Final three minutes of first heavyweight title pay-per-view bout in America since 2002 produced one of the year's best knockdowns—and perhaps and even more impressive recovery.
Showtime analyst and International Boxing Hall of Famer Al Bernstein called it one of the most astonishing things he’s ever seen in the boxing ring.
The final three minutes of December’s epic heavyweight showdown between WBC heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder and lineal titleholder Tyson Fury produced one of the year’s most ferocious knockdowns—when Wilder caught Fury with a wicked right hand and dropped him to the canvas with a devastating following left hook at 2:22 into the 12th round. But, perhaps even more incredible, was how Fury recovered to beat referee Jack Reiss’ 10-count and rose from the canvas ala WWE superstar The Undertaker as an astonished crowd of 17,698 fans inside STAPLES Center cheered all the way to the conclusion of the first heavyweight title pay-per-view bout in America since 2002.
“I hope I did you all proud after nearly three years out of the ring. I was never going to be knocked down tonight. I showed good heart to get up. I came here tonight and I fought my heart out,” said Fury, who had battled mental illness, substance abuse and extreme weight gain since his career-defining victory over Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015.
Wilder was convinced divine intervention was the only way Fury was able to rise like Lazarus from his thundering shot.
“You know, only God knows how he got back up,” the 33-year-old Wilder said. I literally seen this man’s eyes rolling in the back of his head. And I seen Jack on the ground, checking him, and I said ‘It’s over.’”
It wasn’t and while several other fights, including April’s thrilling 154-pound title unification between Jarrett Hurd and Erislandy Lara, produced exciting Round-of-the-Year candidates—none provided as much theatrics as the final stanza between Wilder and Fury ... which left everyone waiting for the rematch.
For all of the year-end honors, visit our Best of PBC 2018 page.