It seems absurd to recall how this third instalment was regarded a few months ago as an inconvenient encore, designed to satisfy a man who could not accept that he had been fairly beaten. When an arbitrator found in favour of Wilder’s insistence on another rematch, it was depicted as a needless roadblock en route to the only fight any purist wanted to see, an all-British showdown between Fury and Anthony Joshua.
Seldom has that contest looked so uneven. The manner of Joshua’s defeat last month to Oleksandr Usyk, coupled with Fury’s devilish ringcraft in quelling Wilder for good, should help form a picture of two boxers on opposite trajectories. At this rate, Fury’s prediction that he would finish his compatriot off within three rounds seems anything but fanciful.
For years, Joshua has revelled in his billing as the heavyweight whose fights stop the nation, but it is Fury who has compiled the more impressive body of work. While the high-water mark of Joshua’s career came when he stopped a 41-year-old Wladimir Klitschko, Fury has consigned the division’s most devastating one-punch knockout merchant to oblivion. Plus, he has managed it all without home advantage, winning each of his past four fights in Las Vegas. By the time he had demolished Wilder once more, he had converted the locals to his cause, treating them to a surprisingly tuneful take on Walking in Memphis.