight contract, especially if he wins his next two fights. There’s no chance that Fury won’t receive huge offers for him to come out of retirement if he defeats Wilder and Joshua in his last two fights. If Fury’s goal is to become a billionaire, he’s got an excellent shot at doing that.
Fury followed the game plan perfectly to beat Wilder
“It was pure joy and satisfaction to see our plan executed to perfection, and it worked,” said Lee to Boxing Social on Fury’s win over Wilder. Wilder put on a great performance at the press conference. He out-talked and over-talked Tyson. That was good because he left feeling like, ‘I got a victory there. I won that.’ But that also takes away a little of the fight out of him.
“We knew it was the right approach to have, so we worked on it together,” said Lee of the aggressive style that Fury used against Wilder. Tyson was on board too. But at the last minute, I was wondering, ‘is this the right thing to do.
“Wilder is such a vicious puncher. Is it the right thing to stand in front of him? I was the one that recommended Sugar Hill, and I was the one that put this all together. If this goes wrong, if this game plan that we put together was wrong, it’s on me. I’m going to feel it the most. Obviously, I have an affinity for Tyson. We’ve always been close, we’re cousins.
“It’s not just a coach, but now it’s a coaching relationship. Before that, and it always will be, closer than that. I just believed that he was going to knock Wilder out. And I felt so good on the morning of the fight what kind of frame of mind he was in. I felt like this is going to be a great day,” said Lee.
One of the main differences between Fury and Wilder in the second fight was how they adhered to their respective game plans. Fury’s ability to follow instructions to the letter greatly helped him win.