This weekend the biggest bout of the year takes place – in fact, it’s bigger than big, it’s historic. The winner of the rematch between Wilder and Fury becomes the first dominant champion of the best heavyweight era in the last quarter of a century and takes the ‘O’ of a legitimately elite rival… unless, of course, the fight in Vegas ends in another draw.
You won’t be surprised to hear most people are backing either Wilder to win by KO or Fury to take the title on points – just as they did the first time. Paddy isn’t daft, and he prices the Deontay stoppage win at 11/10 and Fury by decision at 13/8 – but we can do better than that.
The first fight finished in a controversial draw, as everybody except Wilder’s family, friends and two of the judges saw Fury as the clear winner on points. ‘The Bronzer Bomber’ did flatten the Brit twice, including the twelfth round blitz where Tyson managed to drag himself off the deck just in the nick of time, but the American never deserved to keep his crown.
Both men have competed twice since their December 2018 contest, and both have scored one early KO win and earned one hard-fought victory. But while Wilder has been quiet away from the ring Fury has been “wrestling” in WWE, recording a reality tv show, and vigorously using and endorsing a particular men’s care product.
Fury has now had five fights since the end of his boxing hiatus in June 2018, and that level of activity is crucial for a fluid boxer to get his rhythm, and it means his conditioning should be far better than in the original scrap.
Fury has made the questionable choice to dump the trainer that got him to this point, but he’s experienced enough to know what he needs to do on the night, and he’s brought in a team that will get the 6’9” heavyweight punching harder than ever before.
In the 2018 bout, ‘The Gypsy King’ buzzed Wilder a few times but didn’t pounce on the champ, and I think 5/1 for Fury to win inside the distance shouldn’t be ignored. I expect both men to weigh in heavier on Saturday for added power – neither wants to leave it to the judges this time.
Wilder has slowly developed into a high-level operator, and, although he lost almost all of the initial six rounds of his last contest against quality heavyweight Luis Ortiz, he manoeuvred the Cuban to the ropes in the seventh session, before icing him with one massive right hand.
I try to ignore most of the nonsense that Wilder comes out with, but he was right after the Ortiz fight when he said that he only needs to be perfect for two seconds to win by KO.
I can see Fury winning every round…until he gets too aggressive, or the cut he suffered in his last contest opens up again, or Wilder gets lucky. Deontay has stopped six of his last 10 opponents in rounds 7-12, and he dropped Tyson in the 9th and 12th in the last fight – this time Fury won’t get back up.
Bet of the bout: Wilder in rounds 7-12 at 11/4
The highlight of the undercard is Emanuel Navarrete’s super bantamweight title defence against Jeo Santisima (2am). The 25-year-old champ was uncommonly busy last year and he won all four of his fights by KO, while his even younger challenger is six years unbeaten with 16 from 19 wins coming early.
Mexico’s Navarrete is a massive favourite, and he’ll probably notch up another victim, but Santisima could raise his game in his first championship bout. Paddy is offering 20/1 for the Filipino underdog to win by KO and I think that is an outside bet worth a bit of change.