Heavyweight boxing hasn’t been so loaded with talent since the 1960’s. Wilder, Joshua, Fury, Ruiz, Jospeh Parker, Dillian Whyte, Aleksander Usyk, and Daniel Dubois, have all been title holders, or are all contenders. Wilder Fury 2 promises to kick off what should be the most interesting and dramatic year in the history of the heavyweight division.
It’s my opinion that while both fighters stand to gain the same if they win, if they lose Fury will suffer the greater setback. Wilder has accumulated a record of 43 fights, 42 wins, 41 by knock out. This record pretty much guarantees Wilder’s next fight to be a title fight if he loses. For Fury it’s different, because of his inability to build a record during his three years away from the ring. A loss for Fury would leave him with a record of 1 loss in 31 fights, good but not as attractive as Wlder’s.
At thirty-four years of age, Wilder must be looking to take the fights that the public want to spend the money for on pay per view. For either of these fighters this is can be a career defining moment. A Wilder win would build add to his legacy and lead to a big fight with Usyk, or Joshua. A Fury win will elevate his status to the number one heavyweight, and build on the enigma that is, Tyson Fury.
What’s Happened Since the First fight?
One thing that isn’t in doubt is the difference in the quality of the competition Wilder and Fury have fought since the first fight. Both have fought twice, with Wilder making two title defences against opponents with a combined record of, 51 wins and 2 losses. The losses coming in title fights against Wilder and Anthony Joshua.
Fury’s two fights were against opponents with a combined record of 46 wins and no losses, but his opponents have never had title fights, nor fights against world title contenders.
Wilder scored two brutal knockout victories while Fury, against unarguably lesser opposition, won by technical knockout and a unanimous points decision. If quality of opponent has an effect on the outcome of this fight, Wilder is far superior.
Away from the Ring
The Wilder, Tyson brands are big business. Deontay Wilder is worth an estimated $30 million. For his last fight against Luis Ortiz, he was paid $3 million. For this fight Wilder and Fury will split their share of the pay per view money 50/50. With each pay per view costing $80, it’s reasonable to expect both fighters to be earning upward of $10 million.
Despite having fought less, being four years younger, having spent three years away from the sport, and being British, Fury signed a five fight deal with ESPN for $80 million and is reported to be worth more than $100 million in total.
But there’s more to both these fighters than their extraordinary wealth. Wilder became a father at the age of nineteeen. His daughter, Naieya was born with the debilitating condition spina bifida. In order to cover the extensive medical bills, Wilder took up boxing.
Fury’s greatest challenge is himself. After winning the world championship against the Ukranian, Wladimir Klitschko in November, 2015 Fury wouldn’t fight again for nearly three years. Fury has stated that he suffers from a version of Bipolar, and during his three years away from the ring became addicted to alcohol and cocaine and contemplated suicide. To say Fury was out of shape would be a gross understatement at his heaviest he is reported to have been 385 pounds. When he fights Wilder on Saturday he’s expected to weigh around 270 pounds. Fury is an enigma, a larger than life loquacious character that has helped to make the heavyweight division the most interesting in boxing. When asked about his depression Fury said:
“I have been so dark that everything was pitch black. Before, every single day for me was a grey day. And some people might not know what I am talking about when I say that, but every day shouldn’t be a grey day. Because life is a blessing. And now I know that every day is a rose-coloured, sunshine day. Which I appreciate. I appreciate every second, every hour, every day, because life is so very short.”
Fury and Wilder are both unusual for boxers because they have both laid bare their troubles away from the ring, and in doing so they have perhaps engaged more fans than ever seen before in the sport.
Knockout, or Decision?
Popular opinion sees this fight having only two outcomes: Wilder knockout; or points decision for Fury. Few believe Fury will knock Wilder out, and I’ve not heard anyone thinking, Wilder will win on points. Even another draw seems more likely than these last two outcomes. But, which is the most likely, Wilder by knockout, or Fury by decision?
Wilder might be the most one dimensional boxer in heavyweight history, but when that one dimension happens to be one of boxing’s greatest punches, it doesn’t matter. This, like any Wilder fight, is all about Wilder’s right hand. If Wilder lands a clean right, he’ll win. If Fury can make the fight go the distance, he’ll have out boxed Wilder and will win on points. It’s almost impossible to see an outcome outside of these two possibilities.
The fight comes down to one question, can Fury avoid Wilder’s hand for thirty-six minutes? Wilder’s record of fort-one knockouts in forty-three fights suggests not. Their first fight also highlighted Fury’s vulnerability to the power of Wilder. Styles make fights, and this is a classic case of the boxer versus the puncher. Such style match ups can produce classic fights: Benn versus Eubank, Ali versus Frazier, but invariably they end up going in the favour of the boxer. Fury is without doubt the most mobile and ring smart heavyweight Wilder has ever faced. Fury should be faster than in their first fight. That said, the law of averages seem to lean in favour of Wilder. The odds are against Fury going twelve rounds and not getting caught by a big right hand. But, if Fury can avoid one of boxing’s greatest punches, he will have deserved to win. I can’t see it happening and expect Wilder to win by technical knockout in the ninth.
What’s your prediction?