It’s almost go time. You’ve pondered the possibilities, sifted intel, watched and listened for tells. And tomorrow (Saturday) night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, we will see if WBC & RING Magazine Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury (30-0-1) can successfully defend his titles against the former champion Deontay Wilder (42-1-1).
With all the story lines that have accompanied the first two fights, it is almost expected that something out of the ordinary will occur Saturday night in Vegas. So, I wanted to gather a solid array of boxing pundits but top level pugilism veterans and fans of the sport, from the world of Hollywood, to try and cover all the bases as to what might transpire in that squared circle.
Panel, have at it… Fury versus Wilder, who wins and how will they do it?
George Foreman (Boxing Hall of Famer): Fury by decision
It can be a close fight for twelve rounds. Wilder is now prepared as he had no idea the big guy (Fury) would attack him and go for a knockout so early. He’s now in shape but must realize that he is not feared, which will make him box. I think the fight will go the distance and Tyson Fury will win by points.
Holt McCallany (Hollywood Actor): Wilder
My take on the fight is this: how could they possibly have let Anthony Joshua in the ring with Oleksandr Usyk and jeopardize a fight worth hundreds of millions? We saw in the first Andy Ruiz fight that a smaller guy with fast hands who is a good boxer can beat Joshua. Did they watch Usyk's previous fights? He's one of the best pound for pound boxers in the world. So, a monumentally stupid decision not to give Wilder step aside money no matter how much they had to pay. 10 million? 20? So what? The fight was worth hundreds of millions. So, they blew it. In a big way.
As far as Saturday night goes, I'm expecting to see a different Wilder. I thought it was disgraceful what he did to my friend Mark Breland, who once trained me in the amateurs. But now it's all on the line for Wilder. If he gets dominated again like he did last time, any hope of being remembered among boxing's great punchers like Foreman and Tyson will go away. So I expect Wilder to fight with much greater intensity and motivation than last time. I expect him to show up in the best shape of his life. And realize he can't go backwards. He's not Ali. He must land the right hand. Which means he has to throw it. Often. Can he do it? Fury is by far the superior boxer. But it's an existential contest for Wilder. So, believe it or not, I'm picking Wilder.
David E. Phillips (Awards Daily/NyFights): Fury TKO 9
In what depressingly stands in as the biggest heavyweight fight of the year, I suspect the lumbering Fury to defeat the one-trick pony known as Deontay Wilder. There’s always a chance that Wilder lands that huge right hand of his and saves the day for himself, but Fury has already proven he can get up after taking Wilder’s best shot.
Not to mention, Wilder should be charging Fury rent for all the room Fury is taking up in Wilder’s head. I’m thinking Fury takes out an exhausted Wilder in the 9th by TKO. Then let’s just hope Fury doesn’t sing during the post-fight interview.
Charles Malik Whitfield (Hollywood Actor): Wilder KO 7
Sometimes you never know what you can win until you lose it. Wilder must dig deeper than he ever has before. I give the athletic edge to him, and he will need that to outsmart and outlast Fury. I’m predicting Wilder by knockout around the seventh round.
It is hard to pick a winner. The two have switched roles, as two years ago, Fury was seeking redemption while Wilder was a generational puncher, who had an aura about him – not unlike Sonny Liston, Mike Tyson, or Brock Lesnar. The pair would fight two times as you know, and Fury would stop Wilder in the second bout, as Wilder had an assortment of reasons for the loss, none of which were beginning with the word “I” in them. Now Wilder is the man looking to redeem himself in the ring, and Fury is looking to be a lock for the Hall of Fame, a complete role reversal from the first bout and why as fans we love the movie-like quality of boxing so much.
Fury is a generational great, and one of the best heavyweights ever, and if he is focused and in shape, Wilder seemingly has little to nothing to offer for him. Wilder, on the other hand, despite his lack of accountability, is focused and has a family-like atmosphere with his team.
OK, storylines are nice, but I will go with Fury to win the bout – he is just the more talented fighter, and the best heavyweight of this era. I expect Wilder to start fast whether looking to time a punch, probably a jab and counter with his money punch, a right hand. One thing to keep in mind is Wilder's new coach, former professional boxer Malik Scott had a lot of the traits of Tyson Fury as a fighter, so if anyone can crack the Fury code it would be him. But I see the gap in skill being too vast and Fury winning however he chooses to on Saturday night.
Matt Andrzejewski (NyFights): Fury TKO 7
Fury and Wilder have fought a total of 19 rounds. Of those 19 rounds Fury has dominated 17 of them in my eyes. The only two rounds he didn't dominate were when he found himself on the canvas in the first fight. Wilder has a punchers’ chance here, but I think we see a replay of the second fight. Fury TKO 7.
Jacob Rodriguez (NYFights): Fury TKO 6-7
“Talk is cheap!” All of the out-of-the-ring trash-talk will come to a head when Fury and Wilder face off Saturday night. In the past, my boxing Extrasensory Perception (ESP) allowed me to make confidant pre-fight predictions. However, my crystal ball is clouded, and it is hard for me to identify a clear winner for this heavyweight trilogy.
Fury and Wilder both have physical gifts that make them hard to pick one over the other. Fury is a gifted boxer whose boxing skills are far more superior to Wilders.’ And Wilder’s powerful straight right has proven to be the equalizer to his opponents’ boxing skills. Who amongst the two can win the “battlefield of the minds” will win the fight.
Earlier this year, Fury was set to fight Anthony Joshua and had no intentions of facing Wilder. Has Fury made the necessary mental adjustments to face Wilder a third time? It is clear to see that losing to Fury affected Wilder's self-confidence in a way. Of course, I'm speculating while analyzing Wilder's body language during press conferences.
Given what I have seen over the last two fights, I hesitantly give the edge to Fury. Having tasted Wilder's power, getting up from a brutal knockdown, and dominating the rematch, it is hard to envision Wilder winning this fight.
I'm not buying what he is selling regarding Malik Scott's claim that Wilder has made the necessary changes to win this fight. I believe Wilder will revert to his old self once the battle heats up, and Fury will once again capitalize on Wilder’s shortcomings. Somewhere in between the 6th and 7th rounds, the referee stops the fight, and Fury wins again by TKO. I can’t rule out that there is a possibility, ironically, but not unlikely, that Malik Scott stops this fight to save Wilder from another beating.
Johnny Wilds (Boxing Sharp): Fury
Fury has dominated Wilder in 15 of 19 total rounds fought thus far. I don't see a new trainer, a new focus as to anything that game changing for Wilder. Fury to win.
The Las Vegas SuperBook opened Fury -280 and Wilder +240. After seeing 98% of the money wagered and 91% of all tickets written on Wilder, they have adjusted the line to -270/+230. The over under is listed as 7.5 rounds over -125 and under +105 and has seen negligible action thus far according to Jeff Sherman, VP of Risk Management. (Editor's Note: As of Friday morning, the lines have moved back to Fury -280 and Wilder +240.)
Panel Results: Fury 7-2
My Three Cents:
There is something about this fight that raises the hairs on my arms when I think about it. This fight will literally have you on the edge of your seat as anything can happen at any moment.
Fury is the master of mind games and Wilder can put you to sleep with one punch. Who wins the battle between these two titans? I think Fury boxes more this time around and is less aggressive which results in a decision victory for the Brit.
Whatever you do, make sure that you hit the purchase button on your remote this Saturday night and witness two of the best heavyweights compete for the WBC and RING Magazine titles.