The biggest heavyweight boxing fight in years delivered a surprise last weekend, when Tyson Fury secured a TKO victory over Deontay Wilder. Fury was not exactly a long shot to win the match, but a majority in the boxing world expected to see Wilder come out on top — likely via knockout from his famously devastating right hand. In the end though, Fury simply had more in the tank, executing one of the great fights of his career while Wilder looked out of sorts from the opening bell.
The talk in the aftermath of the bout quickly turned to if and when we’ll see Fury take on Anthony Joshua. However, Wilder didn’t let himself fall out of the narrative for long. He quickly exercised his rematch clause, setting the stage for a third match with Fury in which he’ll look to even the score. We don’t know when that fight will be just yet, but we already have some questions about it.
Perhaps, somewhat ludicrously, Deontay Wilder seemed to blame his loss on his ring walk costume, which he wore as a tribute to Black History Month. Granted, the costume apparently weighed 40 pounds, which is no joke. It’s understandable that, as Wilder claimed, it left his legs a little bit tired. To blame his loss entirely on that factor, though, is probably a little bit generous. Wilder was fairly thoroughly out-boxed.
Costume aside, however, our question as we think ahead to a rematch is whether Wilder himself might have been too heavy. Fury made the headlines by hitting 274 pounds at his weigh-in, which was significantly more than he weighed when the two first fought. However, Wilder also put on weight, and reportedly fought at 16 pounds heavier than in the first fight. This is a tough issue for Wilder to resolve, because at some point he simply has to keep up with Fury from a size and strength perspective. Given that he looked somewhat sluggish though, one wonders if he should have stayed closer to his ordinary weight. If he does so in the third fight and performs better, we may gain fairly conclusive insight into why these fights have gone the way they have.
We won’t know what the betting outlook for a Wilder-Fury rematch will look like for some time, though we’d expect some of the UK’s bookmakers to have some take on it fairly early. Platforms for betting around the UK tend to be fairly busy with their sports coverage, and bookmakers generally know where the interest lies — which is to say that some of these betting sites may in fact be likely to start including Wilder-Fury III listings as soon as the match is officially scheduled. Until we reach that point though, we can only speculate as to the bookmakers’ outlook.
That speculation is somewhat complicated. On the one hand, all of the momentum in this ongoing match-up lies with Fury. There was no doubt who the superior fighter was. That, plus the idea that UK betting sites setting the tone for the fight might display a slight initial bias toward Fury, would suggest that the British-born fighter will be the favorite. However, we should also try not to be too heavily influenced by recency bias. As suggested above, Wilder was favored heading into the second fight. If he looks to be in shape (as always) and there are positive signs coming from his camp, he could inspire something close to even odds in a rematch.
This is always a more difficult sort of question than it seems to answer in the moment. Heading into the second fight, it would have felt very much like the answer would be yes. Wilder was undefeated and one of the most exciting boxers in a generation; Fury showed up as a legitimate behemoth looking to assert his place in history. And no one argued against the idea that it was the biggest heavyweight bout in a very long time.
Now, though, there are doubts. A number of boxing pundits pumped the brakes on the idea of placing Fury among the greats, and Wilder now has a blemish on his record. Of course, in a way this is the whole justification for a third fight. Reported statements from Lennox Lewis, for instance, indicated the former fighter’s opinion that Fury will be an all-time great if he can knock Wilder out in a rematch. And if Wilder, on the other hand, can turn the tables and knock Fury out the way many expected him to last week, people may start to view the second fight as a fluke, boosting Wilder’s legacy.
Whatever the answers to these questions end up being, we’ve talked ourselves into the rematch. The boxing world needs Wilder and Fury to fight again — preferably before too long!