No one that watched their first fight needs to be convinced Deontay Wilder could knock out Tyson Fury in their rematch.
Boxing’s most punishing puncher floored Fury twice when they met in December 2018. His vicious right-left combination early in the 12th round left Fury flat on his back, seemingly incapable of continuing.
The durable Fury stunningly got up, hit Wilder with effective shots of his own and made it to the final bell. Even though Fury fought well, he wasn’t awarded the convincing victory he thought he had earned.
That controversial result convinced the lineal heavyweight champion that he must alter his approach in their 12-round rematch Saturday night at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Fourteen months after their hotly disputed split draw, the last thing Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs) wants is to go 12 rounds with Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KOs) a second time and not leave the ring with Wilder’s WBC title.
“[The draw] played a massive role because it’s made me uncomfortable,” Fury said on a recent conference call. “It made me do things I didn’t wanna do. When we’re taken out of our comfort zone and pressed and pressed and pressed, then we become better. So, it was almost like a blessing in disguise that I didn’t get the decision, because I would’ve kept working on my boxing – boxed, boxed, boxed. You know, I believe I can out-box Deontay Wilder very, very comfortable.
“But the fact of the matter is, I believe that I out-boxed him comfortable last time. But it’s not good me believing it. The judges have to believe it. And to guarantee victory, I’ve gotta get a knockout because I don’t wanna leave anything unturned this time. I don’t want another controversial decision. I don’t want people to say, ‘Oh, well, he won. No, he won,’ whatever. I want it to be a defining win either way.”
Canada’s Robert Tapper was the only judge that scored Fury the winner over Wilder. Tapper credited Fury for winning eight of the 12 rounds, 114-112.
California’s Alejandro Rochin scored seven rounds for Wilder, who won 115-111 on his card. England’s Phil Edwards scored seven rounds for Fury, but he had it a draw, 113-113, because Wilder scored two knockdowns.
Showtime’s unofficial punch stats counted 13 more overall punches landed for Fury (84-of-327 to 71-of-430). According to those numbers, Fury connected with more power punches (38-of-104 to 31-of-182) and more jabs (46-of-223 to 40-of-248).
“One judge had it 114-112,” Fury said, referring to Tapper. “And then one judge [Rochin] had it [115-111 for Wilder], so I’m not sure what that judge was watching. But I’m not a judge. And these guys see what they see. That’s that person’s opinion. That’s what they get paid to do. But in order to guarantee a victory, I think you’ve gotta take it out of everybody’s hands. My own destiny lies within my own two fists.”
The Nevada State Athletic Commission will assign judges and a referee to the Wilder-Fury rematch Wednesday at its monthly meeting in Las Vegas.
Their second fight will headline a four-fight joint pay-per-view venture between ESPN and FOX Sports (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT). The suggested retail price to watch it in HD through cable and satellite services is $79.99.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.