By Michael Rosenthal
LOS ANGELES – Hall of Famer Lennox Lewis won’t say who he thinks will win the Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury fight on December 1 in Los Angeles.
He did offer one prediction, though: Fury won’t do to Wilder what he did to Wladimir Klitschko when Fury became heavyweight champion in 2015, which was to use constant movement to make Klitschko look foolish from beginning to end.
Fury (27-0, 19 KOs) won a wide decision to stun the boxing world.
“Wilder is a different kettle of fish,” Lewis said in a one-on-one interview with BoxingScene.com at a news conference to formally announce upcoming matchups under the new deal between Premier Boxing Champions and Fox Sports. Lewis will serve as a television analyst.
“I don’t think Klitschko expected Tyson Fury to be so active, so elusive in their fight. He didn’t expect Fury to move so much. I think Deontay will be expecting that. And I think he’ll move with him. It’s completely different.”
That doesn’t mean Lewis necessarily believes Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) will successfully defend his WBC title. It’s merely an observation.
Lewis broke down the fight this way:
“Deontay has a lot of power,” he said. “Anywhere he hits you, you’re going to be concussed. If he can’t knock out Fury, he better be prepared to box. Tyson Fury is fast on his feet, elusive. We’ll see if Deontay can catch up with him.
“I think it’s a terrific matchup, which is how it’s supposed to be. Heavyweights are gladiators that want to prove they’re the best against the best. In the end, I think Fury will win because of his boxing if it goes the distance. If it’s a short fight, it’s Wilder.”
Lewis was prodded to pick a winner but only smiled.
“My prediction … may the best man win,” he said. “It’s such a hard fight to predict. Both guys have talent and both have power. We’re not going to know what happens until we see the fight.”
If the winner ends up in the ring with Anthony Joshua in a superfight for all the heavyweight titles, Lewis said, he will have benefitted from the December 1 fight.
“The way I look at it, these are two great fighters putting it all on the line,” he said. “All the experience they gain from that fight, they will bring to the next fight.”
Of course, there is no telling when either Wilder or Fury will face Joshua. Fury’s fellow Briton is fighting TBA (possibly Dillian Whyte if a showdown with the December 1 winner can’t be made) on April 13. Nothing is set beyond that, as Joshua and his handlers don’t appear to be rushing anything.
Lewis suggested that Joshua should take a cue from Wilder and Fury.
“Joshua can take his time,” he said. “He’s champion now. He says he doesn’t want to fight Tyson Fury for a year or so. He wants to go around making money. I think that’s going to be a downfall for him. He has to stay with it; he can’t be in the background.
“If he wants to be champion, he has to act like a champion.”