By Keith Idec
Billy Joe Saunders doesn’t expect Deontay Wilder to fair much better against Tyson Fury than Francesco Pianeta.
The unbeaten WBO middleweight champion admits Wilder is more dangerous than Pianeta. He just doesn’t think the unorthodox knockout artist is capable of defeating the mobile, skillful Fury when they meet later this year for Wilder’s WBC heavyweight title.
Saunders, one of Fury’s closest friends, gave his assessment of the Wilder-Fury fight to BoxingScene.com following Fury’s easy points victory over Pianeta on Saturday night in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
“I just think that Tyson’s got that flexibility,” Saunders said. “He’s got that movement. He’s got that lateral movement that a lot of heavyweights haven’t got, including Wilder. To be honest with you, I don’t see the Wilder fight and Fury fight going too much different from tonight. Obviously, Wilder’s a better fighter than who he boxed tonight. You know, he [has] longer arms and a bit more power. But, you know, very, very raw. And when you’re making big mistakes with Tyson Fury, you pay big as well. That fella tonight, you know, he covered up and took his licks because he knew if he did wanna open up, he was getting bombarded with punches.”
The 6-feet-9, 258-pound Fury promised to be aggressive against Wilder and predicted he’ll knock out the undefeated defending champion when they meet in Las Vegas on a date soon to be announced. The former IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO champion seemed content Saturday night to go the distance against Pianeta (35-5-1, 20 KOs), an Italian southpaw who has been knocked out by Wladimir Klitschko, Ruslan Chagaev and Kevin Johnson.
Even though Fury didn’t hurt Pianeta, Saunders was impressed with Fury’s performance, particularly since Fury had boxed just four rounds within the past 2½ years.
“I just think he got in there, he did what he needed to do,” Saunders said. “More importantly, he got the rounds. I think that, you know, if you’re gonna fight someone like Deontay Wilder, who’s gonna put it on you and come forward, I think you really need them rounds. And it was a slick performance. Making him miss, making him pay, you know, coming back at him with twos and threes. So you’ve gotta give the opponent credit because he was tough. He took some licks. But more importantly, Tyson got the rounds in and looked good doing it.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.