Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury fight to draw in heavyweight title bout

LOS ANGELES -- Well, at least they have a rematch clause.

Deontay Wilder dropped Tyson Fury twice, but Fury outboxed him for long stretches, leaving the judges a lot to pick from. In the end, they couldn't decide, and the heavyweight world championship fight was ruled a split draw Saturday night at Staples Center.

Wilder nearly stopped Fury in the 12th round with a hard knockdown, but Fury survived and stormed back for a memorable round of the year candidate in a fight that is likely to see a sequel.

From the moment the fight was made, Wilder promised he would do to Fury what he has done to every man he has faced, and that meant knocking him out. He came close, dropping Fury in the ninth round and again in the final round, but Fury showed the same kind of heart that helped him overcome the nightmare of the past three years since he won three major titles and the lineal title three years ago this week in a monumental upset of longtime champion Wladimir Klitschko.

But Fury never defended the belts, as his life went into a downward spiral because of drug and alcohol abuse, mental health issues -- including depression and suicidal thoughts -- and enormous weight gain, from around 260 pounds to 400.

But Fury, in part with motivation from Wilder, eventually got his life under control and returned to the ring in June after a 31-month layoff and won two fights in a row before agreeing to face Wilder.

He said winning would be "the first chapter of a new storybook, the beginning of a new life, a new era of Tyson Fury." But even though he did not win his comeback from the depths of addiction and mental illness remains something to behold as he and Wilder gave the fans a memorable, tension-filled fight.