By: Sean Crose
“Although Wilder’s punch is strong,” says legendary former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson, “nothing can compare to the mental strength Fury has shown both in and out of the ring. It’ll be a close call, but I think Fury’s got a true fighting chance.” And so, with these words, Tyson weighs in on this Saturday’s heavyweight title throwdown between England’s Tyson Fury and American powerhouse Deontay Wilder. The match, which will go down in California while being aired live on Pay Per View, is for Wilder’s WBC title strap. It’s also for bragging rights. Both Wilder and Fury, along with English titlist Anthony Joshua, all have a claim to the title of king of boxing’s top division.
Yet Tyson, who Fury is literally named after, isn’t the only known heavyweight to weigh in on the matter. “If it goes the distance then it belongs to Tyson Fury,” says Hall of Famer Lennox Lewis. “If it’s a short fight it will belong to Deontay Wilder. This is an epic and most-unpredictable showdown. I can’t wait for this fight.” The legendary George Foreman also finds the bout tough to call. “I am a big fan of Deontay Wilder,” he claims, “and I was impressed with Tyson Fury and how he avoided the big shots against Wladimir Klitschko. I can see him going 12 rounds with Wilder because of his height and reach.”
“I love Tyson Fury,” says former top contender Gerry Cooney. “I think he’s a remarkable self-promoter, and he did a great job with Wladimir Klitschko, using his feints and throwing Klitschko off his game plan. Deontay is a different kind of fighter, though. Fury fights at 30 miles per hour. Deontay fights at 100 miles per hour. So, when Deontay catches Fury and gets ahold of him I think it’s going to be over.”
Current top contender Luis Ortiz shares Cooney’s sentiment. “If Fury decides he wants to dip and dive and move, then he can extend the fight,” he says. “But it’s all up to Wilder. If Fury decides he wants to come to the middle of the ring and fight, then it’s going to be over quick. Wilder is going to catch him. Prediction: Wilder by KO.”
While the 40-0 Wilder is perhaps the favorite walking into LA’s Staples Center ring on Saturday night, the 27-0 Fury is wild and unpredictable enough to give the proceedings an air of uncertainty…which is for the best when it comes to the leadup of high level heavyweight boxing.