When it comes to valour beyond the call of duty, resilience to withstand punishing fire, capacity to produce the highest skill on the precipice of exhaustion and refusal to accept the spectre of defeat no matter how excruciating the pain there is nothing to compare with this in sport. Nothing.
What we were privileged to witness here on Saturday night stands favourable comparison with any achievement on any field of play. Ever.
When he was acclaimed last week as potentially even mightier than Muhammad Ali sceptical eyebrows were raised but Tyson Fury stands now among the noblest legends of the prize ring. With Deontay Wilder close behind.
Tyson Fury is undoubtedly one of boxing’s greats after his victory over Deontay Wilder
Fury now stands alongside Muhammad Ali (right) among the noblest legends of boxing
Fury’s impressive victory against Wilder was one of the greatest heavyweight fights of all time
The heart stopping spectacle these two gladiators produced was not only a clarion call for boxing but one of the supreme heavyweight fights of all time.
In truth there were times when it defied belief. So violent were the exchanges, so brutal the onslaughts, so unremitting the pace.
Perhaps only the final act of the Ali-Joe Frazier three-parter – the Thrilla In Manila which The Greatest said took him closest to death – can be mentioned in the same gasping breath.
Fury-Wilder – which also stands now as an epic ring trilogy – was brought to its palpitating conclusion by Fury in this, the defining moment of his career.
Only the Thrilla in Manila in 1975 when Muhammad Ali (left) beat Joe Frazier (right) can compare to Fury’s fight with Wilder
Twice he rose from being laid low by one of the most devastating punchers in the annals of the hardest game to go on and apply the two murderous 11th round knockdowns which ended this tumultuous affair.
Wilder had suffered the first of the five crash landings in this war. They might have hit the canvas half-a-dozen times each as they staggered in turn and turnabout from sledgehammer blows and clung on for dear life. Twice in Fury’s case to be saved by the bell.
Neither would succumb and even when Wilder was sent sprawling headlong for the final time he was struggling again to regain his feet and the referee had to prevent him trying to continue. He needed to go to hospital, not into a 12th, final and conceivably fatal round.
The accolades began scorching the airwaves on this desert night. To begin with from Fury’s UK and US promoters.
Frank Warren: ‘We saw incredible history made. ‘
Bob Arum: ‘This is the most fantastic heavyweight fight I’ve seen in all my many years.’
People much younger than he might never have conceived such heart-stopping living theatre to be possible.
This was a fight for the ages. Past, present and hopefully future if it captivates the imagination of younger generations.
And why not? Even in this year of the Olympics and Euros has there been a more exciting, riveting experience? Think not.
Follow that ! With what for Fury? After healing his wounds in the bosom of his family ‘and perhaps on a road trip around Lancashire with my father John in our Gypsy caravans’ who is the opponent to add yet more lustre to his legacy?
Anthony Joshua can count himself lucky that the megafight with Fury fell through on the evidence of his weak performance two Saturdays earlier in losing his world titles to Olexsandr Usyk, who is brilliant but too small for this task.
Fury says: ‘I want to continue to prove myself the best heavyweight of my generation by beating the best of the rest.
Despite being laid low twice, Fury responded to apply two murderous 11th round knockdowns
It will be intriguing to see what Fury’s next move is following this spectacular fight
‘But as I’ve always said, I’m the best and Deontay is the second best. And it took the two of us to make a great fight like this one.’