Almost 15 months after their first meeting, Heavyweight knockout machine Deontay Wilder and lineal champion Tyson Fury lock horns once again, headlining an ESPN+-streamed pay-per-view (PPV) event from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The co-feature sees one-time IBF Heavyweight champion Charles Martin square off with former title challenger Gerald Washington; earlier in the evening, all-action Super Bantamweight kingpin Emanuel Navarrete fights for the fifth time in nine months against Filipino bruiser Jeo Santisima and 6’5” Super Welterweight prospect Sebastian Fundora opens the show against Aussie Olympian Daniel Lewis.
Much can change in a year; therefore, let’s dive in and figure out just how much.
Name: Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder
Record: 42-0-1 (41 KO)
Last Five Fights: Luis Ortiz (KO-7), Dominic Breazeale (KO-1), Tyson Fury (Split Draw) Luis Ortiz (TKO-10), Bermane Stiverne (KO-1)
Significant Victories (other than those mentioned above): None
Name: Tyson “The Gypsy King” Fury
Record: 29-0-1 (20 KO)
Last Five Fights: Otto Wallin (UD), Tom Schwarz (TKO-2), Deontay Wilder (Split Draw) Francisco Pianeta (UD), Sefer Seferi (RTD-4)
Significant Victories (other than those mentioned above): Wladimir Klitschko, Dereck Chisora x2, Steve Cunningham
Before looking forward, let’s look back at what’s happened since their contentious split draw in Dec. 2018. Plans for an immediate rematch fell through when “The Gypsy King” signed with Top Rank, who quickly realized they had nobody for Fury to fight. He kicked off his promotional deal by fighting Tom Schwarz, an unbeaten but unproven German whom he mauled in predictable fashion.
Then came unbeaten but unproven Swede Otto Wallin; rather than fold, Wallin opened a nasty cut over Fury’s eye and forced the bigger man to dig deep for the decision. Said cut has been floated as a potential target for Wilder, but seeing as it’s been five months, I wouldn’t bank on it playing a factor.
With the rematch temporarily off the table, WBC ordered Wilder to face long-time mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale, a former U.S. Olympian with serious power and equally serious defensive issues. To his credit, Breazeale came out gunning for an early finish, only to get knocked into oblivion right as commentator Paulie Malignaggi praised his moxie.
Wilder then turned his sights on former foe Luis Ortiz, and despite some ostensible bad blood, “The Bronze Bomber” spent the first six rounds idly circling at range while his Cuban foe went to work with combinations. Then, late in the seventh, Wilder knocked him senseless with virtually the first real punch he threw all night. That right hand was ultimately named Ring Magazine’s “Knockout of the Year” for 2019.
I hope you enjoyed that recap, because I really don’t have much to add to my last breakdown. It’s not like Wilder’s one to make adjustments; this is a guy willing to stand there and get styled on for round after round in pursuit of one perfect punch. The storyline is still “Deontay Wilder hunts for a one-punch finish while Tyson Fury’s footwork and combinations make him look silly.”
What has changed, however, is my pick. Fury will almost certainly be even harder to hit after gathering more than a half-hour of data on Wilder, and even though “Bronze Bomber” can punish the slightest slip-up with a game-changing shot, the fact that Fury survived two monstrous right hands and still did enough to deserve the win has me thinking he’ll once again take it to the judges.
And Wilder spends way too much time sitting on his heels to win a decision.
Boxing being what it is, Wilder might still sway a judge, but expect Fury to rack up way too big of a statistical disparity to be denied. Wilder spends 12 rounds waiting for a chance that never comes as Fury pieces him up.
Prediction: Fury via split decision
For complete ‘Fury vs. Wilder 2’ results and coverage click here.