The final chapter to the trilogy between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder takes place this Saturday night in Sin City, Las Vegas, Nevada. They say the “third time is a charm,” and from a spectator standpoint, let’s hope this 3rd installment is the best one of the bunch. The heavyweight-themed card also features a few intriguing bouts, which is not always the case. This stacked PPV is an ESPN/FOX split-venture and can be purchase on a wide variety of platforms, including a cheaper alternative in movie theaters across the country. The biggest question heading into the third fight is will it be competitive? Can Deontay find a way to change the tide from the beat down he took in the second fight? Also, what does sustained success look like for Wilder beyond just landing a huge right hand? We all know the backgrounds and stories from these two rivals so let’s jump directly into the preview and prediction.
On the surface, judging by the first eight rounds in fight one and the last five frames of the rematch, one would assume Wilder only has a puncher’s chance to win on Saturday. However, much has been made on YouTube and boxing Twitter about the videos Wilder has released over the last few months. In the footage, it’s clear to see Wilder is working on a few different items that we don’t see much of from him on fight night. We’ve seen more upper body/head movement, using his left hook for something other than a jab, and body punching. Even his footwork is taking steps to the side overall, looking lighter on his feet. Not that we haven’t see Wilder do some of those things. It just typically doesn’t last for long. Once he gets a guy hurt, Deontay goes into windmill mode, attempting to take the head off of his opponent but missing badly.
Most of the time, when Wilder lands his knockout punch, it comes from a jab/right hand, leads right, or even once in a while, a counter right. It’s a thing of beauty so smooth and rapidly finding its target like a heat-seeking missile. And just a fast as it landed, we won’t see it again, and then it’s back to Wilder in head-hunting mode and getting wild with his punches. Is it possible for Wilder to fight an intelligent fight focused on wearing down Fury with shot after shot, maybe even winning more rounds in the process? The first thought is training to use your all-around game isn’t something you can pick up in the first outing with a new trainer. However, a deeper dive may bode well for Wilder, given that he and Malik have been working on these “new” skills for quite some time. The rematch was in February 2020, so that’s around 18-19 months to rinse and repeat.
Doing drills consistently and carrying it over into sparring is the first step, but at some point, it has to translate into a real fight. However, it’s not like Wilder needs to throw 80 punches around. On the contrary, he only has to throw and land several more times per round. If the rounds are closer, it gives him a better chance to land the best punch, which could give him a few more rounds, not to mention set up his right hand for the kill. Watching back both fights recently, it’s not entirely out of the realm for Wilder to improve, say 10-15%.
Fury is not known for his activity, and looking back on those first eight rounds in 2018, the narrative that Wilder was dominated is false. In reality, only a few good punches, sometimes literally one late clean land, was enough for Fury to win most of the rounds. The 10-2 scorecard that so many folks regurgitate is not true because not much happens in many of those rounds. Don’t get me wrong, it may be only 1 or 2 rounds you could give to Wilder, but it wasn’t as simple as 10-2.
Wilder landed a few flush rights hands in the rematch, and a non-biased eye may lean round 2 for Wilder. After that equilibrium shot changed the fight for good in the 3rd round, and it was easy to see Wilder’s legs were gone. Tyson and his trainer Sugar Hill even recently said he ate two big punches and decided to cut the distance and take the fight on the inside directly at Wilder. Fury also did a great job roughhousing Wilder with a close-line left hook, body shots, and right hands landing routinely on the ear or side of the head. What’s to stop Fury from using that same game plan on Saturday? What makes it even more difficult to pick against Fury say Wilder does neutralize Tyson’s inside game. He can move at a more comfortable range and go all the way outside and use his boxing ability and reach.
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. To an extent, I think that’s very true, and I fully admit I could be stretching here by saying the 3rd fight will be the funniest and most two-way of the series. To be fair, Wilder only needs to win 1 or 2 more rounds to make it seem closer than it has been. This boxing podcaster could be drinking the Kool-aid, but I do see Wilder having more sustained success and at least somewhat upping his punch rate, which in turn should make Tyson punch more as well. Another item to look for will come Friday at the weigh-in to see how much weight Wilder and Fury put on. That could be a big thing with so many rumors of Tyson’s training camp swirling along with knowing how the new weight looks on Deontay.
The jab for both men is a significant piece to the puzzle, but Wilder will need more than just a few more landed around. If Wilder can throw the jab as a range-finder, with authority to the chest, body, and head, now were cooking. Also, yes, his left hook will need to be in play more but let’s focus on that right hand. Wherever Wilder lands his devastating right hand, it will hurt that area, and he did say he will throw it to the body, hip, arm, neck. The point is just throwing that damn thing more.
At some point early in the fight, Wilder will need to find a way to back Tyson Fury up because we can’t say with much certainty what answers Deontay will have on the inside in the clinch. Wilder will need to hurt and drop Fury at the end of the day because of the lead Tyson will likely have on rounds. Although a better fight with more pace could occur, the multitude of angles and styles that Fury is capable of and, unlike Wilder, has already done it in this series makes it too strong of a case to go against him. I mean, the dude got up from a right-hand-left hook combo that everyone else in the world would be counting sheep but not correctly counting. Fury has “50” ways to win this fight, okay I borrowed a Paul Simon lyric, but you catch my drift. The confidence and the know-how to execute a plethora of skills to win this fight is too much to ignore; thus, this hack-of-a-scribe is picking Fury again.
My Official Prediction is Tyson Fury by Unanimous-Decision.
Side Note: Don’t you dare miss the undercard action with heavyweight fights Helenius vs. Kownacki 2, Ajagba vs. Sanchez, and a rising prospect in Jared Anderson facing Vladimir Tereshkin.
Written by Chris Carlson Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio & TheGruelingTruth.Com Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio