This Saturday night the rematch from a controversial bout between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury takes place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on FOX/ESPN PPV. Most experts and fans alike assume that the only way Wilder will win is by knockout and Tyson Fury, if victorious, would win via decision. Can each man improve on their performances from the first duel back in December 2018? Will Wilder again settle for lead right hands in search of knockout instead of setting up his deadly punch with a jab and body work? Will Fury actually do what he has said of late and bring the fight right to Wilder? Let’s dig into the biggest heavyweight fight on American soil since Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis in 2002.
The buzz surrounding this rematch bout is real and judging by the handlers of this event the live gate could exceed the 15 million dollar range, which is quite an accomplishment considering a few things. Prior to 2015 the heavyweight scene in America was basically non-existent to mediocre at best due to the Klitschko brothers’ decade-long reign that took place mostly in Germany. Without a true U.S. representative not many casuals or mainstream sports fans knew who the champion was. Oscar De La Hoya had grabbed the attention for the welterweights, eventually passing the torch to Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. In 2015 there were signs of possible momentum when early in the year Deontay Wilder captured the WBC strap beating Bermane Stiverne. Near the end of that same year Tyson Fury did what many thought was impossible at the time by upsetting Wladimir Klitschko.
In the background Anthony Joshua had won a gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics close to where he grew up in London. Joshua closed out 2015 by beating an undefeated fighter in Dillian Whyte and in the spring of 2016 took a title vacated by Tyson Fury off of Charles Martin. Tyson would never defend his belts, instead falling into a deep hole of abusing drugs and depression. After being featured on NBC in front of a peak audience of over 3 million viewers, it looked as though 2016 was going to be a breakout year for Deontay Wilder. 10 days away from a real life ‘Rocky’ scenario, Wilder’s opponent Alexander Povetkin failed a VADA test coming up with trace amounts of a banned substance. Two more appearances on network television this time on FOX for Wilder also came along with two more fighters popping dirty drug tests.
In 2017, Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko engaged in a spirited-contest that saw both men hit the canvas but it would be A.J. that would get a drama-filled victory in Wembley Stadium with 90,000 fans on hand. Wilder knocked out Luis Ortiz in March of 2018 but it didn’t come easy as Deontay was on shaky legs for a large chunk of a round. A month later Joshua unified titles against Joseph Parker, setting the stage for a major fight to crown a undisputed champion of sorts at heavy, minus Tyson Fury. In the meantime Fury had worked his self back into shape over a 6 month period and eventually returned to the ring that same spring of 2018. The back and forth mostly through the media between the camps of Wilder and Joshua ended up to be just talk, opening the door for Tyson Fury to jump right back in the heavyweight scene after losing some 100+ pounds.
In the first go around Fury outboxed Wilder for the most part, beyond maybe two swing rounds where not much happened through 8 frames. In the ninth round Wilder landed a right hand behind the ear and one to the back of the head, sending Fury to the canvas. Fury would go on to fire back and finish strong in the 10th and 11th setting up for an epic final round. Wilder threw a 1-2 and finally connected on a hard right hand cleaning it up with a left hook to boot as Fury went crashing to the canvas seemingly dead to the world. Somehow Fury managed to rise from the grave and after a minute or so of withstanding a few more shots, Wilder had gassed. Fury went on to land a 3 or 4 heavy shots of his own and it looked as though Fury had done enough to win.
Most folks believe Fury won a considerable more amount of rounds than Wilder and even if a person scored the fight 8-4, it would still had given Fury the nod minus the two knockdowns, making it 114-112.
Heading into this much-anticipated rematch there are a few things both fighters can improve upon. This boxing podcasters first two-part question reads like this. Will Wilder’s ever-flowing well finally dry up or will the right hand boon continue? It was clear as day Wilder was forcing his lead right hand in order to end the fight in dramatic fashion. Fury is too good on defense, especially when Wilder was way too far away from his target. On the Fury side it seems as though Tyson has realized that you have to make an opponent pay along with making him miss, so look for an uptick in punch output. I also believe the same about Wilder and the need to punch more rather than rely on a homerun.
Wilder will need to jab, as he did early and late, way more this time around, whether it’s to blind Fury or to throw it at the stomach or chest. Wilder also should throw his right hand to the body or shoulders of Fury, ensuring he’s landing more but also wearing down Fury minute by minute. Fury has spoken about bringing the fight to Wilder on the inside but the chances of him employing that style of game plan for most of the fight is highly unlikely. Fury did throw plenty of feints in his herky-jerk style and also was able to land clean at times in two-punch combos but will need to do that sort of thing more to show the judges he’s scoring points.
This boxing junkie doesn’t believe Fury will rage forward but he will mix it up more in the second fight using mini-attacks and then resetting on the outside. Don’t be surprised to see Fury using a southpaw stance and some inside work, which makes sense to be in close, keeping him out of range and at the end of Wilder’s power punches. However, Wilder could catch him on the side of the head from up close, not to mention the risk of a head clash that could open the vicious cut Fury received from a punch back in September against Otto Wallin. Another reason I don’t see Tyson remaining on the inside for long is the action will be broken up and somewhat faster with Kenny Bayless as the referee. The point being is every time the clinch is broken up Tyson then has to put himself in range of an incoming 1-2 from Wilder and it just doesn’t seem worth the risk.
Fury should be up say 3-1 after 4 rounds by using rapid fire jab and feints, once in an while adding a power shot to the head and body. Fury does have good timing but he’s not as good as counter puncher or one-punch hitter as Luis Ortiz, equating to a more aggressive Wilder in the rematch then the overly-patient ‘Bronze Bomber’ we witnessed back in November versus Ortiz. If Wilder does in fact focus on using his jab and landing punches not just the head but Fury’s body it will lead to victory presumably by highlight-reel KO.
But Fury has multiple ways to win a round and this hack-of-a-scribe will rely on the historical data that tells us the boxer generally separates further from the puncher in a rematch. Fury will use his ring IQ and do most of his work on the outside or on the edge of the pocket. When the fight gets close to the ropes Fury will either turn Wilder and launch an attack or clinch him. With both men upping their punch rate we should get a fight that features more sustained action.
If Fury can win 8 rounds and not get stopped he will get his hand raised. Although Wilder is a bigger name stateside, Fury does have Top Rank in his corner now, along with the powers that be in Las Vegas wanting a trilogy if at all possible. The multi-dimensional Fury will clever his way to a victory as long as he can stay awake and upright for a full 12 rounds.
Side Note: The Wilder-Fury rematch undercard is underwhelming but the co-feature Charles Martin vs. Gerald Washington is a decent crossroads fight that could give us some two-way fun action to enjoy.