On Saturday night the world of boxing will come to a standstill as heavyweight power houses Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury go toe-to-toe in one of the most highly anticipated re-matches of all time.
This is a bout that needed little promo work to sell but the fighters pre-fight press conference threatened to turn to mayhem earlier this week as both men almost came to blows which is always good for PPV sales.
If you remember the build up to the original showdown, many felt former champion Fury had bitten off more than he could chew as the explosive Wilder was just a third opponent since returning from a near three-year hiatus with wins over far lesser opponents being less than convincing displays.
Such concerns were blown out of the water early on in the bout at Staples Center in LA as the British fighter made his American opponent look careless and sloppy in his work as Fury put the squeeze on.
The turning point came in round nine when Wilder sent Fury crashing to the canvas and he replicated the same feat in the final round only for Fury to rise from the dead in a scene more familiar to followers of the Undertake in WWE and at the end of it all we were left with three different sets of scorecards and a controversial draw.
Many felt Fury had been robbed of the victory in front of a partisan US crowd but at the same time we saw Wilder’s punching power at it’s very best with those two devastating knockdowns but on the flip side there are very few men other than Fury who could have come through such shots and that’s got to give the Britain belief ahead of the re-match.
For me the key to this fight won’t be how the men attack but how they fight off the back foot as both fighters clearly posses an ability to end a fight with one big punch at anytime (particularly Wilder), but with Fury regarded as the more technical of the two Wilder will have to show an improvement off the back foot, with the American rarely if ever finding himself anything other than the aggressor in his 43 career fights.
Fury has made no secret of his intention to be more aggressive this time around and you’ve got to imagine he will come on again having had two more bouts since the first fight while Wilder was well behind on the scorecards in his most recent bout against Luis Ortiz only for the American to deliver a trademark knockout blow in round 7 to go 42-0-1 in his pro career with 41 of those wins coming by KO, he really is one of the most exciting show stoppers boxing has ever seen.
The betting markets have these men neck for neck at 10/11 each and I’m also finding this re-match desperately difficult to call. The two most likely scenarios are Wilder by KO (5/4) or Fury by points (6/4) as we famously saw when he dethroned Wladimir Klitschko with a tactical master class in Germany.
Are you really going to make me call it? If so, I go with Fury to nick it as he’s already displayed an ability to take Wilder’s near best shot on the chin and as we all know he is an absolute master when it comes to mind games and drawing an opponent in mid-fight with plenty of chat and taunting between exchanges so let’s see if he can make Wilder look sloppy in the early stages here again.
VERDICT: Fury (10/11)
BEST BET: Fury on points (6/4)