It’s the biggest heavyweight fight in over a decade and a rematch to one of the most controversial. When Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury first threw down in December of 2018, spectators were awarded a treat, but not quite the full meal they wanted. The anticlimactic outcome of a draw gave fight fans a sour taste in their mouths ever since.
That all changes come Saturday night in Las Vegas when the two heavyweight titans clash once again in a second installment with the WBC, Ring, and lineal titles on the line. With plenty of angles to analyze and talking points to ponder, there’s obviously no lack of conversation surrounding this fight. The hype will do nothing but grow bigger until the bell rings in the MGM Grand Garden Arena on February 22nd.
We have an undefeated American champion with devastating knockout power who is just now truly catching stride. His adversary? An undefeated British technician whose crisp style and way with words has made him an international draw. All of this on an ESPN/Fox Sports cross-promotion card fronted by Bob Arum of Top Rank and Al Haymon of PBC.
On paper, this event checks all the boxes, as both Deontay Wilder (42-0-1) and Tyson Fury serve as complete foils of one another. Whether it’s stylistically or personally, the two heavyweight combatants contrast each other across the board as illustrated in their first meeting.
The fight currently sits at most markets at a razor thin price featuring both men at minus money. Wilder currently sits at -116 with Fury (29-0-1) coming back at -104 according to popular online sportsbook BetOnline.
As we get closer and closer to the epic sequel, let’s take a look at what went down in the original and where the two fighters have journeyed since.
Wilder vs. Fury: Recap – The One That Started It All
When Wilder and Fury met at the Staples Center in Los Angeles in the winter of 2018, it was billed as the biggest heavyweight fight in years due to the numerous straps on the line and the popularity surrounding the two competitors involved.
In terms of the decision, you will get a different answer depending on who you ask, but it was clear that Tyson Fury’s technical prowess, control of distance, and counterpunching exchanges made things difficult for Wilder all night long.
The “Bronze Bomber,” however, quickly flipped the script after struggling to find his mark, and put Fury on the canvas with a short, left hook followed by a wicked overhand right in the ninth round.
Yet, Fury was able to make it to his feet and turned the momentum of the fight again against a fatigued Wilder. Fury landed clean shots in the 10th and 11th round to take back control, and going into the 12th, it was obvious that “The Gypsy King” had outpointed Wilder. All that was left was one round, and what a round it would be.
With the fight seemingly in Fury’s hands, Wilder then looked to take it back with a brutal right-left combination that blasted Fury upstairs. The six-foot-nine Fury again dropped to the canvas in a knockdown that seemed to put his lights out.
As referee Jack Reiss counted closer and closer to ten, the world prepared for Wilder to have his defining moment, but it did not come in this instance.
Fury amazingly made it to a vertical base as Reiss’ count was set to expire and after standing, was able to walk to Reiss and follow his directions, effectively beating the count and warranting a continuation of the bout.
This incredible sequence alone could serve as all the hype one needs for a rematch, but given what was to come on the scorecards, a follow-up fight was all but inevitable.
After failing to find another power shot on Fury, the final seconds ticked away with both men standing and coherent. After an embrace in the ring by both pugilists, the scorecards read:
- 115-111 for Wilder
- 112-114 for Fury
- 133-133 Draw
With the split draw culminating a pulse-pounding heavyweight bout, many immediately felt that Fury, who despite suffering two knockdowns off the gloves off Wilder, was the rightful winner due to his superior punching accuracy over the course of the bout.
Going off the CompuBox numbers, Fury landed 26% of his punches to Wilder’s 17%, with the Manchester native landing 84 on 327 thrown to the American’s 71 of 430 thrown.
Wilder, who had several technical shortcomings in comparison to Fury, was a much less accurate version of himself than seen in prior bouts, and the chin of Fury was shown to take the power shots Wilder was able to connect on.
Yet, being the “technician” has never been Wilder’s game, as it his catastrophic power that proves to be not only his secret weapon, but one of the most dangerous weapons in the sport.
What Has Happened Since?
That punching force has gone on to serve the 34-year-old Tuscaloosa native well since. Both of Wilder’s past two WBC title defenses have come in YouTube-worthy knockout fashion.
Fury has also won his last two bouts and even worked a stint in WWE. Given what the odds are reflecting and the stylistic variables at hand, this one really is that close.
Wilder destroyed Dominic Breazeale in his first bout after the draw against Fury. A powerful right hand led by a left-feign, the first-round stoppage was a highlight-reel caliber one and served as Wilder’s most vicious KO of the 41 he has had in his career.
Yet, it may have been topped in his rematch with Luis Ortiz, who like Fury, used his superior boxing skills to outclass Wilder for the majority of that contest. Being down on the scorecards, Wilder then slipped in a perfectly timed right hand to finish the very-game Ortiz and retain his championship yet again.
Fury’s next bout was against Tom Schwarz who he took care of in two rounds via a technical knockout. He then faced a big test in the form of Otto Wallin, who pushed Fury to the distance in a fight that saw the lineal champ suffer a serious cut above the right eye.
Fury’s unanimous decision victory in that contest and quick stop in the pro wrestling world now has led him to a second chance at the WBC crown. But with a constantly improving Wilder, this fight may be even tougher to gauge than the original.
Who to Pick
As you prepare to get in on the betting action surrounding this colossal matchup, there are several elements to consider when making your wager.
While styles most certainly make fights as I bring up all the time, you also cannot teach power. The classic matchup of “boxer vs. puncher/slugger” has provided the fight game with some absolute classics over the years, with the original encounter between these two serving as a prime example.
Here are a few factors that cannot be ignored.
Wilder’s Strengths and Question Marks
- Freakish knockout power, dangerous right hand
- Punches that break opponent’s guard
- Resilient, willing to go toe-to-toe and take punishment
- High ceiling, improves with each fight
- Very athletic for size
- Beginning to incorporate left hand more often
- Still has some technical flaws despite improvements
- Doesn’t always set up his power punches with combinations
- Has tendency to ignore jab in favor of big right hand
- Late starter (debuted at age 20), still playing catch up to more developed boxers
- Will not have height or reach advantage against Fury (a usual advantage for Wilder)
Fury’s Strengths and Question Marks
- Excellent boxer
- Utilizes movement and unique stance very well
- Granite chin and savvy fight IQ
- Takes away opponent’s strengths effectively
- Punching accuracy along with great size and height (6’9”, 256.5 lbs.)
- Reach advantage (85 in. to Wilder’s 83 in.)
- Can he survive Wilder’s power punches again?
- Outpointed Wilder and had him fatigued, but never truly “hurt” him
- Power disadvantage (he can tag Wilder and counter, but can he stop him?)
- Damage sustained against Wallin
- Changed trainers in preparation for rematch; drops Ben Davison for Javan Steward
The Pick: Wilder via 9th Round KO
It’s hard to sum up in words the respect I have for Tyson Fury, and I’m in the camp that truly believes he won the first bout in Los Angeles. But I see the sequel having a different storyline than the original, and I envision Wilder’s power being too much for the ultra-talented “Gypsy King.”
While part of me believes that if Fury can again take Wilder into deep waters and wear him out with his boxing prowess, it is his game. But to say Wilder’s power is an advantage is an understatement.
We are seeing something special in the form of Deontay Wilder, and it’s being spearheaded by that dangerous right hand. While Fury is hands down more skilled on a technical basis, the one thing that makes up for something like that is exactly what the WBC titleholder possesses.
I have no doubts Fury will win exchanges and a chunk of the rounds, and it will take time for Wilder to settle in against the fluid Englishman. But rest assured, that right hand will find its mark and when it does, I do not see Fury surviving it this time around.
Wilder vs Fury II Round Prop
The chin of Fury has proven itself as has the talent and moxie, and it must be noted that everything about his story, career, and legacy is one for the ages. Honestly, it’s fights like these that make handicapping both thrilling and difficult. Some bouts are just too close to call.
But there’s still a pick to be made, and I’m going with the proven power we have now seen from the “Bronze Bomber” on many occasions. This is simply because it’s something that regardless of what Fury does offensively, it will always be a threat if Wilder is upright.
When it’s all said and done, Fury will control a good portion of the fight and give Wilder plenty of problems. But a right hook from Wilder finds its mark in the ninth to end it and erase a possibility of a draw in this all-time caliber rematch.
Therefore, my two straight plays are: