Fight Picks: Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury 2
On Saturday, Deontay Wilder will put his WBC heavyweight title on the line for the 11th time when he resumes hostilities with Tyson Fury in their highly anticipated rematch that will also crown a new Ring Magazine champion at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas on ESPN and Fox Sports at 9 p.m. PT/6 p.m. ET.
The two heavyweight leviathans collided in December 2018, and although Fury outboxed Wilder for long periods of the fight, the Englishman suffered two knockdowns that proved costly and the pair couldn’t be separated on the scorecards.
Both men have had two interim fights. Wilder, who is rated No. 2 by The Ring at heavyweight, scored devastating knockouts over Dominic Breazeale (KO 1) and Luis Ortiz (KO 7). Fury, who is rated No. 1 by The Ring, made his U.S debut, stopping overmatched Tom Schwarz (TKO 2) and then overcame a terrible cut to outpoint Otto Wallin (UD 12).
Can Fury (29-0-1, 20 knockouts) box like he did last time and avoid Wilder’s vaunted right hand for 36 minutes? If Wilder (42-0-1 41 KOs) scores knockdowns can he keep Fury on the canvas this time? How will Fury’s right eye hold up after the harrowing laceration he suffered in the Wallin bout five months ago?
Online gambling group William Hill lists Fury as a 4/5 (-125) favorite, while Wilder is priced at 11/10 (+110); the draw is 20/1 (+2000).
Here’s how the experts see it:
THE RING MAGAZINE/RINGTV.COM
DOUG FISCHER: FURY UD
It has tremendous significance in that they are the top two heavyweights in the world recognized by most folks, certainly by Ring Magazine. The vacant Ring heavyweight championship will be on the line. With Fury, the bottom line with him is he needs to feel comfortable, he needs to be confident and if he believes in himself he’s a very, very hard man to beat. Nobody is unbeatable but Fury is really, really difficult when he’s dialed in and motivated. He’s the best ring general in the heavyweight division. He knows how to get through adversity and I think that makes him just as dangerous to Wilder as Wilder’s punching power to him. It’s a fascinating match up, it’s a very hard fight to call. The first fight, I think like most people, I favored Wilder. I thought Fury had taken it too soon. I feel for the rematch Wilder has more momentum, the nature of the knockouts, they were both knockout of the year candidates and the knockout of Luis Ortiz was Ring Magazine knockout of the year for 2019. He has that mojo going into the rematch. Fury is a bit of a stinker, he’s a neutralizer. What I do like is he kept his nose clean, literally and figuratively, kept his weight down, didn’t go off the rails, stayed busy, stayed motivated, stayed positive. I thought Fury won the first fight and I think he’s just as motivated if not more confident in this fight. I slightly favor Fury by decision in a fight that’s maybe not as dramatic.
TOM GRAY: FURY UD
There’s no need to get fancy here. This is simply red or black in a game of roulette. Tyson Fury by decision or Deontay Wilder by knockout, pay your money and take your choice. I’m going with Fury because he won the last time and dished out the kind of boxing lesson I expected. But Wilder is the hardest puncher in world boxing, if he lands clean it could be over anywhere between Rounds 1 and 12.
ANSON WAINWRIGHT: FURY UD
A well poised fight, Wilder’s power versus Fury’s skills. Both are must watch every time they fight for different reasons. Fight week should be entertaining with both combatants having larger than life personalities. Each man has had two interim fights since they met in December 2018. At times they looked brilliant but also labored at times but ultimately won them to set up the rematch. Both know firsthand what the other can do and we shall see who that benefits the most. You can never count out Wilder, who is probably the single biggest puncher pound-for-pound in boxing; if he lands, it’s over, well usually. Fury found a way to get up from two knockdowns, particularly a heavy second knockdown the first time around. If it’s an exciting fight that probably doesn’t bode well for Fury. However, I lean toward the Brit, I think he’ll frustrate Wilder for large passages of the fight and this time stay on his feet to win a wide unanimous decision.
LEE GROVES: WILDER KO 10
In fight one – which I thought Fury won 115-111 due to his superior ring generalship – “The Gypsy King” showed he had the size, speed, reflexes and resourcefulness to neutralize what Wilder did best. Wilder clearly had problems dealing with the only opponent in his reign that had both height and reach advantages, and those struggles nearly lost him the fight. But here’s the salient point that guides my pick here: Fury fought his best fight and nearly lost thanks to his being floored twice by Wilder’s right hand and Wilder nearly pulled out the KO victory despite fighting one of his worst fights technically. This time, Wilder will have the knowledge gained from having already fought Fury and will now have 12 fresh rounds to land the one punch he needs to take Fury out. Fury will enjoy his moments – and he may well enjoy most of the good moments – but the ticking time bomb that is Wilder’s right fist will detonate sometime, and when it does, it’s lights out.
MICHAEL WOODS: WILDER KO 11
I’m leaning Wilder. Nah, tilting, more than leaning. Here’s why . . . Wilder is at peak mental strength. He so believes that he has a nuclear option in that right hand. His motto, “Speak it, believe it, received,” that’s maybe so much new age-y poppycock, which basically summarizes the law of attraction. It was re-packaged as The Secret in 2006 and the book sold 30 million copies. It’s the power of positive thinking…and I think Wilder is a good example of someone who that mindset works for. We will not KNOW until February 23, after midnight on the East Coast, but I do suspect that Fury isn’t as dialed in mentally. Yes, the change in trainers concerns me. That suggests instability…or not. Maybe “The Gypsy King” is on the level and will not be the jerky-jerky defensive master and will shock and amaze us with a power surge to be activated upon Wilder. I’m guessing not. Wilder’s right hand, that nuclear option, gets detonated on Fury, and this time, there won’t be a resurrection. Wilder real-deal KO, Fury doesn’t beat the count, in Round 11.
MICHAEL MONTERO: WILDER KO
Coming into their first fight, Deontay Wilder was yet to face an elite heavyweight. Fury meanwhile had gone 12 rounds with Wladimir Klitschko, a future hall of famer, three years prior. That experience served him well against Wilder in Los Angeles. Yet the American did plenty of “learning on the job” that night and will now bring that 12 rounds of elite-level experience into the rematch. The question is, who has the momentum here? The answer is: Deontay. Since their first meeting, Wilder “one hitter quittered” Dominic Breazeale and Luis Ortiz, while Fury went up against two unranked journeymen, delved into WWE and switched trainers. I favor Deontay Wilder to squeeze out a close, maybe controversial, points win or possible come-from-behind stoppage in the later rounds.
NORM FRAUENHEIM: WILDER TKO 10
Tyson Fury is covering the waterfront of possibilities with predictions and changes. He promises power he’s never displayed. He’s a masterful boxer who predicts he’ll stop the biggest power puncher of the day within two rounds. The idea is to confuse Wilder. Maybe, all of the talk, like all the feints, is working. But a question lingers: What does Fury really intend to do? He has two problems: Scar tissue above his right eye and Wilder’s singular power, which is augmented by his durability. Amid everything Fury has said and is saying, there’s been no doubt about the risk posed by the deep wound he suffered above his right eye against Otto Wallin in September. He needed 47 stitches. He says the cut has healed. But it has yet to be tested by a big punch or a succession of punches. Safe to say, Wilder will target it early and often. Multiplying the risk is Wilder’s toughness. He can take a punch. He proved that in his first fight against Luis Ortiz. It’s an element that allows him to take fights into the later rounds, which means more chances that the lethal right will land. It will. Wilder in a late stoppage.
PAULIE MALIGNAGGI (FORMER TWO-DIVISION TITLEHOLDER/ TV ANALYST, SHOWTIME): FURY PTS
I feel like most of the adjustments need to be made by Wilder. He was out-jabbed and outboxed last time, so he can’t hope to just go in and land a big shot. He needs more substance this time around. I feel Fury just has to make sure not to be careless. It’s not easy but it’s much less of an adjustment. On the other hand Wilder has to come with a better jab than Fury, which won’t be easy, and he has to learn to cut off the ring in one training camp. That’s almost impossible. Fury on points.
EVANDER HOLYFIELD (FORMER UNDISPUTED HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION): WILDER KO
I think it’s going to be a great fight. Tyson Fury is going to be the best boxer, he’s the best fighter, but what Deontay has is a good one-two and he has fast hands. Tyson Fury likes to play and joke around and every time he does that he gives Wilder a chance to hit him with the right hand and all it takes is one shot. I think he can catch him with that one shot because Tyson Fury gets a little too brave sometimes.
JOE CALZAGHE (FORMER SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT AND LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION): FURY PTS
I thought Fury won the first fight. I go with Fury but Deontay Wilder punches so hard, it’s going to be a dangerous. Fury’s going to have to box him but also command Wilder’s respect because he doesn’t want him throwing those big punches. Fury showed he could outbox him, comfortably, and that was when Fury was heavier. Fury’s got a new trainer, that can work for you or against you. That’s going to be interesting. If Wilder hits anybody he’s going to knock them out. It’s one of those fights where Fury could be winning by 10 rounds but only one shot is needed by Wilder. I like Fury on points but you can never write Wilder off – he’s a ferocious puncher. I think it’ll pan out similar to the last fight.
VADIM KORNILOV (MANAGER): FURY PTS
I think Fury is the better boxer and if he doesn’t make any mistakes can get the victory. In reality, it’s a 50-50 fight considering Wilder’s power which can end the fight at any moment. Fury on points.
ROBERT DIAZ (MATCHMAKER, GOLDEN BOY): WILDER KO 8
A rematch worth watching. Who will make the necessary adjustments this time around to be declared the winner? In the first fight Wilder was looking for one punch to end the fight by KO and he almost got it in the dramatic 12th round. Two undefeated, big boys in there willing to test themselves. I know Wilder very well and he grows in every fight, I don’t see Fury doing much more as I don’t think there is much more he can do. Wilder will establish a jab, which was absent in the first fight, mix it up more and catch Fury much earlier than last time. The difference here is when the right lands Fury will not get up. Wilder KO 8.
KALLE SAUERLAND (PROMOTER, SAUERLAND EVENT): FURY KO
Fury to stop Wilder in six or seven rounds.
EFE AJAGBA (HEAVYWEIGHT PROSPECT): WILDER KO
Wilder will knock him out in around eight or nine rounds, and if they finish the fight, Fury wins.
DUKE MCKENZIE (FORMER THREE-DIVISION TITLEHOLDER/TV ANALYST): WILDER KO 9
In this eagerly anticipated rematch questions will be answered. Can Tyson Fury withstand the punches of Deontay Wilder? Does Deontay Wilder have the stamina to chase Tyson Fury over 12 rounds? I for one cannot see this fight going the distance. I feel Wilder will hunt Fury early and go for the KO early. I pick Wilder to win inside nine rounds.
CAMILLE ESTEPHAN (PROMOTER, EYE OF THE TIGER): WILDER KO
I think Wilder will know how to time Fury now. I would think a knockout between six and eight rounds.
WAYNE MCCULLOUGH (FORMER BANTAMWEIGHT TITLEHOLDER/TRAINER): WILDER KO 7
This fight could come down to who they thought won the first fight. They want to prove they should have got the decision, so hopefully it’s explosive. Fury doesn’t need to change anything as I thought he deserved the win last time. He will probably want to win the rounds more convincingly this time. I thought Wilder would have got the KO the first time and he almost did. He should throw at least three or four punches at a time – which he didn’t do until the big knockdown in the first fight, proving that it worked. One punch at a time will give Fury time to pick his punches and score enough to win the rounds. I think Fury will try to move around but Wilder will catch him – maybe around the seventh with a combo that will get the KO. When a fighter gets knocked down the way Fury did, their resistance to punches diminishes. Hopefully it’s a classic.
RUDY HERNANDEZ (TRAINER): WILDER KO 10
I believe that Wilder will give up a few rounds timing Fury’s movement and setting up to land that powerful right hand. Fury will have his moments, outboxing Wilder and giving fans the hope of winning this fight. But Wilder will continue to pressure and will find his range. Fury will survive a few times, but this time he doesn’t make it to the end of the fight. As much as I would like to see Fury win, Wilder will land that powerful right hand of his and Fury doesn’t beat the count this time. Wilder by KO within 10.
KATHY DUVA (PROMOTER, MAIN EVENTS): FURY PTS
I am torn again on this one. However, I am going to go with Tyson by decision. I just think that he is the more skilled fighter of the two. He is bigger than Wilder and he is not afraid of him. Also, while he has been knocked down by Deontay more than once, he always gets up. I think that that resilience will help him in the upcoming fight. Also, I expect that Tyson, who is now in better shape and much more active than he was going into the last fight, will be more able to stay focused and not get hit with the big haymakers from Deontay. So, to sum up, I believe that Tyson’s superior boxing ability will win the fight for him as long as he is able to focus and avoid taking the big punches. Of course, Wilder is, by far, the bigger puncher. And he always has that equalizer. That’s what makes the fight so interesting.
JOLENE MIZZONE (MATCHMAKER, MAIN EVENTS): WILDER PTS
I think that Wilder has improved much more then Fury. I think a new trainer with Fury may make him think too much and Wilder should take advantage of that. The best thing about this fight is it’s heavyweight boxing, so one punch on either side can end it all. Wilder by decision.
Final Tally: 12-8 in favor of the reigning WBC heavyweight titleholder, Deontay Wilder.