In December 2018, just six months after his comeback to the ring, Tyson Fury stepped up to face the ferrous puncher Deontay Wilder in a fight many thought was too early on his comeback trail.
The fight in the Staples Center was a memorable one, not that the fight was a barn burner, far from it, but the drama of the 12th and final round has now gone down in boxing folk law.
One Undertaker like resurrection and three questionable scorecards later and here we are on the cusp of the rematch, a fight the heavyweight division has been craving. On Saturday night from Las Vegas, there is unfinished business that both men will attend to.
For all his flaws, Deontay Wilder is one of, if not, the most exciting fighter in world boxing. He’s very rarely in a boring fight, technically not great, but has the biggest right hand seen in the sport for many years.
The first fight was going as many expected with Fury making Wilder look reckless, Tyson was as comfortable as you could be in with a man like Wilder. However, that changed in the ninth round when Wilder just grazed Fury on the top of his head, scoring the first knockdown.
Fury was far from being on wobbly legs when he got up, but knew Wilder could hurt him. But it was the explosive right, left hook combination that sent Fury crashing to the canvas in the 12th round that people were waiting to see, and the expectation on Saturday night is Wilder will need more of the same if he’s to beat Fury this time around.
In a fight like this, a genuine 50:50, you must look at who can change or do something slightly different from the first fight. Most will say, and rightly so, that Fury has far more tools at his disposal to tweak and tinker with game plans, but Wilder can improve on certain things from the first fight and I think he will box better than he did back in the staples Center 16 months ago.
Firstly, he was far too wild in the first fight by his own admission. Wilder has a reputation of flailing his arms and wildly swinging for the hills, but generally he only does that once he knows he’s hurt his opponent. It's very rare that he boxes like that as a default position, but he did in the first Fury fight, playing straight into Tyson’s hands. Fury did a great job of getting in Wilder’s head first time around, hence his over exuberant approach, but I don't think he’ll make the same mistake.
Wilder is so confident that he can knock out anyone, he can be patient and take his time as we saw in the recent rematch with Luiz Ortiz, where Wilder lost all but one round before the stoppage. But he showed a composure and never got desperate, even though he was behind on the cards. I think we’ll see something similar this weekend.
Wilder also has a better jab than many give him credit for and didn't use it at all in the first fight. The issue is going jab for jab with Tyson Fury, who is hands down the better boxer.
For Fury, he’s already made more changes than Wilder, none more so than hiring a new trainer in Sugar Hill Steward, nephew of legendary trainer Manny Steward. This was surprising to many as Ben Davison guided Tyson through his comeback. Davison is perhaps a little too cautious a trainer, something Sugar Hill isn’t as he fully subscribes to the famous Kronk gym style.
Fury has said many times he will be more aggressive this time around, similar to after the heavy knockdown in the 12th round of the first fight when Fury really pressed forward and hurt Deontay.
Wilder isn’t known for boxing on the back foot and very really gets pressured, so we don’t know how he would respond to this. It’s a tactic Tyson’s talking up which leads me to believe that's not the approach he will take, but then again could be a double bluff and part of his mind games.
The filling between two slices
I think another factor to this rematch is what has each guy done since the first fight?
For Wilder, he’s fought a genuine top 15 fighter in Dominic Breazeale and ruthlessly dispatched him in the first round. Following this, he took the rematch against awkward Cuban Luiz Ortiz, and whilst losing the fight, he still managed to get the stoppage earlier than he did in the first fight.
Tyson Fury has had a completely different 16 months.
Much of the last 16 months has been about getting him more widely known in the US, doing various TV appearances, but, in the ring, has fought a far poorer level of opposition.
Tom Schwarz was the first post-Wilder bout, someone brought in to get beaten up and get Fury the knockout which he did early in the fight.
His second post-Wilder fight was Otto Wallin, a fight that on paper at least should have gone like the Schwarz fight, but turned out to be a far more difficult night's work, going the distance and getting Fury a horrible cut above his left eye.
There then is, of course, Fury’s stint in WWE, but the least said about that the better.
I really think this will come down to whose adjustments will be better executed on the night.
General consensus is Wilder by KO or Fury on points, and I’m fully in that camp too. I don't think Fury will come to stand toe-to-toe with Wilder and try to get an early stoppage, he will need to try and navigate the 12 rounds without taking a big shot like he did in the first fight.
I can see both outcomes, but my pick, if pushed, is Wilder by stoppage.
I think there’s every chance we could see that cut re-appear above Tyson’s eye, which could make it a horrid night, (or even worse if early a no contest) but I just favour Wilder in a late stoppage.News Now - Sport News