By Hector T. Morgan
The wait is almost over, anticipation has grown steadily since the fight announcement and with the drama of the final press conference fresh in the mind, fight fans are just a day or two out from seeing undefeated heavyweight behemoths Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury trade leather in their WBC title fight in Los Angeles on Saturday night.
Wilder is the odds-on betting favourite to claim his 41st career win and, if he is to fulfil that expectation, it is assumed it will be inside the distance and Fury will become Wilder’s 40th knockout victim too. Anyone counting out the self-styled “The Gypsy King” would be greatly underestimating the giant Brit, his penchant for the improbable and a host of advantages he has going into the fight.
In his own lack of orthodoxy the 6ft 9′ Brit presents stylistic and technical problems the like of which of Wilder hasn’t seen before. The Wilder vs Fury best fight odds have the Brit as an 11/8 shot to win the fight, 9/4 to get the victory on the scorecards and 5/1 to stop Wilder during the 12-round title fight. The betting value is in following the upset.
Here are four key reasons why Fury could upset the odds and capture the WBC crown on December 1.
- HE HAS THE FIGHT IQ
He may come across as a crazy man during press conferences, interviews and face-offs, but make no mistake, Fury is as intelligent as they come when it comes down to his in-ring smarts.
The Brit showed that fact against Wladimir Klitschko when he fought to a perfect gameplan for 12 full rounds as he captured the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO world titles in 2015. Rendering the wise old champion entirely inert and frustrated, a fighter with more acumen than Wilder and a greater array of offensive tools.
- HE HAS DECEPTIVE POWER
You can line up just about any fighter’s knockout record alongside Wilder’s and it will look average by comparison, and that’s certainly the case with Fury. But don’t fall into the trap of thinking he’s not also a finisher of fights.
Yes, Wilder has finished 39 of his 40 fights by KO, but Fury has put away 19 of his 27 victims. That equates to a knockout ratio of just over 70%, which is still pretty impressive. And if you consider Wilder loves to surge in and throw big shots, Fury’s expert timing could help add a few more pounds of force to his shots by using Wilder’s own weight and momentum against him.
Wilder has the outright power advantage, no doubt. But don’t sleep on Fury’s power, either. It will not take great leverage to capitalise on the champion’s recklessness and knock an already off-balance Wilder to the canvas, if only momentarily.
- HE IS PROVEN OVER THE LONG HAUL
Wilder’s incredible 40-win, 39-KO record is obviously a remarkable one, but it also reveals one key fact about his career – he has only gone the distance once.
And for a man who invests so much power into his punches, Wilder’s explosiveness could prove to be a double-edged sword if Fury can drag the fight into the later rounds.
Fury has been in the trenches before, most notably against Klitschko, who had even more knockouts on his record than Wilder. So the Brit has shown that he can hang with legitimate knockout artists for the full duration.
And if Fury can drag Wilder into the deep water of the later rounds, he may start to take control to either win on the cards or stop a tiring champion down the stretch. Don’t be deceived by the knockout record unduly either, Wilder has fought in to the championship rounds to find those stoppages too.
- HE’S A DIFFERENT TYPE OF CHALLENGER
Across his career, Wilder has faced a host of challengers to his WBC title, but none have been quite like Fury, who offers a unique character, style and presence for the American to cope with.
Fury will be the bigger, heavier man on fight night, he has an unusual style that is tough to prepare for and, unlike most top-level heavyweights, he is remarkably light-footed.
Fury isn’t likely to dance around the ring, Muhammad Ali-style, but his feints, shifts of foot and subtle movements are enough to throw off even the best. Just ask Klitschko.
In short, Fury is a Rubik’s Cube puzzle that Wilder will need to solve. But while he’s trying to smash him with heavy punches, the Brit has the skills, the smarts and the technique to give the American the sort of problems he’s never faced in the ring before.
And, perhaps crucially, Fury can shift to southpaw too. A stance that will extend the gap between Wilder’s right hand and Fury’s chin and if Fury can steal Wilder’s chief asset from him – the looping right hand – he’s already half way to victory.
It all adds up to an intriguing clash of styles on December 1, and one that has key names in the fight game split on the final outcome. However the action pans out, it promises to be a fascinating matchup.