Is Tyson Fury the most mentally strong heavyweight?
By Charles Brun: Tyson Fury’s ability to get up off the deck in the first fight with Deontay Wilder makes a case for him being the most mentally strong heavyweight in the division. Both of the knockdowns that Wilder scored were the type that could have led to the fight being halted.
The act of Fury getting up off the canvas in the 12th round in the first Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) fight showed mental toughness. At the same time, it wasn’t anything that Wilder himself didn’t do in his rematch with Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) last February.
Does Wilder deserve credit for getting off the deck twice? What Wilder endured was far worse than what Fury went through in the first fight. Wilder was bleeding from his left ear, and his equilibrium was shot after he was clubbed behind the head by Fury in round three.
It’s a subjective thing in picking which of the top heavyweights are most mentally strong. There isn’t an Evander Holyfield level heavyweight, who continually walked through fire against much bigger heavyweights.
At 6’9,” Fury has the size advantage over everyone he faces, and he’s not showing huge heart with his defensive style of fighting. If Holyfield is the gold standard from which we measure mental toughness in a heavyweight, Fury comes in far short of the mark. He’s too defensive, and his chin is far too weak to put him in the same class of mental toughness as Holyfield.
Joshua showed weakness against Ruiz
“By far, Tyson Fury,” said Atlas on THE FIGHT with Teddy Atlas. “After the way Joshua [failed against Andy Ruiz Jr in their first fight]. Listen, Joshua came back and redeemed himself.
“I will qualify that. But after the way that Joshua spit the bit in the first Joshua-Ruiz fight, could you really see Joshua getting up off the floor like Fury did in their first Wilder fight two times.
“I don’t think you could. I don’t think you could if you’re going, to be honest about it. The same question about Wilder. Could you see him getting up off the floor the way Fury did? After the wayWilder got beat by Fury but also disappeared by him in that fight.
“Look, I understand he got hit behind his ear in the third round that threw his equilibrium off. But if you know what you’re looking at, you could also see him evaporate mentally in the fight.
“He was being pushed back and not being able to be the bully, not being able to land that sledgehammer, and not being able to be the boss. You could see him disappearing.
“Maybe it was just a bad moment, but then he blames it on the suit he wore into the ring. With that, can you say that Wilder is stronger than Fury mentally? I don’t think so,” said Atlas.
Do Wilder and Joshua lack toughness?
“I don’t think Joshua and Wilder can make that statement based on the evidence in front of us if we’re honest about it if we examine it properly,” said Atlas. “The way that Wilder dropped.
“He’s the hardest puncher in the heavyweight, and maybe the hardest puncher ever in the heavyweight division. Maybe, maybe not. You got Joe Louis; you got Mike Tyson, you got Max Baer, you got Earnie Shavers, you got George Foreman. But he’s [Wilder] one of the hardest [punchers], and after the way he dropped Fury, I can’t imagine that Wilder, off of how he behaved in the last fight with Fury.
“I understand he got hit in this spot [behind the head]. I get it. But I can’t imagine that if he [Wilder] had been hit with that punch [in the first fight], he’d have been able to get up off the floor twice the way Fury did in the first fight. So I’m going to go with no contest in that one,” said Atlas.
If Wilder got hit with a shot like the one he felled Fury with in the 12th in their first fight, he probably would go down. But if he couldn’t get up from the knockdown. It would be the result of his chin rather than a lack of toughness. Joshua and Wilder aren’t weak mentally just because big shots hurt them. One of these days, when Fury is knocked out, will he lack toughness too? Some fans believe the referee saved Fury from a knockout in the first Wilder fight.
Did Fury show mental strength?
“It’s part of what made him mentally tough. How about that,” said Atlas in getting up off the deck twice in the first fight with Wilder. “Rather than it being his weakness, it might be his strength. He’s been there and seen things we haven’t seen.
“And he’s been able to think about and envision things that we haven’t been able to. He’s been to the brink, he’s been to the cliff, and he’s been to the dark caves where he wasn’t sure he was going to come out of. And he understands it can’t be darker. It can’t be undoable. Maybe that’s his strength,” said Atlas.
Getting up off the deck is something that any fighter does. You can’t say that Fury is any tougher than even a novice. Fighters instinctively get up after they’re knocked down.
It was admirable that Fury got up off the canvas after he was knocked down twice by Wilder in the first fight, but that doesn’t say much. Wilder also got up off the canvas twice in the second fight. So isn’t he getting credit from Atlas for his mental toughness?
It wasn’t just luck that helped Fury get up off the canvas. It was also the referee Jack Reiss, who could have stopped it when Fury went to sleep in round 12.
Joshua downplays Wilder’s power
“We’ve got a world champion in Tyson Fury. Great Britain is going a great job in the heavyweight division. We’re turning over some great fighters,” said Joshua to Sky Sports Boxing. “In terms of his win over Deontay Wilder, I said Tyson Fury was picked to win because he went 12 rounds after a long layoff.
“The only weapon Deontay Wilder had, in my opinion, was a decent jab and a decent right hand. Tyson Fury’s strategy was to put him on his back foot and take the play away from Deontay Wilder, as Deontay Wilder is a come-forward fighter when you throw the one-twos.
“Tyson Fury used those tactics, and they paid off. Congratulations to him. Imagine having an undisputed fight with two British heavyweights. That would be phenomenal. In the second fight, that’s the way to beat Deontay Wilder.
“Take it to him. If you look at some of his earlier fights with Luis Ortiz, I think some of the main challenges with Deontay Wilder has faced in his career where he had problems is Luis Ortiz and Tyson Fury.
“Luis Ortiz was taking it to Deontay Wilder, and he was losing every round. Unfortunately, he got caught with a big shot, and he couldn’t recover. Tyson Fury realized that he was going to take it t Deontay Wilder and I’m not going to get caught with that right hand. That’s all I have to do to get this victory. He did it, and it paid off,” said Joshua.
You can say that Joshua has an ax to grind when it comes to Deontay because he’d wanted to face him from 2016 to 2020, and he never got a chance. So instead of Joshua being the one that dethroned Wilder, it was Fury.
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