And I am so glad he is. He did it just the way I hoped he would, with his mythological, fantastic power. He only landed three punches. OMG that’s amazing. He is back. He is all the way back.
Yes, I believe that like me, everyone on the Wilder team figured this to be a easy night, and like Fury’s fighting Schwartz this was a little seedy, a little cheap. The difference was Wilder coming off back-to-back knockout losses, Fury was coming off an extended bender. We wanted, no needed to see if the monster inside Fury had survived (See That Terrible Miniaturization below).
Here is my sincerest hope for the heavyweight division: That someone beats Fury, and with no stinking rematch clause in their contract. Let the Big Tosser wait in the wings, floating in cloudless climes and starry skies, ever hoping to get his hands on a title shot that remains just out of reach… That would be some poetic justice right there. It also might allow some real compelling fights to take place.
I just wrote about the long list of ‘mandatory challengers’ (see Bottleneck, below) Add Wilder to that list. What remains is for the Wanker to sign to fight one of them. Seriously, if he follows through with his plan to fight Mahmoud Charr, he needs to have his belt taken away. That way it could go to a man willing to fight for it.
But back to Wilder: The punch that leveled Helenius was very reminiscent of the ‘Phantom Punch’ that felled Liston in 1965. Wilder, like Ali was moving backward, then planted his right foot and delivered a short, chopping blow that removed his man from his senses.
This is making me reconsider my opinion on Ali / Liston.
At first, many years ago, I saw the film clip at normal speed and without zooming in and I didn’t see the punch either. This was a great mystery to me. I did not want to think of Ali cheating somehow, so I let it be a mystery.
Then later I saw a slowed down and zoomed-in version in the film When We were Kings. They also had Ali describing the punch as his “anchor punch” and he quipped that no one saw the punch because they all blinked at the same time. But that time I could see the punch, and the impact on Liston’s head and how his left foot came off the canvas. All these things made an actual knockout seem more plausible.
It was the fish-flop that Liston did that looked phony to me. I eventually heard some wag (it may have been Bert Sugar, I don’t remember) point out the two hard shots that Ali landed at the opening bell. They happen so fast that I, as did the man calling the TV play-by-play didn’t notice them. But Liston noticed. The theory is that he got whacked right out of the gate, followed by two minutes of fruitless lunging and missing, just like the first fight. The thought is that he got so discouraged that he was looking for a way out when *Bam!* A flash knockdown! Here was his chance to escape further humiliation, and thus, the fish-flop. This was Liston’s clumsy and improvised escape.
Now I wonder… I don’t think Helenius was faking.
I read that he was paid roughly a million dollars to get his nose flattened.
Which is somewhat gratifying. I found it very sad indeed that he was only paid $30,000 to fight Kownacki, and $75,000 for the rematch, where he got clocked in the nuts, several times. At least he got a bigger paycheck for this nighty-night performance. For I expect we’ll not see much of the “Nordic Nightmare” from now on. After all, Wilder knocked Breazeale into obscurity in just the same way.
Earlier in his career (2010 and 2011) Helenius beat Lamon Brewster, Samuel Peter and Derek Chisora. In more recent times, he lost to Gerald Washington and Dillion Whyte, and some fellow named Johann Duhaupas. All in all a pretty impressive record. I hope he can take pride in it and find something else to do now. And I hope the million bucks helps him get it started.