Undisputed Bragging Rights Await Fury vs. Wilder 3 Winner

Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 08: Tyson Fury (L) and Deontay Wilder (R) face-off during the weigh in for the WBC heavyweight championship at MGM Grand Garden Arena on October 08, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

It has been a long road to get here, but the trilogy between arch rivals Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder will finally be decided this Saturday.

It has taken far longer than anyone could have imagined last February, but it likely feels longer for Tyson Fury.  Last year, “The Gypsy King” delivered a virtuoso performance against his arch-rival and established himself not only as the best heavyweight in the world but also one of the best pound-for-pound fighters overall.  Already the linear heavyweight champion going into the bout, the victory added to him impressive resume as he was already best known for ending the reign of the legendary Wladimir Klitschko in 2015.  After it seemed the third Wilder bout would not materialize, Fury was already deep in talks to finally unite the heavyweight titles with then four belt holder Anthony Joshua in a super fight earlier this summer.  Instead, Wilder held firm that he would invoke his rematch clause and negotiations expedited to finally schedule the trilogy.

While Fury’s bravado has made him a media darling, it is also a delicate double-edged sword.  He is the unquestioned best in the world, and he has not let Wilder forget it for a single minute.  For all of danger that Wilder brings in his power, Fury is heavily favored to win the trilogy handedly and move on to focusing on possible bouts with Joshua or Oleksandr Usyk.  After all his bluster, a loss to Wilder would be a letdown of epic proportions and force him to regroup while his opponent goes on to the marquee bouts.

Deontay Wilder is the one with the point to prove on Saturday.  Following the bout, his statements were seen as embarrassing excuses for what was a disheartening performance in easily the biggest heavyweight fight in over a decade.  First came his statements that his walk out costume was too heavy and led to his poor performance.  Also, his immediate firing of his coach who threw in the towel during a fight he was clearly no longer going to win without an epic error on Fury’s part left many feeling that Wilder was not taking responsibility for his efforts in the ring.

But the fight game has a habit of having a short memory, and that favors the man whose reputation is built on being able to change things in a single instant.  “The Bronze Bomber” has a highlight reel that has seen him obliterate the likes of Dominic Breazeale, Artur Szpilka, Luis Ortiz, Bermane Stiverne II, and others along the way to becoming the most intimidating force in boxing since Mike Tyson.  He has already come close to taking the spirit of Fury before, arguably stopping him in the twelfth round of their first fight to the point that Wilder has publicly said he considers it one of his favorite knockouts.  Following a change in coaches and a renewed vigor, Wilder brings exactly the same chance to defeat Fury as he did going into their highly anticipated second fight last year.

Aggression and physicality are the keys to a Wilder upset.  While he has proven to be dangerous even in the later rounds, he must take care to not be drawn into a battle in the middle of the ring where Fury’s movement and range are the most potent.  He must be willing to take risks to initiate the action as opposed to waiting to counter Fury.  Fury by comparison should look to replicate the same strategy by picking his spots and utilizing his speed and range to his full advantage.  While he had put on noticeable size, the two places Fury should avoid are staying in the pocket and getting backed into the corner.

The winner is expected to enjoy the victory and look towards another marquee fight.  Currently, Oleksander Usyk is the one holding all the cards following his victory over Anthony Joshua.  While a rematch between the two is expected to be the next move, the schedules would align for Usyk to face Fury or Wilder in the first half of 2022.