By: Sean Crose
It’s probably the biggest heavyweight fight since 2002, when the stellar Lennox Lewis bested the washed Mike Tyson in Nashville to assert his absolute dominance over the division. One could wish that Lewis and Tyson had fought when both were in their primes, but no one will ever be able to complain that Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder didn’t get it on at least twice when they were both at their best. For this Saturday night, the second chapter of the Wilder-Fury saga will unfold at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. The first time the two men met, the world was treated to what may well go down as a classic chapter in heavyweight history. Wilder, seemingly behind on points, sent Fury crashing to the mat with a frightening shot in the final round, only to see Fury get up and the bout ultimately declared a draw. Each fighter thought he deserved the win that night back in 2018, which is why this Saturday’s bout should be so interesting – and perhaps why it’s getting so much promotional hype for it’s joint ESPN/FOX pay per view broadcast.
When there’s a bout this big in professional boxing, big names are guaranteed to weigh in. Wilder-Fury 2 is proving to be no exception. “I like Deontay Wilder to win, possibly by knockout,” says all time great Sugar Ray Leonard,” but, in truth, I don’t see either guy being knocked out. I think that Wilder not only has that powerful right hand, but that he has improved in his ability to set it up.” Yet Leonard, famous for thinking things through, sees both sides of the equation. “On the other hand,” he claims, “I know that Tyson Fury has excellent boxing abilities and a tremendous chin from the way that he got up from the two knockdowns in their previous fight. In the end, I think that Wilder is always in shape and that he will use his speed and power to get the job done.”
Thomas Hearns, Leonard’s great rival, also has thoughts on Saturday’s fight. “Deontay Wilder can box and win,” the legendary fighter known as “The Hit Man” says, “but I think that his power will be the difference in defeating Tyson Fury. I believe that it will go to a decision again, but with Deontay Wilder winning it.” Of particular interest leading up to this weekend are the opinions of former heavyweight greats Evander Holyfield and Larry Holmes.
“I’m picking Deontay Wilder,” says Holyfield, “based on his confidence and the fact that he does all of the right things to remain in great shape, and that he’s committed to his craft.” Holyfield also feels Wilder is more crafty than some give the WBC titlist credit for. “Wilder’s not just a big guy with a right hand,” he adds, “but he’s also become more calculated in his approach. That’s why I’m picking him to win this second fight against Tyson Fury.”As for Holmes, one of the greatest heavyweights to lace up a pair of gloves sees the fight with a clarity that perhaps only a seasoned pro can bring to the occasion. “Deontay Wilder will knock out Tyson Fury in the seventh or eighth round,” says the man known as “The Easton Assassin,” when he ruled the heavyweight realm, “if he does what I know that he can do, which is stay on the outside, use his jab, throw that right hand over the jab.”