Here we go!
Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder conclude their trilogy Saturday, with Fury putting his WBC heavyweight title on the line and Wilder looking to save some face after their last bout. The road to this fight has featured all sorts of drama. If you’ve missed the soap opera along the way, let’s catch you up with the “reader’s digest” version.
Fury battled addiction and depression, and found himself weighing more than 300 pounds. He made a life-changing decision to get back on track, and boy did he. After Fury worked his way back into fight shape, the two met in late December 2018 and fought to a split draw in a fight many thought Fury won, despite being dropped twice and rising back to his feet a la The Undertaker. Fury won two more fights against Tom Schwarz and Otto Wallin, while Wilder awaited the Fury rematch. In February 2020, the two squared off in their second match where Fury beat Wilder, resulting in a seventh-round stoppage when Wilder’s corner threw in the towel.
In the months following his first and only loss, Wilder split with his longtime trainer, Mark Breland, and went on a rampage with an endless list of excuses that he claimed impacted his performance against Fury. A heavy walkout costume drained his legs, referee Kenny Bayless was team Fury and biased in his officiating and Wilder even said Breland was secretly working with the Fury team.
With the third fight being delayed and pushed aside to allow a matchup between Fury and Anthony Joshua, Wilder protested and received a ruling from an arbitrator that mandated his ability to secure a third fight prior to the Joshua match. The third match was set for June, but a positive COVID-19 test for Fury postponed the event.
So, here we are.
Let’s dive into a quick breakdown of what's in store Saturday night:
TALE OF THE TAPE
NOTES ON WILDER
- In his only decision win, Wilder defeated Bermane Stiverne to win his IBF Heavyweight title in 2015. He’s defended the strap 10 times.
- With a 98% finish rate, Wilder has KO/TKO’d all of his opponents, except for one. Many consider him the hardest hitter in the sport.
- Since splitting with Mark Breland, Wilder has been working with Jay Deas, boxing trainer and UFC cut man Don House and sparring partner Robert Helenius, who also fights on the card Saturday night.
NOTES ON FURY
- Fury is the former WBA, IBF, WBO, IBO and The Ring champion after he beat Wladimir Klitschko back in 2015. Due to personal matters, Fury relinquished the titles just a year later, as he was unable to fulfill negotiations and the rematch clause with Klitschko.
- Fury was on his way to a decision victory against Wilder in their first match until he was knocked down in the final round and made the count with just seconds to go. Fury out-landed Wilder in 9 of the 12 rounds in that fight.
- Since the draw, Fury has secured three more wins, finishing Tom Schwarz and winning via unanimous decision against Otto Wallin, then ultimately rematching Wilder and winning via seventh round stoppage.
- Fury has had Covid twice, which has resulted in the postponement of this third matchup.
As we review the odds pre weigh-in, Fury is a massive -310 favorite at SI Sportsbook with the comeback on Wilder hovering around +220. In their last matchup, Wilder was a slight favorite at -125, with Fury at +105. Prop bets favor Fury via TKO/KO/DQ at -110, followed by Fury via decision around +250 and Wilder via TKO/KO/DQ close behind at +300.
MONEY COMING IN
Early in the week, the large majority of total bets are coming in on Wilder, with about a 50/50 split with overall cash between the two.
WHO ARE YOU TAKING?
Going back to their first matchup, I placed a position on Fury, but wasn’t surprised when I heard that split draw read from the cards. Boxing has always had some shady judging tied to it unfortunately, and it’s always something to consider. I still believe Fury won that fight and I’d make the same wager again, which I did in their second bout. Cha Ching.
When we look at that first match, Fury out-struck Wilder in 9 of the 12 rounds, and he should have easily taken 7 or 8 on the cards. In both knockdowns, Fury wasn’t hurt. The knockdown highlight came in the 12th round, but he proved he was fine by jumping right up, running around and even brought some heat as the fight came to a close. He is the better boxer, both coming forward and on the defense.
In my opinion, Wilder’s only path to victory is a knockout. Wilder has a massive 98% knockout rate, and in his two previous rematches (Louis Ortiz, Bermane Stiverne), Wilder destroyed both in much less time. We saw the opposite in the Fury rematch, as Fury dominated, out-landing Wilder, 82-34, in total punches, while also landing 58 power punches in less than seven rounds, compared to 38 in their first fight which went the distance. Combining the two previous fights, Fury has clearly won all but two or three of the 19 total rounds. Statistics show that when fighter A wins via knockout over fighter B, the same result happens in the rematch more than 80% of the time.
Wilder, known as “the hardest puncher in heavyweight history,” has one path to victory. If he can land clean just one time, it could even the score. Working against him is that volume, defense and the overall boxing ability edge go to Fury, and Wilder is facing the one guy who not only beat him but finished him. This will definitely play an emotional factor, and Wilder’s ability to stay composed is already suspect.
For me, the question is not if Fury wins, but how? Oddsmakers have him winning via TKO/KO again as the favored result, but I’m curious as to what improvements Wilder made his during time off, and if these two battles with Covid will impact Fury. I anticipate the public to continue to pound the Wilder line at plus-money, with sharps letting the line come down to a sweet spot they will pound prior to fight time. I like the over 7 ½ rounds at -120, with the Fury side.
Enjoy the fights!