WBC and lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury faces Deontay Wilder in the third instalment of their pay-per-view trilogy on Saturday.
What was once regarded as an unnecessary third fight owing to a contractual commitment has rapidly transformed into must-see television.
Former unified champion Anthony Joshua’s shock defeat to Oleksandr Usyk two weeks ago threw the sport’s glamour division’s immediate future into disarray, heightening the stakes of a third Fury-Wilder bout,
20 months after Fury’s seventh-round TKO victory in their rematch.
From a commercial perspective, the winner of this unexpected third bout,
which takes place inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, may find himself as the division’s power figure going forward as the heavyweight face of the record.
The good news for fans is that action is anticipated regardless of how it all plays out, as both have been vocal about their hatred for one another,
with Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) seeking vengeance for his baseless allegations of cheating against Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) in 2020.
Despite scoring a couple of knockdowns during their contentious split draw in 2018, Wilder, 35, has lost the bulk of the 19 rounds in the series.
Even after being stopped for the first time in their rematch when now-fired assistant trainer Mark Breland threw in the towel to rescue Wilder from a one-sided thrashing, it hasn’t dampened his confidence.
“It’s going to be a battle,” Wilder told CBS Sports on Thursday.
“But I don’t believe [Fury] will be able to stand toe to toe with me.” “Even on my worst day, he couldn’t get me out of there in the state I was in. I was able to complete the battle on my feet.
I had a disloyal trainer throw in the towel despite the fact that I had taught him for years that he should never throw in the towel. You don’t toss a towel at a warrior, much alone a king.
Because I have the equaliser, you should let him fight to the finish.”
After bulking up for the rematch and hiring offensive-minded SugarHill Steward as his new head trainer, the 33-year-old Fury enters as the legitimate betting favourite.
Fury ditched his smooth and defensive boxing style from their previous encounter in favour of taking the fight straight to Wilder from the start.
Fury not only exposed Wilder’s incapacity to fight backwards,
but he also earned a huge psychological advantage by standing up to the larger puncher and leaning all over his injured opponent.
Because of his striking power, as well as the good adjustments he made during the almost two-year gap between bouts, Wilder remains a live underdog.
With the addition of new trainers Malik Scott and Don House, Wilder re-calibrated his squad around him.
He also shared a number of videos from training camp, demonstrating his renewed dedication to body punching.
It remains to be seen if this implies Wilder will be effective.
Fury isn’t persuaded that any fresh information regarding Wilder will influence the outcome.
“You can go to college and earn a master’s degree in almost two years, so it’s extremely simple for a boxer to accomplish,” Fury remarked at his last news conference on Wednesday.
“But no matter what Deontay Wilder does, I’m still going to knock him out… in a hurry, in a hurry.” “We simply bang and get it over with,” my trainer SugarHill adds.
Wilder has maintained that everyone involved in the rematch, from Fury to the referee, the Nevada commission, and even members of his own camp, conspired to bring him down.
Even though he blamed his weakness during the battle on the 40-pound costume he wore to the ring that night, he still intends to make an equally extravagant entrance on Saturday night.
It’s an interesting juxtaposition to see. Nonetheless, it’s obvious that Wilder is unconcerned about the impact of his remarks on his public image,
which makes even an amateur psychologist understand that it’s all part of what motivates him to be his best.
Wilder said, “I have nothing to prove.” “I’ve always been in a wonderful place,
in a great frame of mind. I have a lot of wonderful individuals in my life who have been covering me the whole time.
There isn’t anything to prove. This is all of the above: redemption, vengeance, and retribution.”
Fury, on the other hand, sees all of Wilder’s eccentricities as a sign of weakness.
“It simply tells you that I’ve been living rent-free in Wilder’s head for the last two years,” Fury added.
“He sees Tyson Fury every time he looks in the mirror.”
He sees the ‘Gypsy King’ every time he goes to bed before closing his eyes at night.
And when he wakes up in the morning and thinks about it, he thinks about Tyson Fury.
It must be insane to devote so much of one’s life to a guy like me. It’s completely insane.”
The good news for Wilder is that the same equation that has always been in play throughout his career is still in play when it comes to predicting how the third bout will play out.
“One of my favorite quotes is that these men must be flawless for 12 rounds.
“I just have two seconds to be flawless,” Wilder said. “With my knockout power, I’m one of the most dangerous — if not the most dangerous – fighters in the history of boxing, and it’s not going away.”
It goes all the way from the first to the 12th [round], and that is what makes me so dangerous.”
The undercard is as deep as it gets on PPV, with each fight attracting attention and all taking place in the heavyweight category.
In the co-main event, Cuban Frank Sanchez will face Efe Ajagba, a promising prospect from Nigeria.
After a stunning upset knockout by Robert Helenius in March 2020,
Adam Kownacki is out for retribution. To begin, top American prospect Jared “Big Baby” Anderson will face veteran Vladimir Tereshkin.
But it isn’t the only thing you should know about this weekend. Edgar Berlanga takes on Marcelo Esteban Caceres in a super middleweight matchup in the prelims.
With 16 straight first-round knockouts, Berlanga matched for the all-time record for a career start.
That run came to a stop in April when he lost a decision to Demond Nicholson, but he hopes to resume it on Saturday night.
Before making a prediction on the main event, let’s take a closer look at the bout card and odds.
Fury vs. Wilder 3 fight card, odds
Caesars Sportsbook has the odds.
WBC heavyweight title fight: Tyson Fury (c) -270 vs. Deontay Wilder (+220).
Heavyweights Frank Sanchez -180 vs. Efe Ajagba +155
Heavyweights Adam Kownacki -220 vs. Robert Helenius +180
Heavyweights Jared Anderson -1500 vs. Vladimir Tereshkin +800
For as long as it lasts, this has all the makings of a gunfight.
Although Fury’s intentions were questioned when he boldly said he was aiming for the knockout ahead of their rematch in 2020, his prognosis proved prophetic given his performance,
which featured a notable lack of resistance from a shellshocked Wilder.
Fury has forecast yet another early halt, and there’s reason to think it’s both feasible and the best plan for him. Despite the fact that everyone from critics to Fury himself should anticipate a better Wilder with nothing to lose as he approaches his last chance at redemption, the greatest way to defeat a bully is to stand up to him.
Fury will, without a doubt, need to strike a delicate balance between aggressiveness and recklessness.
With an adversary, this deadly, one mistake may be too many.
Nonetheless, Fury’s unusual combination of size, speed, and elusiveness should suffice.
Wilder, with whatever he has left, will be the most dangerous early on.
Unlike his championship run, which was frequently against opponents who were nowhere like as talented as Fury, Wilder has often depended on his opponents tiring just enough to make a critical error,
allowing him to finish the fight with his tremendous power.
Wilder won’t have that luxury against this version of Fury,
so he’ll have to harness his aggressiveness from his 2017 rematch with Bermane Stiverne when he basically went for broke in the hopes of forcing a shootout.
On his way to winning in this third bout,
don’t be shocked if Fury is clipped or perhaps knocked down.
Just expect him to get up — again — before completing the job with his cunning and skill in the most brutal and thrilling chapter of their rivalry.