The heavyweight landscape was shaken up on September 25 when Oleksandr Usyk defeated Anthony Joshua to become the WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO Heavyweight champion. And this coming Saturday will bring more clarity to the heavyweight title picture when Deontay Wilder (42-1-1, 41KO’s) takes on Tyson Fury (30-0-1, 21KO’s) for the third time on October 9, 2021 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Fury will be making the first defense of his WBC & Ring titles since defeating Wilder back in February 2020. Wilder exercised his immediate rematch clause, and the fight was scheduled for July 2020, which of course was canceled as we were in the midst of a global pandemic. Fury then signed to fight Anthony Joshua twice, but then a judge ruled that he had to honor his agreement and fight Wilder before anyone else. The fight was scheduled for July 24th, 2021, but then had to be delayed due to a Covid outbreak in Fury’s camp. It has been a long road to get here, so who wins?

It is going to be hard to go against Tyson Fury. Many felt he won the first fight, but the two knockdowns late in the fight made the decision palatable. The second fight was a virtuoso performance by Fury. He steamrolled Wilder, forcing a corner stoppage in the 7th round.

Fury stands at 6’9” and in the last bout weighed in at 273 pounds. Despite that size, Fury is a very slick and agile defensive fighter. He used his size and imposed his will on Wilder that second fight to bully him around the ring, and when the fight went to the middle of the ring, he was able to control Wilder with his jab. Wilder’s advantage is his power. We saw in the first fight, that when he could land punches he could be effective. In the second fight Fury was able to smother Wilder’s power, and Deontay could not find a way to mount any consistent offense.

What is going to determine the outcome of this fight is Wilder’s ability to adjust. So much of Wilder’s power is generated with a simple 1-2 combo. He throws a left jab then follows it up with a dynamite right hand.  Fury neutralized that in the second fight. Wilder has since changed trainers to Malik Scott. Released training footage has shown Wilder adding more flavor to his game. He is throwing combinations, moving his head, throwing body shots, establishing a jab, etc. and all of those things come fight night will help him tremendously in his effort to reclaim the title.  The fight being delayed due to Covid, I believe, helped Wilder and gave him more time to hone his new skills.

That being said my pick is still Tyson Fury. Fury’s size is once again going to play a role in this fight. He is going to look to impose his will, and use his slick defense to smother Wilder’s power. I do not think Wilder will be beaten so handily this third fight.  It is clear he knows he needs to change some things in order to compete, I just do not think there has been enough time with his new camp to seamlessly integrate these changes.

My Official Pick: Tyson Fury by Unanimous Decision