The crowd watched with bated breath as the two juggernauts pounded on each other with bad intentions.
In the red corner stood a defiant Deontay Wilder, determined to redeem his tarnished image by either a resounding win or “going out on his shield.”
Death Of The American Heavyweight
By the eleventh round of the twelve-round affair, it was apparent that Wilder’s latter option would be the reality. A series of phone booth close-up temple shots flattened Wilder, who couldn’t find his legs, and the ropes wouldn’t prop up.
The Bronze Bomber fell flat on his shield, as it were.
For the Fury faithful, it was the outcome they craved in their second pairing. For the Wilder adamant, the idea of the great American heavyweight had died.
All Eyes On Europe
All the current marquee options in the heavyweight division reside in Europe. With the rematch clause between former heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua and newly minted one, Oleksandr Usyk, all eyes are on Europe.
Additionally, Dillian Whyte, the bomber from Brixton, just suffered a shoulder injury in training that postponed his Oct. 30 fight against Otto Wallin. The winner of that fight is Fury’s mandatory, but now there is no date when that bout will be rescheduled.
Wilder’s final fall to Fury put the nail in the coffin of the American heavyweight division. In the top ten heavyweight list, the only other American aside from Wilder is Andy Ruiz.
When Ruiz defeated Anthony Joshua back in 2019, the Californian took pride as the first-ever Mexican heavyweight champion. Ruiz was born in the Inland Empire area of California but had Mexican heritage.
The point is that he resonated more with Mexico than America.
A Legacy Like No Other
The lineage of the American heavyweight is lengthy and legendary. Jack Johnson challenged the racial overtones of the entire nation when he became the first Black heavyweight champion. Muhammad Ali pushed the narrative further into icon status when he defeated Sonny Liston and ushered in the ear of the activist-athlete.
Ali’s era was full of legendary battles like his trilogy with Joe Louis or the Rumble in The Jungle against a younger, more formidable George Foreman.
The ’90s saw Mike Tyson evolve the image of the heavyweight into a formidable menacing presence capable of destroying your career with one shot.
Add the gold medal Olympic greatness of Evander Holyfield, Shannon Briggs, Riddick Bowe, Lamon Brewster, and the ’90s kept America’s heavyweight prowess alive.
Then it was over.
The Klitschko brothers of Vitali and Wladimir came out of Germany, hijacked the heavyweight division in the early 2000s, and took it to Europe. When they released the titles in the 2010s, it took international fighters to wrest the belts.
Wilder’s 2018 Beijing Olympic bronze medalist status was America’s last great hope on the global heavyweight stage. He had defeated all American heavyweights in his era, like Bermane Stiverne, Eric Molina, Chris Arreola, Gerald Washington, and Dominic Breazeale.
All other high-level prospects are scattered across the world or emanating from the United Kingdom. While America accepted the hype value set by Tyson Fury in exchange for the excuses made by Deontay Wilder, we lost our last chance atop boxing’s highest peak.
That is why Wilder’s last stand was so great, although it was painful to see him go out on his shield. It left the collective American consciousness with a final heavyweight battle for the ages.
Savor it, because the American heavyweight will experience a dark age again, and you will miss everything you once had.