Tyson Fury told us he would demolish the most devastating puncher of all with a performance the world would talk about for 50 years. Make that 100.
The Gypsy King rules and, if his huge heart desires and his ambition keeps burning, he can reign unchallenged as the heavyweight supreme for years to come and his name will resonate down the ages whenever fighting men gather to talk of legends and monsters of the ring.
The opposing giant he battered to a pulp here would be unwise in the extreme to risk his life by triggering the loser’s contractual right to a third fight. This trilogy could end with a eulogy.
Wilder’s handlers spoke bravely for him from their seats of safety while he lay in hospital recovering from this beating. He has 30 days in which to contradict them and should use the time well.
There is inevitable talk of Fury fighting Anthony Joshua to give heavyweight boxing the undisputed world champion it needs but it is by no means certain that his fellow Brit will relish following Wilder into these paws of destruction. AJ’s connections may be even less enthusiastic about jeopardising their lavish meal ticket.
Fury told us he would reconfigure the world of boxing and now his dominion extends far beyond this fight capital of the world. It reaches out across the entire spectrum of the hardest, oldest, game for him surely to be acclaimed as boxing’s pound-for-pound ruler. All 273lbs of him.
In his crown and robes he was carried into the MGM Grand Garden Arena on a golden throne. From there he ascended into the pantheon of greatness and legendary American promoter Bob Arum was inspired to speak of him in not only the same breath but also a parallel context with Muhammad Ali.
Time will tell but suddenly that does not feel so much of a heresy. As of this moment, he stands above argument as the top-most heavyweight of his time.
He has completed his full set of all the glittering prizes by adding Wilder’s long-defended WBC title as well as the Ring Magazine belt to the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO championships he held after bringing down Wladimir Klitschko. All in addition to the lineal title which was his already.
He has done so with the greatest achievement by a British boxer abroad. Sorry Lennox Lewis and Lloyd Honeyghan, your heir has arrived, with a nuclear bang.
But it even goes beyond all that. His is now one of the most amazing sporting comebacks of all time. For three years after his bedazzling of Klitschko he plunged back into the depths of the chronic depression which has haunted him all his life. Into drug abuse, obesity and sloth.
Now he is not only ruler of the sport he surveys but a champion for mental health. This is not only redemption. This is resurrection. If it was a miracle that he rose after being knocked unconscious by Wilder in their first drawn fight, then this completes a second coming of near-Biblical proportions. It was created not just out of his God-given talent but by decisions born of genius.
Fury told us that letting go his saviour of a trainer Ben Davison to alter the then-elusive, defensive direction of his boxing was the best decision of his life.
Astonishing justification came with the implementation of Detroit’s old Kronk gym methods of training for knockouts designed by the late, great Manny Steward and inherited by his nephew Javan SugarHill to employ with Fury.
Suddenly, in eight weeks, he transformed himself from dancing and dodging to pressing and punching. He closed the space Wilder needs to launch that right hand of 41 knockouts in 43 previous fights, while belabouring the American with blows reinforced by the additional poundage he deliberately gained.
Not back to fat. Back to the future ‘at my best fighting weight’. Back to such malevolent purpose that he won all six rounds before the concluding seventh, two of them including brutal knockdowns.
He was deducted one point for hitting on the break but as he said: ‘Never again was I letting it go to the judges.’
The hitherto undefeated Wilder was a effectively a beaten man by the end of the first round, having been left-jabbed on to retreat and clubbed into a fog. So it went with the rounds and the knock-downs to the seventh, when Fury pounded Wilder mercilessly on the ropes until referee Kenny Bayless intervened at the moment his corner threw in the towel.
‘I wish they had let me go out on my shield,’ said Wilder.
‘They did,’ said Fury. ‘He took all the big shots with true bravery.’
The Gypsy King gently mocked the man from Tuscaloosa, Alabama by the choice of tune for his customary victory sing-along in the ring with the Brits and fellow travellers who comprised a jubilant three quarters of the sell-out 16,000 crowd as they sang: Bye, Bye Miss American Pie.
There was no serious gloating but Fury did refer to Wilder’s questioning of his punching power by saying: ‘Not bad, eh, for a fighter who’s supposed to have pillows for fists.’
Then he set off in one of his picture-postcard suits to party the night away in Hakkasan. Only the hottest night spot on the Strip for the hottest property in boxing.
The Gypsy King had told us this was the way it would be. By heavens we should have listened.
From now on, as one of many who predicted that this would be a bridge too far, I promise to believe his every word.