Fury Wilder 3 preview: Which big man will win Saturday?
LAS VEGAS, Nevada, October 8, 2021 – It’s a long time since a heavyweight prizefight drew the world’s attention to Las Vegas. It’s been precisely 593 days. It will be 594 days on Saturday when WBC World Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury of Great Britain stands across the ring from former WBC World Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder Tuscaloosa, Alabama, for the third time. The fight airs at 9 pm ET/6 pm PT on PBC on Fox Sports PPV.
Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) and Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) have a healthy dislike for each other, expressed seemingly every single one of those 593 days since they stage their rematch, ending in the surprising seventh-round TKO win by Fury over Wilder. It wasn’t that he won. It was how he did it, out punching the most feared power puncher in boxing.
The last step on the journey before the ring walk was a step onto the scales. No fans were allowed to attend (because COVID-19), but it was streamed live for anyone to see. The combatants were well aware of it.
Both men weighed in at their all-time career highs. Fury tipped the scales at a whopping 277 pounds, four pounds heavier than his last fight with Wilder. Wilder weighed in at 238 pounds, seven more than the previous mark of 231 pounds in his previous fight against Fury.
Fight analysis of this polarizing matchup provides a boxing Rorschach test. What to read from the inkblot known as the weigh-in?
Fury was his customary bombastic self. No person on the planet has more confidence. Wilder fans (AKA the Bomb Squad) catcalled Fury, who gave them the middle finger salute. He had plenty to say about his opponent.
“It means total obliteration of a dosser! Total annihilation!” shouted Fury. Of Wilder and his trainer Malik Scott, he derides them. “Both ain’t worth a sausage. (Scott) couldn’t teach him anything. There’s a man here that’s going to annihilate you dosser, the Gypsy King.” Asked to predict the outcome, Fury said, “With him severely hurt on the floor, smashed to bits. Looks like he’s been run over by an 18-wheeler truck. Ooh, I can’t wait for Saturday night. I’m going to really severely damage him. He’ll be unrecognizable after the fight. His pretty wife down there won’t recognize him. I’ll send him home butchered,” declared Fury.
Wilder’s demeanor was calm, right up to the socially distanced faceoff. Save for a slashing gesture across the throat on the scale and a single “BOMB SQZAAAAAAAADD” shout. Wilder demonstrated the cultivated calm seen over the last few weeks. “Calmness is the key to the storm. I know when I’m not calm, my mind is cloudy when My mind is cloudy, I make bad decisions. Redemption is upon us. I’m reintroducing myself to the world as Deontay Wilder.” Of his weight, Wilder said, “It won’t be none of that rushing me and putting his weight on me, nothing like that,” said Wilder, who described his camp as joyful.
Without the usual throng of partisan fans in the arena, the temperature was cooled a bit. Nevertheless, protective barriers and plenty of security were present on stage to prevent the bad blood seen briefly at Tuesday’s final news conference from boiling over. No way would anyone involved let this bout get derailed at this point.
The Case for Wilder
Wilder is coming off his first professional loss, facing the man who took his title from him. The defeat was especially humiliating for Wilder, called by his cornerman Mark Breland. His road to redemption started by firing Breland and hiring his friend and former opponent, Malik Scott. The delay getting to Saturday’s fight allowed Wilder more time to work with Scott and get to know him.
Scott’s training methods involve building muscle memory and reflex action by repeated drilling of specific skills. Time is an asset here. Time also heals, and Wilder needs this time to reconcile his emotional loss. If you take his demeanor at face value, he’s resolute and calm in his belief he knows what it takes this time to win.
Any flaws aside, Wilder has the most powerful single punch in boxing today. His right hand can erase the scorecards in a flash. It came out to play in his first fight with Fury, but he rose like Lazarus from the canvas, the first to do so. The right hand was neutralized by Fury’s aggressive approach in the second fight. If Fury can deploy it Saturday, he always has a chance to win.
The other possible road to victory lies in Wilder using his reach and strength to jab, jab, jab at Fury. Scott teaches a long rangefinder jab, and if Wilder is in condition to chip away at Fury, he can prevail on the cards in a technical fight. It might not thrill fans, but it will return Wilder’s title to him, and his devoted Bomb Squad won’t care how he does it.
The Case for Fury
Fury has the extraordinary ability to deliver radically different game plans from fight to fight. Few people believed the Gypsy King when he said he would blast Wilder out of the ring in two rounds in their last fight. It took seven stunning rounds, but Fury was good to his word.
Fury’s strategy is rendered brilliant in hindsight. Adding on weight boosted his power without slowing him down in the ring. He was fit, focused, and beautifully prepared. While he didn’t deliver his promised second-round knockout, he delivered a wildly entertaining if one-sided fight. This time, Fury claims he’ll send Wilder home in three rounds.
Fury readily admits time out of the ring is not his friend. His well-documented mental health issues are kept at bay when he’s busy in the gym training. The coronavirus pandemic derailed everyone. If Fury’s mind isn’t right, or if his size is due more to a lack of work rather than an actual strategic choice, he will need to find a different way to win this time. Bigger heavyweights know how to crowd their smaller opponents with a smotherfest and wear them out. Power punchers lose their sting, and the bigger man prevails.
Prediction: Bet on Fury again in ten
Working with Sugarhill Steward employing the Kronk Gym approach to offense, Fury added knockout punching to his existing skills proved a winning formula in the second fight. He demoralized and humiliated the proud Alabaman champion. Wilder went home and publicly licked his wounds, full of excuses and conspiracy theories that only his most devoted fans could believe.
Fury came in heavy in the last fight, but he still moved around the ring with ease. He can do the same Saturday or use himself as a human barricade and lean on Wilder to wear him down. Wilder’s weight could signal he’s coming in to burn hot and go for an early knockout as his best chance for the win.
Fury says he’s been living in Wilder’s head rent-free ever since then. He’s right. Every fight is won or lost in the mind before it’s made real in the ring. Fury is undefeated in fight leadups. He commands attention. Las Vegas is his second home. But there are far fewer British fans in Las Vegas this time due to pandemic restrictions. It will be more of a Wilder house, and his partisan fans are raising their voices.
Wilder, a man from humble beginnings, came to boxing at the late age of 20 and has learned the sport in full public view. Whether he’s successfully hit the reset button due to being humbled by Fury is a significant question this fight will answer.
Wilder is a much better boxer than given credit, and his power is undeniable. But he can’t adjust on the fly in the ring. With Fury, he is defensively vulnerable. Fury drew blood in the last bout. He doesn’t give him many chances to set up a knockout punch. It isn’t a secret where it comes from. Wilder has just one real way to win. Fury has choices.
After 19 rounds, Fury has won 18 of them. There’s no reason to think it will change on Saturday. Wilder will come much better prepared by Malik Scott. He won’t get blown out as quickly as Fury promises, so don’t put your hard-earned money on it. Bet the over for a start. We can’t see Wilder affecting enough change otherwise. Fury will wear Wilder down. It could go all the way to the final bell, but we see Fury wearing Wilder down to the point of a late referee stoppage in round ten.
The only thing we can count on: Wilder’s corner won’t throw in the towel no matter how bad it gets. If Wilder goes out, it’s on his shield or with an assist from referee Russell Mora.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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