The time for talking is almost over, although I am sure the verbal jousting will continue well into this eagerly-anticipated heavyweight showdown.
The second instalment of Deontay Wilder’s WBC title defence against Tyson Fury takes place on Saturday, and the eventual outcome has divided opinion among pundits and punters alike. The two giants could not be separated on the scorecards at the end of their 2018 showdown in Los Angeles, and it is a fight that poses many intriguing questions. Can Fury take Wilder’s explosive power this time around? Will it go the distance? Will Wilder be able to close the range with a change of tactics, or will Fury’s perceived greater boxing skill set win the day?
For many, it is too close to call. But for this observer, when the dust has finally settled, Fury will be the one with the famous green and gold belt in his possession. I am well aware that my prediction could come crashing down with a thunderous split-second right hand from the champion. But I believe the ‘Gypsy King’ will edge a titanic contest, probably via a points decision although don’t rule out the possibility of a stoppage. ‘The Bronze Bomber’ will bring exactly what it says on the tin; heavy-handed raids thrown with venomous spite. Always dangerous, always a threat - but you know exactly what is coming. He is not capable of outboxing Fury, just does not possess the necessary tools to carry out that task. The Brit is tall, awkward and simply brilliant at what he does. Hard to pigeonhole style-wise, even more difficult to outwit when the bell sounds. His success has always been underpinned by a burning desire to prove people wrong. He managed to beat long-standing champion Wladimir Klitschko in his own back yard before his well-documented mental health issues came to the fore. Overweight and seemingly on a path to self-destruction, his boxing career looked to be over. But, like a phoenix rising from the flames, he returned to the gym under the guidance of Ben Davison and eventually decided to give the noble art another go in 2018. Just two fights and six months later, Wilder came calling. It looked to be a step too far that early into his comeback, but no-one in the City of Angels that night will ever forget his ‘Resurrection’ in the final round after being dropped. Wilder’s shocked expression said it all as Fury somehow climbed back to his feet and dominated the last few seconds of a bout he had bossed for long periods.
The Fury of 2020 looks to be fitter, sharper and he has a new trainer in the shape of Javan ‘SugarHill’ Steward from the world-famous Kronk gym. He is relaxed, confident and ready to do the business. I hope Wilder is fully prepared for the British storm that will be blowing into Las Vegas this weekend. If not, the same signs of bewilderment could well be etched on the Alabama native’s face come the end of Saturday’s explosive match-up.