By Lem Satterfield
"He can run, but he can't hide."
That’s what Joe Louis said about undersized heavyweight Billy Conn, who was slightly shorter (6-foot-2-to-6-foot-1/2), lighter (199-to-174 pounds) and planned to out-box “The Brown Bomber” throughout their legendary 15-round clash in June 18, 1941.
Ahead on two judges’ cards with one even entering the 13th, “The Pittsburgh Kid” got greedy, abandoned his hit-and-run strategy and went for the KO.
Louis battering Conn senseless.
A right hand to the temple punctuated a seemingly endless volley of blows as Conn fell forward to the canvas, unable to beat the count.
Conventional wisdom has 6-foot-9 lineal champion Tyson Fury (27-0, 19 KOs) -- dimensions aside --using similar chicanery to neutralize and dethrone the 6-foot-7 Bronze Bomber” Deontay Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs), a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist seeking an eighth straight knockout in as many WBC heavyweight title defenses against “The Gypsy King” thanks primarily to his lights-out right hand.
“I don’t know how many rounds it’s going to go, but I would say somewhere between the mid-to later rounds, depending on how fast I adjust to Fury,” said Wilder, 33, of his December 1 clash with Fury on Showtime Pay-Per-View from The Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“But once I make the adjustment, and when I connect, it’s going to be a devastating knockout. This is going to be one of those knockouts where Tyson Fury’s entire body spins around before he hits the canvas. Don’t go to the bathroom or the concession stand, because you might miss it.”
Most believe that Fury would be wise not to directly engage Wilder, who is coming off a two-knockdown, 10th-round stoppage of previously unbeaten Cuban southpaw Luis Ortiz in March.
Better for Fury to employ the wizardry of his career-defining unanimous decision over long-reigning Wladimir Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs), a feat that ended 6-foot-6 “Dr. Steelhammer’s” dominance at 22-0 (15 KOs) and 11 ½ years as Fury became lineal IBF/WBA/WBO/IBO champion in November 2015.
But Fury didn't completely agree during a Tuesday conference call.
“At the end of the day, it’s a fight, and there comes a time in the fight where these two big heavyweights are gonna stand and fight and punch each other. When that moment comes, we’re gonna see who’s the better fighter,” said Fury, 30, who can supplant 6-foot-6 IBF/WBA/WBO/IBO champion Anthony Joshua (22-0,21 KOs) as the world’s No. 1 heavyweight by defeating Wilder.
“The fans ain’t losing because they get to see two heavyweight fighters punch each other to pieces. Make no mistake, I can box on my toes for 12 rounds, but it’s only a 20-foot ring, and we’re two very big men. So at some point, I’m gonna have to stand and fight. And when that point comes, I’m very confident that I can withstand his power and knock him out in return. I’m willing to take his knockout punches to land mine.”
Wilder was ringside in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in August for Fury’s unanimous decision over Francesco Pianeta, representing his second fight since Klitschko following June’s fourth-round stoppage of Sefer Seferi. Wilder said he'll benefit from that experience along with having been Klitschko’s primary sparring partner as a 27-year-old in advance of the then-unified champion’s unanimous decision over Mariusz Wach in November 2012.
“When I was sparring with Klitschko, I was the No. 1, primary sparring partner. They gave me a bonus and everything for going 50-some rounds with Klitschko. There were four or five other guys there, but every day, it was me and Klitschko and I never complained. I was the only one sparring with this guy, and I was getting the experience that I would need for very special occasions like this one with Tyson Fury. Tyson is very tall, awkward and has a boxing pedigree,” said Wilder.
“He’s been there before and he’s a champion. He’s the man who beat the man in Klitschko. All of those attributes contribute to Tyson Fury being a dangerous and difficult opponent. The only problem is that Tyson Fury is facing someone who is of equal or greater danger than him. I’ve also got a body attack, and I’m going for everything. If Tyson does certain moves, then I am going to go to his body. I already know some of the moves he’s gonna be making, so I expect to do that.”