Deontay Wilder has every right to believe he will finish what he started nearly 15 months ago.
Things didn’t go entirely as planned when the unbeaten heavyweight titlist collided with Tyson Fury, having to rely on a pair of late knockdowns to walk away with a split decision draw in their December 2018 instant classic in Los Angeles. Still, it extended another stretch for Wilder, who has either dropped or stopped every opponent he has faced ‘till this day. This time around, he plans to add Fury’s name to the latter list when they meet February 22 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“We all know, rematches... I'm always sharp because I've been in there with them before,” Wilder (42-0-1, 41KOs) said during an isolated press conference Monday afternoon in Los Angeles to discuss the Pay-Per-View event, which will be a joint venture between ESPN and Fox Sports. “I understand what they're capable of doing and what they're planning on doing. I take away that from the fight and I bring it to camp with me.”
England’s Fury (29-0-1, 20KOs) represents just one of two boxers to take Wilder to the scorecards. The only other heavyweight to have done so was Bermane Stiverne, whom the Alabama-bred heavyweight outpointed to win his heavyweight title five years ago. Their rematch ended much quicker, with Wilder scoring three knockdowns en route to a 1st round knockout.
Wilder also managed a quicker night’s work in his rematch with Luis Ortiz, stopping the Miami-based Cuban contender in seven rounds last November, three rounds quicker than when he took him out in 10 rounds in their March 2018 battle of unbeaten heavyweights.
Naturally in predicting a knockout, the expectation as far as Wilder sees it will be to pull off the hat trick versus Fury, who also has two knockout wins in his own rematch history.
“I'm prepared more than ever for this fight,” insists Wilder, who attempts the 11th defense of his title. “I told Fury two years ago I was going to baptize him. And I did just that. Rising up is part of the baptism and he did just that. I told him he was gonna go "TIMBER" and he did just that.
“This time around, it's a different story. This time around, this is called 'unfinished business.' This [time around], he won't be able to get up.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox