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Preview: Wilder-Fury II is one of the biggest heavyweight fights of the modern era

Bad blood? Larger-than-life quotable characters? High stakes? This one has it all.

<p zoompage-fontsize="15" style="">Boxing: Wilder vs Breazeale

Sarah Stier-USA TODAY Sports

Deontay Wilder
42-0-1, 41 KO
34, 6’7” 213 pounds
6’11” wingspan, 83” reach

Tyson Fury
29-0-1, 20 KO
31, 6’9” 254 pounds
7’1” wingspan, 85” reach

In what is being billed as one of the biggest fights of the last 45 years, we are witnessing a true rarity on Saturday when Northport’s own Deontay Wilder meets Tyson Fury:

It’s arguably the biggest heavyweight bout since the famous ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in 1974. Two superstar fighters meeting in their prime and putting their unbeaten records on the line AGAIN? It’s a rarity in modern boxing.

Not only is such an event a rarity, but the crowded field of heavyweights sets up a fascinating round-robin that has been ongoing since 2018.

At stake? A shot at beating down glass-jawed limey Anthony Joshua and unifying all the heavyweight belts.

The loser gets to wonder what-if...and takes the first loss of their professional career.

How We Got Here:

Just over four years ago, the troubled British traveler, Tyson Fury (the Gypsy King), held four belts — the WBA Super heavyweight, WB0, IBO and IBF titles. He was later stripped of his IBF title for failing to accept a mandatory challenge with Vyacheslav Glazkov, owing to contractual rematch obligations with Wladimir Klitschko. Then Fury went off the deep-end: bloated by alcohol, drugs, over-eating, and general self-destruction, the Brit failed a PED screen in 2016 and was stripped of his remaining three titles.

But, rather than remaining at rock bottom, Fury battled his way back up the ladder and made his way to a WBC title fight against Deontay Wilder.

It was an unusual fight for both men in 2018, and a controversial bout that ended with a draw — though most felt that Fury had outboxed Wilder: Deontay fought Fury’s fight and it showed.

For Fury, it was just the second fight he was put on his backside, three times overall he’s been canvassed — and Wilder accounts for two of those. For Wilder, it was just one of two fights in his career that went the distance. For both, it is the only blemish on their records.

Wilder’s path was a bit more conventional — he won his WBC belt in 2015. and has been very active since then. He has scheduled 12 title defenses, going 10-0-1 in that span: Pulling a draw against Fury, and his fight against Alexander Povetkin was cancelled after the Russkie was caught doping.

As the two awaited a rematch, they had some challenging fights to retain their near-perfect records: First, Wilder destroyed Dominic Breazeale with a first-round KO, and then knocked out Luis Ortiz with a 7th round. Meanwhile, Fury scored a TKO over Tom Schwarz in the 2nd, and then won a unanimous victory over Otto Wallin.

On December 19th, the rematch was announced, and here we are.

Bad Blood? Smack-talk?

There may be a little bit to this one. Wilder remains convinced that the fight should have been stopped when he sent the big Gypsy hick from Manchester to the mat. Fury, for his part, is convinced Wilder is a one-dimensional fighter who isn’t nearly as strong as he thinks he is, and that Fury was cheated out of a win in their first match.

Fury is a bit of a loose cannon, and often pretty funny. It makes great press for the boxing media every time he fires up the twitter machine to take shots at Anthony Joshua.

Deontay Wilder, meanwhile, has a habit of saying some fairly provocative things before fights — last year confessing to wanting to kill someone in the ring, with the best part being that he can get paid for it. You often wonder how much of it he really means.

So, it is perhaps not surprising that the press conference between the two was testy — with Wilder mocking Fury’s mental health, and Fury calling Wilder a “dosser” (British slang for the homeless and lazy) Then, Fury one-upped that — by spamming Urban Dictionary to have “dosser” redefined as a “mismanaged bum” using Wilder as the example.


Depends on who you ask.

They are both orthodox boxers, though Fury is far from conventional and can go southpaw. He has very good footwork, and can twist his giant 6’9” torso out of harm’s way — improbably so for a man who is far more lithe than he appears. In terms of distance fights, Fury has a good punch, but he is content to win by decision if necessary. Like many street fighters, he will do what is necessary to win, eschewing style points for the victory. And, like many big ole’ rednecks, Fury can take a punch. Wilder did criminal things to his noggin in 2018, but Fury not only survived, he won on one card and drew on the other.

Wilder’s game plan is simple. Cut off the ring, look for his opening, and then unload with this generation’s most terrifying right hand. Wilder’s power is terrifying to behold too. Not only is he the most powerful fighter of his era, he is often compared to, and is numbered among, the all-time great power punchers. But, Wilder doesn’t have to have the early kill shots. He is patient for a power puncher, and he’s done some of his most devastating work in late rounds. And, it goes without saying that the Bronze Bomber is in excellent condition. His reach is 2” shorter than Fury, but Fury is 2” taller overall. So, there is no great disparate reach advantage for either fighter.

If you’re looking for intangibles, those may also be a draw. Fury is a few years younger than Wilder. But Deontay is a physical specimen. And, while Wilder keeps his body in tip-top shape, the same can’t be said of Fury — he’s 31, but those are certainly not highway miles he’s logged with all the Twinkies and China White and Irn Bru.

Fury has changed trainers, looking for a more offensive bout this time. And that has many worried, especially since his footwork is slowing down and he can be a bit lead-legged in the later rounds.

It really is anyone’s fight. The money lines and predicted length of the fight don’t show a clear direction either — no sharps have lined up for either guy. They’ve both got a ton of personality, and though we’ll be pulling for our hometown favorite, it’s hard to hate Tyson Fury’s compelling story and the larger-than-life figure he projects on the heavyweight division that has been sorely lacking it of late.

Gun to my head? The better conditioning of Wilder, combined with an overly aggressive Fury working in a new gym and with a new trainer, opens up the Brit for a few killer left hooks and then he’s polished off with an overhand right in the 11th by Wilder.

Best of luck, Bronze Bomber

Roll Tide

Venue: MGM Grand Garden Arena
Where: Paradise, Nevada
PPV begins: 7 p.m. ET
Expected Fury vs. Wilder time: 11 p.m. ET
Where to watch: ESPN+, ESPN, and FOX Sports
PPV cost: $79.99
Line: Fury -106 / Wilder -110
O/U: 10.5 Rounds


Who ya’ got?

This poll is closed

  • 81%
    Deontay Wilder
    (170 votes)
  • 6%
    Tyson Fury
    (13 votes)
  • 12%
    Boxing promoters are going to milk this for a third fight — so a draw
    (26 votes)
209 votes total Vote Now