Wilder vs. Fury 2 goes down at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday night. If the rematch is anything like the first bout we are in for an entertaining evening. Given the final result of the first bout raised a number of questions, interest in the rematch is at an all-time high. Can Wilder land the big punch? If so, will Fury get up off the canvas again? If Fury does, then what? In light of all the “what if’s” we thought it an appropriate time to recap five things you should know about Wilder vs. Fury 2.
History Favors Deontay Wilder
The sport of boxing has a long history of rematches that came about due to questionable results of the first match. Fury had the element of surprise in the last outing. Wilder has now had a chance to download Fury’s unorthodox nature. Look for Wilder to treat round one of the rematch like round 13 of the initial fight and assert himself early. Yes, Fury outboxed Wilder and gave him fits. However, remember that history we mentioned? When Meldrick Taylor fought Julio Cesar Chavez he outboxed Chavez the entire fight, yet was floored in the final round. In the rematch Chavez treated it like a continuation of the first bout and finished Taylor in eight. This also recalls Lewis vs. Holyfield the first bout was a controversial draw. In the rematch Lewis asserted himself throughout and beat Holyfield. Finally there is Wilder’s own history with rematches. Albeit a limited one. In 2018 he faced Luis “King Kong”Ortiz and while victorious was challenged enough to warrant a rematch. In the rematch Wilder, while outboxed for 7 rounds, ended up knocking out Ortiz. Perhaps the man himself said it best, when asked Luis Ortiz stated, “Deontay Wilder will win a decision over Tyson Fury, who will be coming in respecting Wilder’s power and being wary of taking a shot based on all of the evidence of Wilder’s previous fights with me, and from their first fight.”
Tyson Fury Has a New Corner
Historically bringing in a new trainer so suddenly for such a high-profile fight does not bode well. It’s not an uncommon occurrence. However, it does signal a fighter’s corner isn’t up to snuff. After all, if everything is fine then why make a change? Further, when a training team changes, the best practice is for fighters to have a few tune up bouts with the new team so they can become accustomed to one another. Such a sudden change in perhaps the biggest fight of Fury’s career raises a red flag. There is plenty of boxing precedent for adverse results. Oscar De La Hoya brought in Angelo Dundee when facing Manny Pacquiao, Sergey Kovalev brought in a new trainer in his rematch with Andre Ward. Also, at the tail end of his career Mike Tyson went through trainers like musical chairs. Fury has indicated he needed a trainer to improve his technique hence bringing in Sugarhill Steward, who is nephew to Hall of Fame trainer Emmanuel Steward. It however remains to be seen whether the change is a good one.
The Psychological Game
The mental game is an interesting element Wilder vs. Fury 2. Fury has had a history of self-admitted mental health issues. He’s proactively and publicly addressed them. He’s also one of the few to get up off the canvas and go the distance with Wilder. As far as Fury’s concerned, he’s playing with house money.
Wilder however, relies on landing the big punch. He is facing an opponent who has taken it not once, but twice. That has to play into Wilder’s psyche. Because, even if Wilder does land the money shot, what happens if Fury takes it and continues? Couple that with the unorthodox nature of Fury, the height and reach both of which are equal to Wilder. And you’ve got to think there is some trepidation in the mind of Wilder. Edge goes to Fury on this one.
Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury have collectively brought relevance back to the heavyweight division. It’s the first time in decades that the world is focused on heavyweight boxing. So. It’s a victory for boxing. But, what about the individual fighters? For Wilder, it’s a victory over the lineal heavyweight champ and seals his legacy in the sport. A loss brings the prior draw and past accomplishments into question. For Fury, it’s the culmination of a long road back. Having relinquished his titles, battled mental health and substance abuse problems. To wrap the straps around his waist on the 22nd will cap off a true comeback.
What the Experts Say
Premiere Boxing Champions polled the opinions of over 25 current and former boxing champions. Of the boxers cited, here are some of the more noteworthy opinions
Sugar Ray Leonard
“I like Deontay Wilder to win, possibly by knockout, but, in truth, I don’t see either guy being knocked out. I think that Wilder not only has that powerful right hand, but that he has improved in his ability to set it up.
“Deontay Wilder can box and win, but I think that his power will be the difference in defeating Tyson Fury. I believe that it will go to a decision again, but with Deontay Wilder winning it.”
“Wilder’s not just a big guy with a right hand, but he’s also become more calculated in his approach. That’s why I’m picking him to win this second fight against Tyson Fury.”
“Never bet against a puncher, particularly one like Deontay Wilder. I look at Wilder like I do at a Mike Tyson, another puncher. I see Wilder winning this rematch with Tyson Fury by 10th-round knockout.”
“Deontay Wilder will knock out Tyson Fury in the seventh or eighth round if he does what I know that he can do, which is stay on the outside, use his jab, throw that right hand over the jab.”
One thing is for sure. Regardless of the outcome Wilder vs. Fury 2 will not likely disappoint!