Nineteen months and a hell of a lot of stupid twists after their last meeting, Heavyweight standouts Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder will collide once again tonight (Sat., Oct. 9, 2021) atop a four-fight pay-per-view (PPV) inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Though mandated by Wilder’s contract, this trilogy match seemingly collapsed due to the pandemic, leaving Fury to set up an undisputed title fight against WBO/IBF/WBA champion, Anthony Joshua. Wilder’s team took the matter to court, where a judge ruled that “Gypsy King” had to honor the rematch clause, and now here we are.
The all-Heavyweight main card also includes unbeaten prospects Efe Ajagba and Frank Sanchez duking it out, Robert Helenius looking to make it 2-0 against previously undefeated Adam Kownacki, and heretofore unstoppable young gun Jared Anderson squaring off with Russia’s Vladimir Tereshkin.
We all know what you’re here for, though, so no sense wasting any more time ...
Tyson “Gypsy King” Fury
Record: 30-0-1 (21 KO)
Last Five Fights: Deontay Wilder (TKO-7), Otto Wallin (UD), Tom Schwarz (TKO-2), Deontay Wilder (Split Draw) Francisco Pianeta (UD)
Significant Victories (other than those mentioned above): Wladimir Klitschko, Dereck Chisora x2, Steve Cunningham
Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder
Record: 42-1-1 (41 KO)
Last Five Fights: Tyson Fury (TKO-7 Loss), Luis Ortiz (KO-7), Dominic Breazeale (KO-1), Tyson Fury (Split Draw) Luis Ortiz (TKO-10)
Significant Victories (other than those mentioned above): Bermane Stiverne (x2)
Considering all the mind-numbing nonsense that’s occurred since the beginning of this saga, I think a recap is in order.
When the pair first met in 2018, Wilder entered on the heels of a career-best stoppage of Luis Ortiz, while Fury was three fights into his post-meltdown comeback tour. The narrative seemed obvious: Fury would use his trademark blend of offbeat footwork and smothering clinchwork to try and defuse the ever-patient Wilder, who only needed one punch to turn the tide.
That was the binary. We knew Fury would dominate, but it was unclear whether he could do it for 36 minutes without getting knocked unconscious out of nowhere. As it turned out, both outcomes came to pass.
Having shrugged off a relatively soft knockdown in the ninth, Fury was in full control of a low-output fight going into the twelfth and final round, only for Wilder to knock him absolutely silly with a monstrous right hand. Unexpectedly, however, Fury not only beat the count, but retook the momentum until the final bell, seemingly guaranteeing him the decision win.
I’d scored it 116-110 for Fury, giving him every round in which he’d stayed on his feet, but could accept a card as close as 114-112 in his favor. Two of three judges disagreed, resulting in a split draw.
Fifteen months later, with both men having picked up two victories in the interim, they suited up to go at it again. Fury made no secret of his gameplan in the buildup, claiming he’d come right at Wilder and pursue a knockout. I assumed this was gamesmanship and he’d utilize a slightly tightened-up version of his previous strategy.
I was wrong. He marched right up to one of the scariest punchers in the history of the sport and made him look pedestrian, ultimately forcing Wilder trainer Mark Breland to throw in the towel after a protracted beating (watch it).
It’s indisputable that Fury has Wilder figured out; out-classing someone twice with two diametrically opposed gameplans is a level of dominance we rarely see at the highest levels. Wilder’s the one who needs to make adjustments this time. Has he done so over these long months?
Wilder’s behavior since that loss has been downright embarrassing. At no point has he accepted his shortcomings, instead loudly declaring that virtually every relevant party had cheated him in some way. To hear Wilder tell it, he fried his legs with a 40-pound outfit during his walkout and got poisoned by Breland, while Fury not only tampered with his gloves, but filled them with weights.
This is complete delusion, and new trainer Malik Scott has no issues with letting Wilder spout off increasingly unhinged conspiracy theories. If he can’t even get his charge to face reality, he’s not going to beat 44 fights’ worth of bad habits out of him. Even when he needed dramatic comebacks to get past Luis Ortiz, Wilder never bothered to learn how to fight off the back foot or even throw basic combinations.
Fury’s going to do the exact same thing as last time: push forward, keep Wilder too uncomfortable to throw and maul him. While Wilder’s new corner won’t be as willing to protect him, the referee will do it for them.
Prediction: Fury def. Wilder via sixth-round technical knockout
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow updates of the complete “Fury vs. Wilder 3” fight card TONIGHT right here, beginning with the early “Prelims” at 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, followed by the ESPN+ “Prelims” at 7 p.m. ET, then the ESPN+ PPV main card at 9 p.m. ET, with Fury and Wilder making their walk at approximately 11:30 p.m. ET.
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