It’s here: A significant heavyweight fight between two top big men in the prime of their careers. The rematch between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury offers a little bit of everything: power, skill and just a little bit of bad blood.
SI.com boxing writers Chris Mannix and Greg Bishop answer a few burning questions going into Saturday’s anticipated rematch.
Who has more at stake on Saturday: Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury?
Chris Mannix: Wilder, easily. The Fury rematch is a significant piece of Wilder’s legacy. We all agree he is one of, perhaps the hardest hitting fighter ever. But if Wilder retired today, is he a Hall of Fame fighter? He has won one title. He has two significant wins, both over the same opponent. Beating Fury would flesh out that resume and (hopefully) begin a series of legacy defining fights which could include a third fight with Fury—the loser can exercise a rematch clause—a compelling fight against once-beaten Dillian Whyte and a hotly anticipated showdown with Anthony Joshua.
Greg Bishop: Ooh man I love this question. For me it’s Wilder. I feel like he has a higher ceiling, that he could be among the biggest stars in all of sports. I feel like he should be higher on that list already. But losing to Fury after fighting to a draw with him would significantly damper the height of his ceiling. It would still be high. There would still be great fights to be had. But it wouldn’t be the same.
More likely: Wilder by decision or Fury by knockout?
CM: Fury by knockout. When I popped into Wilder’s gym last month, I actually asked him: Do you even train to win a decision? That’s because he never seems concerned with racking up points. Fury isn’t a big puncher by any stretch, but he says he has added muscle for this fight, hooked up with a trainer, SugarHill Steward, who believes in knockouts and, well, 260-plus pounds is 260-plus pounds. Wilder has been buckled before, too, including in the first fight with Fury. It’s unlikely Fury stops him, but it’s far more likely than Wilder winning a decision.
GB: Fury by KO. The last fight showed how Fury is the superior boxer and had, at least when he was getting hit in the face, the superior tactics. I just don’t see Wilder overcoming that. Not where he wins seven rounds to take a decision. Fury, meanwhile, is a heavyweight and large men can punch. So it’s more likely he wins by KO.
How interested are you in seeing the winner face Anthony Joshua?
CM: How interested are you in dating Camille Kostek? Joshua against the winner is still the biggest fight that can be made in boxing, and it isn’t close. If it’s Wilder, it’s two big punchers who can win a fight in a blink. Don’t get caught up in Joshua’s loss to Andy Ruiz—Wilder is a bigger puncher than Ruiz, but he doesn’t have Ruiz’s granite chin. The fight is a coin flip. If it’s Fury, it’s perhaps the biggest fight in British boxing history, a Wembley Stadium sellout that would pit another boxer against a puncher. Interested? I’m downright giddy over it. Hi, Camille.
GB: Very. More so for Fury just because I’d love to see that fight in Wembley. But really for either of them. The more all these intriguing and flawed heavyweights fight each other the better it will be for boxing and that division in particular. I’d love to see all three of those dudes and others fight round robin style for the next five years.
CM: Wilder by knockout. When Fury signed the deal with Top Rank last year, delaying the rematch, I thought it would be good for Fury. Wilder would get a little older and Fury would benefit from a couple of tune-up fights. But Fury didn’t look very good in his last fight, against Otto Wallin, a fight that ended with Fury needing around 50 stitches to close a cut above his eye. He dumped his trainer, and … there just feels like there is something missing. Wilder, meanwhile, is fully healthy (a legitimate arm injury limited him in his last camp) and blasted out two legit contenders in Dominic Breazeale and Luis Ortiz last year. I think Wilder will be more prepared for Fury’s movement in this one and catch him with a big shot in the middle rounds.
GB: I go back and forth on this one. On one hand, it seems reasonable that Fury could be slightly more careful and still win the majority of the rounds and not get knocked down. But then I read that he put on all this weight and that seems like a terrible idea to avoid the right hand of one Deontay Wilder. So that’s where I am now. Wilder by KO. Round 10. Mark it down and bet the opposite.