Tyson Fury hasn’t completely dismissed Deontay Wilder’s ability to alter his style somewhat for their third fight.
Fury, after all, drastically changed his own outlook in a relatively short time prior to their rematch in February 2020. Javan “SugarHill” Steward radically changed Fury’s approach before Fury fought Wilder a second time, when the huge heavyweight implemented those tactics perfectly.
The 6-feet-9, 270-pound Fury overwhelmed Wilder with his physicality and pressure on his way to a stunningly easy victory 19 months ago. Wilder didn’t deal well with a different Fury than he faced in their first fight, a more tactical battle that resulted in a 12-round split draw in December 2018 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
In their rematch 14½ months later, Fury forced the action as soon as their scheduled 12-rounder started at MGM Grand Garden Arena. The unbeaten WBC champion pressed Wilder, dropped him once apiece in the third and fifth rounds and stopped him in the seventh round, when Wilder’s former assistant trainer, Mark Breland, threw in the towel to keep Wilder from absorbing unnecessary punishment.
Considering Steward reprogrammed him in about a month-and-a-half, Fury recognizes that Wilder’s new trainer, Malik Scott, could’ve had a positive impact on his rival because they’ve worked together much longer for this third fight October 9 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“It only took me six weeks to go from a slick-boxing counterpuncher to an aggressive knockout puncher,” Fury said during a Zoom conference call Wednesday. “With six weeks with ‘Sugar Hill,’ I changed me full style, my full outlook on boxing. Deontay Wilder’s had 16, 17 months, however long it is since we fought, to change his style. I believe he probably could’ve got a degree from college in that time if he would’ve worked hard enough, never mind changing his boxing style.
“Anyone can do whatever they want in life. Everybody will have a game plan. Everybody will do what they think they’re gonna do until – what Mike Tyson said is a hundred-percent true. Until they get punched in the face, then they realize that they’ve gotta do what they’ve gotta do to survive. And that’s what boxing is. Everybody’s got a great game plan, until it comes down to it. And that’s what it is.”
Wilder replaced longtime head trainer Jay Deas with Scott following his first professional defeat. Scott once lost to Wilder by first-round knockout 6½ years ago, but he had been involved in Wilder’s camps in a more limited capacity before Wilder hired him as his chief second.
Most Internet sportsbooks have made Fury a 3-1 favorite to defeat Wilder again. ESPN and FOX Sports will co-distribute the third bout between Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs), of Manchester, England, and Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs), of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, as the main event of a four-fight pay-per-view show.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.