BOXING analyst Nick Munday (@NM_Sport) shares his betting thoughts on Saturday night's big bout as Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder resume hostillities in Las Vegas.
Deontay Wilder v Tyson Fury | Sunday 23rd February 2020, 04:30 | BT Sport Box Office
In the early hours of Sunday morning, Deontay Wilder goes toe-to-toe with Tyson Fury once again for the WBC world heavyweight title in Las Vegas. Fights like this don’t come around too often. It’s expected to start between 4.30am-5am, so get the coffee in or set an alarm – whatever you do, don’t miss it!
Fifteen months ago Fury largely outboxed Wilder as the underdog in Los Angeles, but he hit the canvas twice and the fight ended in a controversial draw. Wilder is the hardest punching boxer on the planet with a record of 42-0-1 (41 knockouts), while Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs) is a slick, awkward mover with supreme boxing skill.
Most observers thought the Gypsy King should’ve got the nod. He wasn't in great condition back in December 2018 after two comeback fights against journeymen, but even then he was able to control the pace for the majority of the bout. Conditioning-wise, Fury is in a much better place now.
The change of trainer is a slight concern because he and Ben Davison worked well together, but it's not as if he's moved to an inexperienced coach. Javan ‘Sugar’ Hill, nephew of one of boxing’s greatest trainers Emanuel ‘Manny’ Steward, is known for a more attacking style. Fury seems like the type of character who needs to keep things fresh to avoid complacency, so the change in team could actually be a positive.
Last September the 31-year-old suffered a horrible cut over his right eye during his points win over Otto Wallin, requiring a whopping 47 stitches. This has led to him hiring legendary cutman Stitch Duran, so Wilder will waste no time trying to open the wound.
Tyson possesses the flow and rhythm to negate Wilder's attacks. He knows how to unsettle the balance of Wilder – who waits for his opponent to dip forward before planting his feet and detonating his bomb. Last time, Fury often threw the jab while circling around his rival.
In his last outing in November, Wilder lost every round against Luis Ortiz before knocking the 40-year-old veteran out in round six. The ‘Bronze Bomber’ has found himself behind on the cards numerous times since becoming world champion, but never loses self-belief.
Wilder’s proven he holds fight-changing power with his ‘Alabama hammer’ right hand. He won't be able to land enough punches each round to win on points, but the American will be banking on Fury tiring in the second half of the fight. If Wilder does catch up with Fury, it’d probably be about round nine.
Fit and focussed Fury to reign
CompuBox, a computerised punch scoring system run by two operators, found some interesting statistics from the first fight. Wilder out-threw Fury in 11/12 rounds, but Fury out-landed Wilder in 9/12 rounds, and was more accurate in 11/12 rounds.
Wilder landed 1/31 punches in the 10th when Fury had his best round (right after being knocked down in round nine). If the Brit can replicate the last performance – and cut out the drops in concentration – then he can box his way to a points win.
He’s talked up his chances of a knockout, and even though he's put on extra muscle, I don't see Fury stopping Wilder, who proved he has a great chin in his first bout with Ortiz.
After that heavy knockdown in the closing stages of their first tussle, he'll know that he can't afford to get complacent – he must respect that right hand for every single second if he wants to return to the top of the heavyweight class. It will be tough, but Fury has enough experience to stay switched on for 36 minutes to earn a points win (7/4 Betfred).
For a longshot, I'll be having £1 on a technical decision for both Fury (80/1) and Wilder (80/1). This occurs when a fight is stopped because of a headbutt and a fighter is deemed not able to continue due to a cut. As mentioned, Fury sustained an awful wound against Wallin that could well open up again. With a third fight between these two already planned, another controversial ending isn't out of the question.
Deontay Wilder v Tyson Fury – Tyson Fury to win on points (7/4 Betfred)