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Heavyweight Trilogy: Berlanga, And More

Credit: PBC Boxing

Las Vegas- Not since the heavyweight days of Ali, Frazier, Holmes, Holyfield/Tyson, has this trilogy between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder gained so much anticipation. And not since all the others in boxing history, who have met once or three times, have WBC champion Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder creating one of the better anticipated trilogies in boxing history.

And that says a lot because the trilogy has been decisive. It settles the score, but this heavyweight title fight Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, a joint Top Rank (ESPN) and FOX SPORTS Pay-Per-View production, will be tense and unpredictable.

To get here, it has been a trilogy of long delays. Anthony Joshua had to step aside and he lost most of the heavyweight title belts a few weeks ago in London, so his mega heavyweight title fight with Fury, well that put an end to that.

There were legal hurdles. Fury was knocked out dealing with a bout of COVID-19, so the trilogy was postponed. Fury and Wilder developed that intense animosity for a trilogy that needs no hype.

And Deontay Wilder, after losing the title to Fury in their second bout, had every excuse in the book. HIs ring attire was too heavy, Fury’s gloves were not right. He drank the wrong water. Then, former world champion and Olympic medalist Mark Breland was fired for throwing in the towel. Breland did what any good corner man would do because his fighter had nothing and was hurt.

Deontay Wilder was beaten, and to Breland, safety of his fighter was more important than the heavyweight title. The devastating right of Wilder, he could never get it going. Tyson Fury made adjustments from that first fight almost three years ago that was remembered when he got up from that powerful Wilder right punch.

So now we are here. That second fight was a wakeup call for Wilder. No more time for excuses. The bash talking, insults, vulgarity, all of that ends when the bell rings Saturday night and they meet again after a long hiatus.

The final press conference Wednesday, and the weight-in Friday saw a difference. Fury and Wilder did nor face off. Fury’s Hall of Fame promoter, Bob Arum, informed FOX Sports personnel to keep them separated to avoid an on stage brawl that could jeopardize the fight.

Arum said they will settle this in the ring Saturday night.

And if all goes to plan, boxing fans will remember this one. Younger folks need to open the history books and look at the significance of those memorable 15-round heavyweight fights for the title because It was the birth of a heavyweight trilogy.

Though, nothing can top the build up and trilogy of Joe Frazier vs. Muhammad Ali, recenly remembered, October 1, 1975 at the Araneta Coliseum in Zaire. One promoter, closed circuit TV, and one heavyweight title for all the marbles.

Yet, so many Aii and Fury comparisons when it comes to showmanship. Ali was the master when it came to talk and creating a buzz, and Fury is no different with his chronicled struggles of mental depression and thoughs of suicide.

Fury, with his verbal attacks has apparently got to Wilder. Yes, before a significant fight all of this back-and-forth has made it more interesting,

And the non heavyweight trilogies of welterweights Artuto Gatti and Micky Ward, all slug fests and cuts over the eyes. Ward would take two of the three fights and the fighters became best friends out of the ring.

This fight, though, more than the others, is a Super Bowl of boxing and different from other sports because the only two players will be Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, and they had enough time to make the necessary adjustments.

They had an epic battle in 2018, a split decision draw. They did it again before the pandemic in February 2020, then, Wilder lost the WBC title and followed with all the excuses.

So, all week I was asked,”Who will win this fight?” Honestly, I could not make a pick. It will be competitive, and of course compelling because of the drama that has got Fury and Wilder to this point.

Both fighters weighed in at career highs, and will Fury see the Wilder right come into play? Fury, strong, but will 277 pounds impact his stamina? Widler is a lean and strong 238. Wilder, is seeking redemption the past year Malik Scott, who Wilder stopped in the first round of a fight in 2014, has replaced Breland in his corner.

Will Fury once again get to use his effective right? And will Fury dodge that punch and come to Wilder? Many of the questions probably won’t be answered early, and this trilogy could again come down to a decision.

You rather not see this in the hands of “Three Blind Mice” judges at ringside.

But Saturday night, we get another heavyweight trilogy. And with the history of Wilder and Fury, with the boxing world watching, all we can hope for is another historic outcome and of course no controversy.

BERLANGA ON UNDERCARD: Edgar “The Chosen One” Berlanga the Puerto Rican sensation who had an impressive pro debut streak stopped earlier this year opposes Marcelo Esteban on the undercard that will be televised on ESPN 2 and FX1.

“When I fight, I bring fireworks. I’m just a different type of fighter with a different type of energy. I belong on a major card like this,” Berlanga said. “It was a blessing to get rounds in during my last fight. I got the experience that I needed. It’s going to help my career knowing that feeling. My power was still there and we got the job done that night.

“We have a game plan for Saturday and we’re going to execute it like I always do. We’re not going to the scorecards. Get your popcorn ready and tune-in.”

THROWING THE PUNCHES: So that meaningless unified lightweight title of Teofimo Lopez is no longer in the hands of Triller Fight Club. All the back-and-forth and Triller said enough was enough. And meaningless more is the long and awaited title defense of Lopez against mandatory challenger George Kambosos Jr.

Matchroom and Eddie Hearn, second in line of the purse bid, now have the title fight and will announce a date and time soon that will be streamed on DAZN. Triller took a major financial hit, Lopez and Kambosos purses will be significantly less.

A year ago, the lightweight title was a talk of boxing. The Lopez title defense and all the postponements are meaningless as I reported here last week…

Rich Mancuso: Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

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