Wilder vs Fury: The Fight City Picks

When talk first surfaced several months ago of Tyson Fury abandoning his own comeback schedule to instead challenge WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, very few took the idea seriously. After all, Fury had not only been out of action for more than two years and allowed himself to get woefully out of shape, but since returning to the ring this past June he has faced only two fringe contenders, one of whom was a cruiserweight. Simple logic dictated that much more preparation was in order before “The Furious One” could compete again at the elite level.

However, when negotiations for a huge, high-stakes showdown between Wilder and Anthony Joshua fell through, Fury stepped up and publicly challenged the WBC belt-holder. But even after promoter Frank Warren stated definitively in August that Wilder vs Fury “was on,” many were skeptical. But here we are. On Saturday night, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the lineal championship and Wilder’s WBC belt will be on the line as two undefeated warriors collide in one of the biggest heavyweight fights of recent years. And so here too are our fearless predictions for the showdown between “The Bronze Bomber” and “The Gypsy King.” Check ’em out:

There is little margin for error against a puncher like Wilder, and despite what his revamped physique suggests, Fury is not the same fighter as the one who outboxed Wladimir Klitschko three years ago. Furthermore, in a fight where there is likely to be more posturing than punching, the advantage probably lies with the more explosive attacker who is quicker on the draw, which is Wilder. So, whether he sets it up with the jab, a throwaway left hook, or times it to counter an opposing jab, my hunch is that Wilder catches Fury off-guard with the right hand and stops the former champion before he finds his rhythm. Wilder by TKO.       — Lee Wylie

Wilder nails Szpilka: quicker on the draw?

I see Wilder scoring a late round stoppage. While Fury is more fluid, his power and strength is no match for Wilder, who has knocked out every man he’s faced. Wilder might hurt Fury in the early going, but I think it will take “The Bronze Bomber” a few rounds to get set, similar to how he struggled to find a rhythm against Luis Ortiz. Before Wilder finds Fury in there, I see the lineal champion outworking Wilder and winning the early rounds with his footwork, awkward style, and long jab, but once Wilder drops some bombs, I just don’t see Fury being able to handle Deontay’s intensity. He might handle Wilder’s power out of sheer madness for a few rounds, but I can’t see him surviving once Deontay smells blood. Wilder TKO 10.             — Alden Chodash

Wilder by KO.      — Rafael Garcia

Fury, Warren and Wilder: The fight is on!

Fury will frustrate Wilder round after round until “The Broze Bomber” catches Tyson sometime around the eighth. Fury will get off the canvas once, maybe even twice, but he won’t survive. Wilder by late round stoppage.         — Sean Crose

Like pretty much everyone else, I thought this fight was coming far too soon for Fury to have any prospect of victory. But now I countenance the idea that Tyson just may get his crown back. Maybe it was hearing him wax lyrical about conquering his mental demons on the Joe Rogan podcast. Maybe it was seeing videos of the “Bronze Bomber” struggling to hit the pads consistently during an open workout. Or maybe it’s just the dawning awareness that Tyson’s awkward rhythm and elusiveness could cause free-swinging Wilder – with his godawful footwork and telegraphed punches – nightmares.  When you think about it, it’s not that outlandish. Those picking Wilder by brutal early stoppage should be reminded that Chris Arreola lasted eight; Szpilka survived nine; Duhaupas eleven. So with no great deal of confidence, I pick Fury to score a points victory and record the Comeback of the Decade (Century? Millennium?)   — Ronnie McCluskey 

Fury challenges Wilder in January of 2016.

Here’s the truth that many seem to be overlooking: Tyson Fury doesn’t need this fight. But he wants it. He chose it. He went out of his way to get it. Why? Because he knows he has the skills to neutralize Wilder and take advantage of the fact that — as Deontay’s own trainer admits — the WBC champion boxes like a novice. I envision Fury starting fast and keeping Wilder off-balance and backing up. He’ll use a pesky jab and flurries of quick shots along with copious amounts of clinching and wrestling to frustrate “The Bronze Bomber” and prevent him from launching his big bombs. As the bout progresses, it will be Fury who gains confidence and control while Wilder will be reduced to throwing one big shot at a time and getting increasingly discouraged with every big miss. Fury by decision.             — Robert Portis 

I see Deontay’s wild and unorthodox punches surprising Fury at some point and catching him. Hard to avoid the Bronze Bomber’s bombs for the full twelve and I question if Fury’s chin can take them. Wilder by KO.        — Jamie Rebner

Can Fury recapture the form that befuddled Klitschko?

Deontay Wilder is all upside, deadly power in both gloves with 39 knockouts; Fury is still a work-in-progress on the comeback trail. Fury could be a threat if in fighting shape, but while the man is game, with a heart as big as his mouth, he just isn’t where he needs to be. Fury’s last showing against Francesco Pianeta, a statue, was not impressive. The talking heads covering that performance speculated that Fury was “holding back” something to keep it in reserve for Wilder. Nope. What you saw was what you got and it’s all that Fury’s got. But when you consider Wilder’s proven KO power, even a Tyson Fury in the best of condition, say the condition he was in against Wladimir Klitschko, likely isn’t good enough to take Wilder down. Bottom line: Deontay is primed and ready to fight; Tyson is not. Wilder by KO or late round stoppage.            — Ralph M. Semien

Wilder by late round TKO.   — Jeffrey Fuss

Wilder rumbles with Luis Ortiz.

I like Fury’s attitude a lot going into this fight. As usual, he clearly got the better of the mind games during the press conferences, and while that doesn’t always translate to the ring, he seems to be thriving off the danger. He’ll need to be a lot better than he looked in his tune up fights, but he spars endlessly in the gym and this will have helped him get his timing back. Both guys have that kind of “awkwardly effective” style, and yes, Wilder can bang, but let’s also not forget just how close he was to being taken out by Ortiz, or how rudimentary his punching technique can be. The American will naturally pose danger throughout, but I think if Fury can outbox and outwork Wilder to take a decision. Fury on points.           — Matt O’Brien

Wilder in a blowout.    — Michael Ezra 

Generally skill is going to outdo power in boxing, and especially when it’s power and not that much else. But in this case we’re not sure if Tyson Fury, the skill in the equation, can return at a higher level than we’ve seen thus far in his comeback. While Fury may also have gotten his weight down, what was the cost of that? Deontay Wilder is raw and much of his ledger is a joke, but it might not take more than a punch or two to end this. Wilder TKO10.        — Patrick Connor

I’ve gone back and forth on Wilder vs Fury multiple times, and a big part of me wants to believe that Wilder will deliver and ice Fury in spectacular fashion. For some reason, I’m not fully convinced that will happen. This isn’t just because of Wilder’s crude technique, but also because Fury employs a unique array of skills and natural boxing ability for such a big man. That said, Wilder has boxing’s great equalizer and the heart to match. The thinking here is that Fury schools and frustrates for much of the contest, only for Wilder to rally and stop him late. Wilder KO 10         — Zachary Alapi

Talking with International star scribe Gareth Davies, the feeling has been Fury could have used a legit tune up versus a big man. Yes Fury is talented, yes he is crafty, but he has never taken on a prime heavyweight who could punch. Feeling is that eventually Wilder will land a big shot and as we saw with Cunningham, that could be all she wrote for Fury.        — Chris Connor

I’m hoping Tyson can pull it out but I expect Wilder is going to have his hand raised.        — Manny Montreal 

Tyson Fury has made me like him. I listened to him open up Joe Rogan, I read Mark Kriegel’s profile of him, and I’ve heard him try to get into Wilder’s head, and he’s endearing. I honestly can’t believe I said that, but it’s true. Maybe, like everyone else, I like a comeback story. Unfortunately, I don’t think this one has a happy ending because at some point Wilder will tag him, probably in the mid rounds. “The Bronze Bomber” showed a ton of toughness against the powerful Ortiz, so he’ll have no fear of Fury, who isn’t much of a knockout threat. “The Gypsy King” might be ahead on points when it happens, but he’ll get stopped. Wilder by KO.          — Joshua Isard

Who doesn’t love a fairytale ending to a heart-warming story? Especially when the protagonist in question is as likeable as Tyson Fury. In the other corner is an obnoxious but ridiculously talented pugilist in Deontay Wilder. But as good as Wilder is, I thought he left himself open to a dangerous extent against Ortiz and was even hurt early in that contest. I wonder if Fury might find those same openings and do some damage, but then again, Fury hasn’t impressed since returning. That said, I’m going with my heart and not my head because I want to see the fable have a happy ending, as any good yarn should. Fury with the upset.            — Kieron Yates

This is an intriguing crossroads matchup of two of the division’s most talked about heavyweights. Wilder has knocked out everyone put in front of him but Fury has a track record of making his opponents uncomfortable. This could be trouble for Wilder, who has never faced anyone with the unique skill set that “The Gypsy King” possesses. The question marks surrounding Fury focus on his long period of inactivity and drug usage. My bet is “The Bronze Bomber” will be too much for the unknown that is Fury coming off a long layoff. Wilder by decision.        — Thad Moore

I was extremely skeptical of Deontay Wilder up until the Ortiz fight. He showed me a great deal in that one and while I, like many, acknowledge his technical shortcomings, there’s no doubt the man has guts, a solid chin and freakish power. 12 rounds is a long time for Fury to keep that power at bay and I’m not sure he’s strong enough to do it. And even if he does, I suspect he’s going to be on the defensive and losing rounds. Wilder by decision or late round stoppage.        — Michael Carbert

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