Wilder and Fury. You don't have to change the names and you've got the title of a movie franchise right there. And it's even having a sequel. Wilder-Fury II takes place Saturday night in Las Vegas, and if advocates of the resurgence of boxing were looking for evidence to make their case, they may have something here.
How big is the fight?
Finding Viewers the Old Fashioned Way
Well, it's big enough that it's said both fighters will be working with a guarantee of $25 million. This is pay-per-view, the "old fashioned" way, not as part of a streaming deal, a la DAZN or ESPN+. I can't make a prediction as to how many subscribers they'll have, but there are a lot of people inside the industry who are anxious to see what kind of numbers they are able to draw.
The PPV itself is a cooperative between ESPN and FOX Sports, and both feel as if they own a stake in the heavyweight championship. FOX through Wilder (the WBC champ) and one of his representatives, Al Haymon, and ESPN, which, since Fury inked a stateside deal with Bob Arum and Top Rank, has consistently pumped the idea that Fury is the "lineal" heavyweight champ, going all the way back to John L. Sullivan, though, in all honesty, that "line" stopped when Jim Jeffries retired and two fighters (Jack Root and Marvin Hart) were arbitrarily chosen to fight for a vacant crown.
Whatever. The case can absolutely be made that these are the two best heavyweights available, since, in this reporter's humble opinion, they would both stand a better than even chance of defeating Anthony Joshua. And this matchup could even happen again, since there is a conditional rematch clause in the contract.
They are also both undefeated, which is especially attractive. Deontay Wilder is 42-0-1 with 41 KO's, while Tyson Fury is 29-0-1 with 20 wins inside the distance. Here are the numbers, as they are posted by our friends at America's Bookie:
Deontay Wilder -125 Tyson Fury +105
Over 10.5 Rounds -120 Under 10.5 Rounds -110
We're writing this before the weigh-in is taking place, but we can tell you that for the previous fight, which took place December 1 of last year, Fury was 256.5 pounds, while Wilder was only 212.5.
That latter figure is not a lot to carry on a 6'7" frame, and it was the lightest Wilder had weighed since his pro debut in 2008. But he's been on record as saying that he is headed in the other direction here, and that he would be looking to get to around 245, which is sixteen pounds higher than he's ever been before.
Recently, one of his trainers, Jay Deas, suggested that the mid-220s might be pushing it.
The 6'9" Fury's plan was to gain weight too, and much less moderately, using Deas' numbers as a yardstick. Indeed he has said he could go as high as 270 for this fight. And he's been doing that behind six meals a day.
So if he actually gets to that number, or near it, who does that help the most? Maybe that's a key factor here.
My take on it relates somewhat to what happened in the first bout, where it was Fury who was winning the finesse game, while Wilder always had the power advantage. And as you know by now, Wilder scored two knockdowns, even with that 44-pound weight "disadvantage," the last of which came in the final round, as Fury got up in sort of iconic fashion.
Tyson Fury Got ROBBED against Deontay Wilder | HIGHLIGHTS
Fury is not without power, mind you, but his plan would involve avoiding that massive right hand of Wilder's while at the same time being the "cute" guy in there. That happens easier when you are 256 than it does when you are 270. And that is important when you consider that Fury had caused Wilder to be less accurate than usual.
Here are the America's Bookieboxing odds on the exact result: Wilder by KO, TKO or DQ -105 Wilder by Decision or Tech. Decision +850 Fury by KO, TKO or DQ +400 Fury by Decision or Technical Decision +145 Draw or Technical Draw +1750
I truly believe that Wilder can control this fight with a jab. He has the capacity to throw it, just like another of his trainers, Mark Breland, used to. We have seen that before, most notably when he originally captured the WBC title he currently owns against Bermane Stiverne. And he was much more accurate with it than Fury last time.
Work Into It
If I was giving him advice, I would caution him to not wait and wait and wait and count on landing the one big shot, but rather, work his way into it through the left jab. That having been said, he indeed HAS the one most prominent weapon in this fight - and maybe in the game today - and that can change a result very quickly.
What I imagine he'll do is get busy with it earlier in the fight. And when he lands it, he'll do damage.
Yeah, Fury got up in the last fight and that looked heroic. I wonder if that would have happened had he been sustaining more punishment earlier.
One thing I can't get out of mind was that a cruiserweight champ Steve Cunningham put Fury down, and he may have knocked him out had he been a little bigger. Wladimir Klitschko brought nothing to the table when he fought Fury, so I can't use that as a barometer.
But I don't give much for Fury's chances of staying out of harm's way for twelve rounds, especially as I don't see him being nimble with the extra weight. Using the numbers, what I'd be looking for is:
* Deontay Wilder -125 * Under 10.5 Rounds -110
....but, in a small twist, I might also put a little on this prop, simply because the price is so inviting:
* Wilder by Decision or Tech. Decision +850
Hey, they went the whole route the first time. If they do it again, you may be in for a nice "pop."
Charles Jay, an analyst for ScoresAndStats, was a veteran of two decades in the boxing industry, as a matchmaker, manager, agent and occasional promoter, in addition to broadcasting and writing about the sport. He is a member of the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame.
Charles Jay is unlike most analysts associated with
handicapping and the gaming industry, in that he also has had extensive
experience in the so-called "mainstream" media as well.
He has been involved with professional sports industry for
almost two decades, working in all capacities, as a matchmaker, booking agent,
manager, and also as an editorial consultant on USA Network's "Tuesday Night
Fights," which, for a time, carried "Charles Jay's Line" on
upcoming fights. As a broadcaster, he has called world title fights around the
world for various outlets, and has served as a color commentator for Sunshine
Network and Prime Network.
His radio experience includes being the host of numerous
programs, including "Sportswatch with Charles Jay" on KDWN in Las
Vegas, "Total Action" on WAXY 790 in Miami, and "Charles Jay's
Winning Edge", syndicated into 55 markets by the American Radio Networks,
and he's done podcasts on all subjects related to sports, gaming and popular
Working within the casino industry, he has a special events
consultant for Casino Magic in Mississippi, as that venue established itself in
the early 1990s as a hotbed of boxing activity in particular. Prior to this, he
had been engaged as a casino gaming columnist for, among others, Casino Player,
Card Player and Sports Form (now known as Gaming Today), specializing in
blackjack. And later on, his investigative series on boxing, entitled
"Operation Cleanup," won him much critical acclaim, including the
2003 "Dignity" Award, in the category of "Best Sports
Writer," as bestowed by the Retired Boxers Foundation, a non-profit
organization dedicated to rendering assistance to ex-fighters in need.
In 2006 he established a content services division of his
company, which has eventually evolved in JayWords, and he is arguably the
world's most prolific sports & gaming writer, with over 20,000 articles to
his credit, the vast majority of which have been sports handicapping pieces. So
you might say he has analyzed as many sporting events as anyone alive during
this period. He has also brought some interest with his so-called
"gimmick" odds on special events, including the Academy Awards, the
NFL Draft, and the Super Bowl, for which he posted dozens and dozens of
different odds propositions with various sportsbooks.
This renaissance man is a graduate of the University of
Miami (Florida) who currently resides in the South Florida area.