Tyson Fury attempts to wrestle the WBC heavyweight title from champion Deontay Wilder this weekend in Las Vegas. Betfair ambassador and former champ David Haye gives his expert views...
"I have been surprised by just how many people have been quick to overlook Wilder and write off his chances"
Wilder learned a valuable lesson
Tyson Fury benefited from the element of surprise in the first fight with Deontay Wilder in December 2018, but that advantage has now gone. There were no shocks in the champion's punch power but what caught a few off-guard was Fury's ability to take the big shots.
Wilder looked genuinely surprised by just how tough and elusive Fury was. Now he has first-hand experience of that he should be able to set traps better than he did last time, plan his attacks and not try to knock his opponent out with one big shot thrown from out of range. This should make Deontay a more dangerous fighter.
Dangerous to ignore champion's power
In the build up to this weekend's rematch I must say I have been surprised by just how many people have been quick to overlook Wilder and write off his chances, particularly after how spectacular the American looked, power wise, in the first fight.
Anyone looking past the natural heavy hands of Deontay needs to go back and watch his highlight reels. He is capable of throwing some monstrous punches at any stage of the fight and will aim to do the same again here.
I anticipate both Wilder and Fury being better in the rematch than they were in their first clash. With each fight a boxer learns and improves. That applies to their fitness, game plan, strategy. Both seem to have had great training camps and I expect them to be at their very best.
Fury - keys to victory
Fury needs to become a moving target. He can't risk planting his feet and staying still as he is well aware of the danger Wilder presents.
He must implement his jab early and use it to control the distance. Arm position will be key in this fight and Fury must keep his left hand out in an offensive motion, trying to discourage Wilder from triggering his right hand. Deontay rarely throws his power shots when an opponent has their jab held out in front of him as he can't see the target.
The challenger must be courageous and show his rival no fear. Fury has to enter the ring with ultimate confidence in his ability and in the team around him. He must have complete faith in the game plan set out and agreed during the training camp.
To beat Wilder you must consistently show massive heart as you're going to get hit and hurt at some stage. Fury proved his heart and ticked that box last time by getting up in the 12th round but he'll have to show plenty more of that in the rematch.
Wilder - keys to victory
Wilder must fight the urge to throw big punches from out of range as he was guilty of this in the first fight. He must get his feet closer to his opponent before off-loading, so I am expecting his footwork to be quicker and sharper than it was.
Another key to victory for Deontay is to show more feints than he did in 2018. He wasn't trying hard enough to trick Fury into making a defensive move and countering with shots. Instead, Wilder was throwing punches cold. He needs to set his attacks up a bit more. If Wilder is to defeat Fury this weekend, he will have to be more patient.
Maintaining energy levels will be key for the champion. In the first meeting he threw too many big punches too early which resulted in him slowing down and that had a detrimental effect on his punch power. I feel that cost him the knockout win in the last round.
Like the final point with Fury, Wilder will have to show real heart in this fight if he is to be victorious. He did just that in the Luis Ortiz win last time out. To beat Fury he will have to prove he has the heart of a champion because the challenger has already shown he's going to get up from anything and keep coming back for more. Wilder must be willing to put it all on the line.
Wilder v Fury II betting odds
The current betting available on Wilder v Fury II at the Betfair Sportsbook has Wilder as even money favourite. The champion to win by knockout is 6/5 in the method of victory market with a points cheer chalked up as a 12/1 play.
Fury was favourite during the build up but has been eased to 21/20 to win the fight. There's more to be had in the method of victory betting. A KO/TKO win for the Englishman is 5/1, the points verdict on American soil trading at 7/4. Fancy another draw? That's a heavyweight 22/1.