Having dropped or stopped every opponent he’s faced to date, there’s no question that Deontay Wilder won’t hesitate to take any opening that provides itself on fight night.
This time around, the unbeaten, long-reigning heavyweight titlist has a clear target for which to aim in his upcoming rematch with England’s Tyson Fury (29-0-1, 20KOs).
The pair of heavyweight behemoths were afforded two fights in between their first meeting and their upcoming February 22 sequel—which airs live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Wilder added two more knockouts to his career-long highlight reel, while Fury getting one stoppage and avoiding one himself after suffering a hellacious cut in an eventual decision win over previously unbeaten Otto Wallin last September.
“Wallin had a great gameplan,” Wilder (42-0-1, 41KOs) noted during a recent media conference call to discuss the event, which headlines a joint Pay-Per-View offering between ESPN+ and Fox Sports. “When he saw Fury was vulnerable, he took his chances. When he started taking them chances, he busted open [Fury’s] eye.
“And you know, I feel like the fight should’ve been stopped with a cut so deep and a cut so wide that you can’t even see. I understand he had a major fight coming up with me, and he was saved because of the fight that’s happening right now.”
Fury was sliced open in the 3rd round of their ESPN+ headliner, managing to fight through the blood for more than nine rounds and actually picking up steam as the fight progressed. It was a brave showing by the unbeaten Brit, the second time in three fights in which he’s been forced to prove his fighting heart—the previous occasion coming in surviving two late round knockdowns versus Wilder to finish their December 2018 fight on his feet.
Alabama’s Wilder has already vowed to finish what he started in the first fight, as he looks to register the 11th defense of his five-year heavyweight title reign in the process. He is 2-0 in title fight rematches, ending both such occasions far earlier than was the case the first time around.
Bermane Stiverne was dropped three times in a 1st round stoppage in their November 2017 rematch, nearly three years after extending Wilder the distance in turning over the heavyweight title in January 2015. Wilder also stopped Luis Ortiz three rounds sooner in their November 2019 rematch than was the case when they met in March 2018.
The plan heading into the third rematch of his already storied career is to continue that trend, with literally even more to aim for this time around.
"I will be exploring some of those things Wallin did,” promises Wilder. “I will reopen that cut on his eye. Once it’s open and blood is all over his face, and I might a little be We will see if they continue to keep that fight on. I'm already dangerous as it is. If he cut over the eye again and got blood on his face… it’s gonna be up to those doctors to take proper protocol because I’m coming in for the kill.
“You all know about my demeanor, you all know about my [mannerisms]. I don’t play around at all, especially with this fight right here. I’m looking forward to this fight. This is fight is everything to me.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox