Wilder-Fury 2: Knock Yourselves Out
By Robert Ecksel on November 29, 2019
“Wilder has knocked out 43 opponents in a row. Even if I hate this guy, I respect that.”
On Saturday, February 22, in a fight televised live on FOX Sports PPV and ESPN+ PPV from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, unbeaten WBC heavyweight champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KOs), the undefeated “Bronze Bomber” from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, will defend his title in an historic rematch against former unified heavyweight champion Tyson Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs), “The Gypsy King” from Manchester, England.
Despite the hugs and kisses the men shared after their initial encounter 14 months ago, the bad blood, or the presumption of bad blood, was on display at a weekend presser held at FOX Studios in Los Angeles.
Fury says he going to knock Wilder out. Wilder says he’s finishing Fury this time. Both men can’t be right.
“We haven’t seen his power displayed like he’s been talking about,” said Wilder. “It hasn’t been continuous, like mine. I think he has pillows as fists. That’s what I felt in our last fight.”
Fury’s power “hasn’t been continuous,” in part because Fury, unlike Wilder, has munitions in his arsenal Wilder doesn’t possess. For example, he can box as well as punch.
“With the strategies that he’s talking about, I don’t really know how to take it,” Wilder continued. “I don’t know if he’s trying to throw me off my game by saying he’s going to knock me out. But it’s exciting to hear and I’m looking forward to February 22.”
We’re all looking forward to February 22. Fights between elite heavyweights, of which there is only handful, are few and far between.
“Everything on his body is a target, not just his cut,” said Wilder, referring to the gash above his right eye Fury received courtesy Otto Wallin. “Everything that is permissible for me to hit, I’m going to hit it.”
Fury has switched trainers, in hope of unleashing more of the power in his 6-foot-9-inch frame.
“When you fight someone like me, it’s a mistake to tinker around with your training camp. I’m unpredictable in that ring. When you have too many opinions and too many people who think they have the remedy, it usually backfires.
“I think this win will be more special than the others—because of the history that we have, with that controversial draw. I consider Tyson a brother of this era, especially in the heavyweight division. The other fighters don’t want to let themselves lose and have fun. We’re both able to enjoy what we do day after day. Because when the bell rings, anything can happen.
“We both have to come in like we did the first fight, with our hearts on our sleeves and the warrior mentality that we always bring. When you get to this point, the scenery itself makes for a great fight. We all know when I come to fight, I don’t play around. We can play around here today, but we’re going to have that killer mentality in the ring.”
Some have expressed concern about Fury’s readiness for the rematch, which echoes the concern some felt about Fury’s readiness for the first fight.
“I’m born ready,” Fury said. “There’s no injuries or excuses. It’s all dedication and sacrifice, one day after another. The first fight I wanted to go in there and outbox him. It didn’t work. No matter what people say, I didn’t win. I count a draw as a loss.”
Although he failed to silence Fury in the end, Wilder showed in the first fight that he can drop him if he can connect. The same cannot be said of Fury.
“I’ve had 20 knockouts, so I’m very capable of knocking people out,” he said. “When you underestimate someone else’s power, you usually end up unstuck. Whether I’m a great puncher or not, I don’t believe anybody else can match me with heart and determination. I’m going to put my iron will on Deontay Wilder.”
It’s hard to disagree with Fury assessment. Wilder’s fans may object, so let the objections begin.
“How do you beat a massive puncher?” asked Fury. “You have to back him up. He gets massive leverage in those long arms while coming forward. I have to put him on the back foot and make him absorb some of my power.
“I’m the Gypsy King. There’s only been one and there’s only likely to be one going forward. That’s one belt that Deontay Wilder can’t ever win.”
Wilder continues to beat B-list fighters, which isn’t his fault. That’s pretty much all that’s out there.
“He had a great performance against Ortiz. He did what he was supposed to do. He knocks guys out. He was relaxed and calm under the pressure. I was impressed. Not by the knockout, but by the way he was conducting himself under pressure.
“Deontay Wilder has knocked out 43 opponents in a row. Even if I hate this guy, I respect that. He has amazing power and his name is up there with all-time greats. He’s a great puncher who gets the job done.”