Our boxing expert, Peter Morris, has two tips for the bout between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury.
The first super fight of 2020 takes place on Saturday night (or Sunday morning in the UK) with Tyson Fury (29-0-1) and Deontay Wilder (42-0-1) meeting at the MGM Grand Las Vegas. After the dramatic and controversial first bout, which resulted in a draw, there is a huge amount of expectation and interest in the rematch. The first fight was a split decision draw with Fury out boxing Wilder for much of the fight but the American puncher scoring two late knockdowns in round 9 and round 12 which swung the judges’ scorecards in his favour and allowed him to nick the draw. Many pundits and commentators agree that Fury won that day and was only let down by the judging. (This tipster agrees after putting up Fury to win at 13/8 and a split decision victory at 12/1! The less said about that the better…)
Prices like 13/8 are nowhere to be seen for this bout, with the bookies unable to split the two fighters: Fury’s best price is even money and Wilder is 10/11 with most bookies. Both Wilder and Fury have boxed & won twice since they last met, but Wilder’s opponents in Dominic Breazeale and Luis Ortiz are far higher calibre than Fury’s Tom Schwarz and Otto Wallin. However, if there’s one thing the first fight told us, it’s that recent form isn’t a reliable indicator; Fury had only boxed Sefer Seferi and Francesco Pianeta in three years before boxing superbly in their first bout.
The best yardstick we have for predicting the outcome of this fight is the first meeting between the pair. An awful lot has been made about the knockdowns, but the reality is Fury didn’t look in any danger in 11 of the 12 rounds. Even when he was down in the 9th, he didn’t look hurt and his legs were strong for the rest of the round (of which he won the remainder). Of course, Deontay Wilder possesses such power he can go into a fight and lose every round before switching off his opponent’s lights, exactly as he did in his last outing against Luis Ortiz. However, being out boxed by an aged and smaller fighter in Luis Ortiz before delivering a KO is a totally different prospect to doing it against the Gypsy King. Compubox stats demonstrate this in particular: it took Ortiz 6 rounds before he’d cumulatively landed 20 punches on Wilder and the Cuban didn’t land a jab until the 5th round. Fury had landed over 20 punches on Wilder by the 3rd round of their first bout. Fury is far more active with his jab and accurate with his punching (he landed 26% of his total punches against Wilder, Wilder in return landed only 17%, very low by his standards). What this boils down to is that Fury is a superior boxer to Wilder and all of Wilder’s previous opponents. It’s all well and good pointing to Wilder’s KO of Ortiz and suggesting that provides some sort of blueprint, but Fury’s punching & awkwardness will make Wilder far more uncomfortable.
Fury is also the type of fighter who revels in the big occasion and ups his game against top opposition. Whilst he didn’t look tremendous in his last fight, he’s often laboured and looked unimpressive against moderate opponents and then looked supreme in the bigger fights. If looking to back an outright winner, Fury’s boxing ability alone must offer the best value at even money.
Any Fury victory is most likely to come in the form of a unanimous decision; he may look to box more aggressively to dent Wilder’s power later on, but the chances are a Fury win comes in a similar fashion to the first fight and the Fury by UD looks a decent bet. Make sure you shop around, as the prices range from 15/8 to 5/2 (Ladbrokes/Coral best price). If you want something longer, ignore the split decision market (8/1 Fury to win a split) or stoppage prices and take the majority decision victory for Fury – again make sure you get the best price as the Fury by MD market is as short as 16/1 with some bookies and as long as 20/1 with others (Paddy Power/Betfair).
Of course, Wilder can knockout any fighter on the planet, but side with Fury, with all the the boxing ability, to deliver the victory and profit on Saturday night.