Their first battle in December of 2018 was an entertaining and surprisingly dramatic tilt with an unforgettable final round, but the draw verdict at the end left many dissatisfied. But now, at long last, chapter two in what could well become an historic heavyweight rivalry is just days away. And indeed, what better cure for the February blahs could there be than Wilder vs Fury II, a showdown to decide ostensibly the lineal heavyweight king, as well as the logical next opponent for that other heavyweight titlist, Anthony Joshua? It’s another high-stakes clash between two of boxing’s most colorful characters, the power of “The Bronze Bomber” vs the unorthodox ring smarts of “The Gypsy King.” Who’s gonna take it? The fine people at your favorite independent boxing website got their picks locked and loaded. Check ’em out:
In the first fight, Wilder stalked Fury with one thing in mind: land the right hand. Deontay occasionally jabbed to the body and chest and snuck in the odd left hook downstairs, but ultimately, he was just too impatient and predictable in search of the knockout. When Fury wasn’t rolling, slipping and sliding away from the right hand, he nullified it by disrupting Wilder with feints, not allowing him to set his feet, and by occupying his guard with the jab and quick-fire one-twos.
But Fury’s primary and most intuitive defensive measure was to duck under the big right. However, that reliance on ducking almost cost him, as Deontay started aiming lower with the right hand and timing Fury as he ducked. This adjustment led to Wilder scoring two knockdowns in the last four rounds, which in turn led to him getting a draw in a fight where he lost the majority of rounds.
“Boxers” typically come out on top against “punchers” in rematches, but I sense we’re going to see a different approach from at least one man that could alter the style dynamic. Fury said he wants the knockout, and I believe him. How he will go about getting it requires some guesswork, but I suspect he may try to work up close where he can impose his size and dig to the lanky, skinny-legged man’s body while taking away punching leverage. Here’s the problem: I don’t believe Tyson will be able to do that without, at some point, getting nailed on the way in by boxing’s biggest puncher.
Tyson is hard to hit cleanly when he stays behind the jab and circles, but when he holds his feet or moves forward, he is easier to find. Conversely, I believe Wilder will be more methodical and less gung-ho this time; less predictable and more dangerous. Rather than actively pursuing his man, don’t be surprised if Wilder sits back and tries to lure Tyson into the right hand, which would not only help disguise the punch, but amplify its impact.
Although he didn’t take one flush on the chin, “The Gypsy King” couldn’t avoid Wilder’s money punch for twelve rounds in their first fight despite boxing almost flawlessly. Fury getting hit good and proper with the right now seems inevitable, given he will likely be sitting down on his punches and presenting “The Bronze Bomber” with a more stationary target. Wilder by KO. — Lee Wylie
I had Fury handily winning the first fight, having outboxed and outfoxed the American in most of the rounds. And up until recently, I saw the rematch going the exact same way, just with Fury avoiding the dramatic knockdowns this time. But Fury’s recent split with trusted trainer Ben Davison, in addition to his heavier weight and statements of wanting to stand and trade shots with Wilder, have me more skeptical of his chances. Still, I have to go with Fury by decision, his slick boxing skills again carrying the day over the vaunted puncher. Great equalizing right hand be damned, the Brit will rise to the occasion and wins a convincing decision in the biggest fight of his career. — Jamie Rebner
Deontay Wilder’s the kind of guy that you absolutely cannot afford to have mental lapses against, and what makes him even more dangerous in this rematch is that he has thirty-six minutes of Tyson Fury data to draw from. What allows Wilder to be so devastating late in a fight and in rematches is his ability to discern openings, plus the confidence to never stop believing in himself. But at the same time, he will need to improve on closing the gap on Fury, namely by using his jab more and targeting the body, while not smothering his attack as he often did in the first fight.
Overall, I think there is more upside for Wilder in the rematch than there is for Fury. Simply put, it’s hard to bet against a ticking time bomb in the prime of their career. That said, I expect Fury to take a slightly more aggressive posture than in their first fight and he may well outwork Wilder early, but ultimately I think Deontay will stop Tyson late. This may very well be facilitated by the scar tissue developed over Fury’s eye in his fight against Otto Wallin, for if that cut re-opens Fury may never see the one big punch that ends his night. Wilder by late round stoppage. — Alden Chodash
If “The Gypsy King” is true to his word (which he usually isn’t) about going toe-to-toe with Wilder, I fear he may be caught with a punch from which he will be unable to rise. I was impressed by the grit he showed against Otto Wallin, but less so by how hittable he was. Still, fitter than ever and invigorated by a new trainer, if Fury boxes sensibly and moves off the back foot, he may have his hand raised after the final bell. But Wilder’s ring IQ is extremely underrated, and though he might lose the majority of rounds, he is always looking for that one opening to exploit. In the end I suspect Fury will get overzealous and Deontay will take advantage. Wilder by late KO. — Rob Lownie
I see Wilder vs Fury II playing out much like the first encounter, with Fury outscoring Wilder in the majority of rounds while the American patiently stalks, finds occasional success, but is unable to get the finish. Fury’s talk of going for an early KO is obviously gamesmanship, though I can envisage him asserting himself more forcefully this time. Naturally, this poses serious danger but, providing he is not overly reckless, it may actually be less dangerous than focusing round after round on avoiding Wilder’s power. Fury knows as well as anyone the danger Wilder poses and I think a more active and fitter version will be able to keep his concentration for the full twelve rounds to get the judges’ decision this time. Fury on points. — Matt O’Brien
Either Fury survives some rough spells and manages to outbox Wilder as before, or Deontay knocks him out. Hard to imagine any other scenario. If it’s the former, will the judges award Tyson the decision this time? They may have to if Wilder fails to score a knockdown or two. If it’s the latter, will there really be a trilogy bout? Or will Wilder and Joshua finally thrash out a deal? I can see either of the above scenarios, but I’ve got a feeling Wilder will catch and hurt Fury in the middle rounds and finish him off. Wilder by TKO in seven. — Ronnie McCluskey
This is not an easy fight to pick. Although I thought a draw was fair last time, there’s little doubt Fury showed Wilder and the world just how good he is, that the Klitschko win was no fluke. Such a slippery opponent can be a nightmare. Then again, Wilder’s right is something to give a nightmare a nightmare. And Wilder knows how to land it, too. Don’t underestimate the guy’s intelligence. I look for the WBC champ to find a home for his showstopper more easily this time around. Fury won’t fall apart, but Wilder’s power should ultimately tell the tale. Wilder by knockout in ten. — Sean Crose
After Bermane Stiverne took Wilder the distance in 2015, The Bronze Bomber needed less than a round to knock him out in the rematch two years later. After a tough stoppage win against Luis Ortiz, a more fearsome opponent, Wilder dispatched the Cuban big man with far more ease in the rematch. Based on that, it’s difficult to see anything other than a KO win for Wilder in this rematch. Fury is better than Ortiz, and a lot better than Stiverne, but Wilder has shown he learns from his experiences, even winning ones, and is even more deadly the second time around. Wilder lands his big right hand in the middle rounds and this time Fury doesn’t get up. — Joshua Isard
I thought Fury won handily last time, albeit with a couple of near-decapitations to ratchet up the drama, and I think the rematch will end up looking similar to the first. I believe Fury can make Wilder look like an amateur for long stretches, though Deontay’s nuclear right hand makes this match almost a coin toss proposition for me. But I’ll go ahead and say Fury’s adaptability will be the extra edge as I think he’ll make better adjustments and avoid the big bombs. Fury by decision. But I’m not particularly confident in my pick. — Hunter Breckenridge
Wilder and Fury have both had two bouts since their first encounter, with Deontay facing the better opposition. Meanwhile Fury is heading into the rematch with a new team, but I’m doubting Sugar Hill will add much to Fury’s arsenal. “The Gypsy King” will likely settle into his stick and move routine, with the occasional clinch, while Wilder will be more composed and waiting to launch his devastating right. I anticipate a far less exciting encounter this time. Wilder by decision. — Jeffrey Fuss
I know he didn’t look great his last time out, but I’m a firm believer in the heart, courage and chin of “The Gypsy King.” If that cut doesn’t re-open, I see a close, rough and likely sloppy battle, with Fury constantly working to keep Wilder on the back foot so he can’t set himself and unleash his full power. Fury’s grit and ring smarts will be the difference and he’ll take a close decision. — Robert Portis
There will be a knockout. Both fighters are committed to ensuring a draw doesn’t happen again. And Wilder’s oft-repeated adage is operative here: “Fighters have to be perfect for twelve rounds [against me]; I only have to be perfect for two seconds.” Add the fact that Fury was literally knocked out in the final round by a mean Wilder right followed by a vicious left as Tyson was going down. In other words, we know Wilder can get to Fury and hurt him. Yes, he got up and actually fought aggressively in the closing moments to the point Wilder had to get on his bicycle to make it to the final bell, but that was a once-in-a-lifetime, above-and-beyond superhuman feat Fury won’t ever replicate, certainly not in this fight. Wilder’s two seconds will happen at some point and this time Fury won’t have another miraculous recovery. Wilder by KO. — Ralph Semien
There’s a valid case to be made that Wilder, after dropping Fury twice in their first fight, stands to improve and land his great equalizer again. Although Fury seemingly rose from the dead last time, Wilder carries this eerie, I-only-need-to-be-perfect-for-two-seconds killer mentality, and a more confident “Bronze Bomber” could conceivably find his openings more frequently and earlier. For some reason though, I believe Fury will manage to neutralize Wilder even more effectively this time. Fury also has the power to buzz Wilder, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he imposes his will a bit more this time. The (very) uncertain pick here is Tyson Fury by unanimous decision. — Zachary Alapi
When they fought back in 2018, Tyson Fury had not faced a world-class opponent in nearly four years. No doubt he surprised Wilder and his team, who undoubtedly picked Fury as an opponent because they felt he wasn’t going to be at his best. They were right: Fury wasn’t at his best, and yet he still proved he had superior technique, ring IQ, and speed. This time both men will be better prepared mentally and physically. But at nearly 35, Wilder is at the end of his prime. If he expects to defeat Fury the way he did an aged Ortiz, Deontay is in for a long night because the “The Gypsy King” won’t tire and leave himself open. Wilder has endurance, a powerful right, and an unyielding belief in himself, but these won’t be enough. Tyson Fury will screw with his mind, negate his jab, and Wilder won’t be able to pull the trigger. Fury by decision. — Blake Cass
I really hope Fury wins, but I just have a feeling he’s getting caught and flattened this time. Just seems like it will be easier for Wilder to correct what he didn’t do right before, while Fury needs to be perfect for twelve rounds. Tall order. — Damien Burton
I picked Wilder the first time and I’m picking him again for two reasons. One, I’m assuming Wilder learned from the first meeting and will pace himself more and shrewdly wait for the chance to strike, as he did in the Ortiz rematch. And two, I suspect Fury, knowing he has to present a different puzzle the second time around, does in fact intend to be more aggressive, which will inevitably lead to more openings for “The Bronze Bomber” to exploit. Once again, Wilder’s freakish power is the key factor around which this duel revolves, and again I have great difficulty envisioning “The Gypsy King” avoiding it for twelve rounds. Add in the strong possibility of Fury’s gash from the Wallin bout re-opening and I have to go with Wilder by late round stoppage. — Michael Carbert