After a wild shootout in the desert, Tyson Fury was quoting the most famous movie cowboy of them all as he got off the floor twice to knockout Deontay Wilder in the 11th round to put a full stop on the end of their trilogy.
Size was what won it for Fury in the end. Much is made of his boxing ability but he just wore Wilder out, slowly disarming him as he brought his weight advantage to bear. But the American, who had lost the WBC heavyweight title to Fury 20 months ago, showed remarkable bravery to stick in a fight when he looked to be fighting on the brink of exhaustion from the fifth round onwards in one of the most thrilling heavyweight fights in years.
In total there were five knockdowns. Wilder was on the floor in the third, 10th, and from the final blow of the fight, in the 11th. Fury was down twice in the fourth as Wilder threatened to turn the fight around.
“Like the great John Wayne said: I am made of pig iron and steel, baby,” Fury said. “It was a great fight tonight worthy of any trilogy in the sport.
“I’ve always said I’m the best in the world and he’s the second best. Don’t ever doubt me. When the chips are down, I always deliver.”
There had been three postponements and one legal ruling since they last fought each other on the other side of the Las Vegas Strip when Fury shocked the world by going on the front foot and taking the fight to Wilder – tactics that worked out incredibly well as the American fell apart under Fury’s pressure.
This time Fury started as if he wanted to box more, but it was Wilder’s own aggressive start that forced the Englishman to stand and fight.
It was Wilder who dominated the opening, concentrating his attack to the body with long jabs and arching rights. Fury backed off but got through with a right of his own late on in the round.
Fury was a bit more aggressive in the second, as he was able to counter Wilder who tended to launch his attacks from too far away, although referee Russell Mora had to get involved as they got tangled up.
Getting in a wrestling match with a much bigger, heavier man was never going to end well for Wilder and he started to look tired as early as the third round, when, despite landing a long right hand, Fury started to bring his pressure to bear and send him to the canvas with a clubbing right to the side of the head.
Already Wilder looked on borrowed time and, while he survived the round, he looked on unsteady legs at the start of the fourth round. Wounded, though, Wilder proved to be dangerous as he walked Fury into a massive right hand. Initially Fury looked to have taken the punch, but as he raised his hand to block a follow up, his legs gave way and he stumbled to the floor.
Fury’s instinct was to fight his way out of trouble, but another chopping right sent him to the floor again.
That could have been Wilder’s big chance, but both looked tired in the fifth round, where Fury seemed to hurt Wilder with a right, before Wilder landed two big right hands as Fury backed away.
From the sixth round, though, Fury seemed to find a second wind as he walked down Wilder and leant on him as they got close to bring his weight to bear on the smaller man.
Wilder began to unravel again in the seventh, as the strength seemed to drain from him and Fury kept the pressure on. He withstood one hard right, but after another he was in unsteady in his legs and falling back over the ropes.
The eighth was another rough one for Wilder, as Fury took his time, using his jab but then landed hurtful shots up close that had Wilder wobbling.
The American poured every bit of effort into the ninth round, as he scored with a flurry off the ropes and landed a big right uppercut in the dying seconds, but Fury had him.
Wilder was on the floor again in the 10th, as his legs betrayed him after he was caught by a right around the ear. But he was staggering all over the place before somehow summoning another effort in the last few seconds.
The end came early in the 11th. Fury landed a big right with Wilder on the ropes and this time there was no escape for Wilder. As the American tried to hold, Fury kept throwing punches, landing a right uppercut and then another big right dropped him heavily by the ropes, referee Mora instantly waving it off.
“He’s a great fighter, Deontay Wilder, he gave me a real fight tonight,” Fury said, although he was critical of the American who he said had declined to acknowledge him when he tried to speak to him after.
"I went over to give him love and respect but he didn’t give any back,” Fury said. “I’ll pray for him.
“I was one punch away from the knockdown the whole fight. I’m now the greatest heavyweight of my era without any doubt.”