Boxing’s heavyweight division is slowly lighting up. A new champion emerged last week, but plenty of unfinished business remains before any new contenders will get their opportunities. Anthony Joshua will exercise his rematch clause in an attempt to avenge the defeat he suffered 10 days ago when he lost his titles to Oleksandr Usyk. Another man exercising his option, though this weekend, is Deontay Wilder, who is seeking to regain his WBC title from the English traveler, Tyson Fury.
T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas will become the third venue to host a fight between these two. At Staples Center in Los Angeles on Dec. 1, 2018, an out-of-condition Fury got off the floor twice in a fight judged a draw on a night full of drama and controversy.
The Feb. 22, 2020 rematch at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas featured a commanding performance from Fury, who dismantled and finished Wilder in seven and left what appeared to many to be no room for doubt. That contest, nearly 20 months ago, was the last occasion either man has fought, so though calling this Saturday’s bout an immediate rematch might be stretching things, it is what it is.
The most striking aspect of immediate rematches is that the man who lost by knockout in the prior meeting generally loses by knockout again in the renewal. On the 54 occasions in the past 40 years when an immediate rematch has occurred, 45 of the rematches have ended in the same result — a stoppage victory for the winner of the first contest.
(I know this fight is a third contest, but both had bouts between their first and second meetings, so this point has credence.)
What really sticks out is that Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) effectively won 15 or 16 of the 19 rounds combined in both contests. That does not bode well for Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs). Though Wilder’s record looks great on the face of it, there is a hint that his numbers are somewhat padded. His former trainer, Mark Breland, was scapegoated for Wilder’s loss to Fury, and the responsibility now has passed to Malik Scott. Can Scott bring the huge improvement required to overturn the result of February 2020? I have grave doubts.
Therefore, assuming both men are fully fit and the fight is totally on the level, I see nothing different happening this time around. I am confident we will see the same result unfold again — a commanding victory for Fury.
The Pick: Fury to win by KO/TKO/DQ (-110).
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