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Thurman reacts to Fury being the FAVORITE over Wilder

Deontay Wilder Keith Thurman Tyson Fury

By Robert Addams: Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman says he’s NOT surprised that Tyson Fury has been made the betting favorite over Deontay Wilder ahead of their February 22 rematch on ESPN and Fox Sports pay-per-view.

The former WBA/WBC welterweight champion Thurman states that Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs) showed in the first fight with WBC heavyweight champ Wilder that he’s got the skills to beat him. Thurman doubts anything will change from the first fight in terms of Fury showing the superior boxing ability, and Wilder just looking for that one big punch all night.

Wilder knocked Fury down twice in first fight

The boxing public saw it as well. Wilder focused on looking for just one big shot, and he allowed Fury to out-box him in the first 11 rounds. Although Wilder did drop Fury in the 12th, he didn’t put him away when he got back up off the canvas to beat the count.

The first Wilder vs. Fury fight was scored as a controversial 12 round draw on December 1, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. Some fans felt Wilder was robbed of a knockout victory by the referee, who gave what they felt was a long count. A lot of fans felt that not only was Fury given a long count, but he was given the benefit of the doubt after he dropped.

Should Fury been given a count at all in the 12th?

Fury looked like he was unconscious after being dropped in the 12th, and many referees stop fights on the spot nowadays when a fighter in that condition. With the referee that worked the first fight, Fury was given a count despite him looking seriously hurt.

On the flipside, Fury out-boxed Wilder in 10 of the 12 rounds, and many fans feel he should have been given a decision win. However, Wilder dropped Fury TWICE in knocking him down in rounds 9 and 12. The knockdowns hurt Fury’s case in winning the fight. Wilder fought well enough to win an additional 2 or 3 rounds besides the 9th and 12th.

Thurman not surprised Fury the favorite over Wilder

“It doesn’t surprise me [that Fury is favorite over Wilder] because we all saw that Fury brought so much skill, so much technique into the first fight,” said Keith Thurman to Inside PBC Boxing. “To see that big man [Fury] throw those triple feints, triple jabs, and move around the ring so swiftly. We do believe he’s got the skill set to win a 12 round decision, but can he make it,” said Thurman in questioning whether Fury survive 12 rounds.

One reason for the odds-makers installing Fury as the favorite is the way that Wilder looked in his last fight against Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz. In their fight on November 23, Wilder was badly out-boxed by the 40-year-old Cuban Ortiz, and he was trailing on all three of the judges’ scorecards going into the 7th.

The judges had Ortiz up by the scores 58-56, 59-55, 59-55. With those kinds of scores, Wilder would have needed to do something drastic in the second half of the fight to win. As fate would have it, Wilder didn’t need to worry about winning rounds, as he knocked Ortiz out in the 7th with a right hand.

Wilder didn’t show improvement over his performance against Fury, and that factors in why he’s now the underdog.

With Ortiz’s boxing skills, he’d likely have out-boxed most of the top heavyweights in the division in the same way he did Wilder. The highly skilled southpaw Ortiz countered Wilder each time he would attempt to throw one of his right hands.

Berto doubts Fury can go 12 rounds with Wilder

“Can he make it” said Andre Berto of Fury going the distance. “Deontay Wilder has the kind of power we haven’t seen before,” said Berto in talking about Fury going the distance. “I’m over with Deontay Wilder. It doesn’t matter when it comes to a lot of the skills with Tyson Fury. It can be over shortly at any time.”

Former IBF/WBC welterweight champion Berto is assuming that Wilder is able to land that one big shot at some point in the fight to stop Fury. It’s going to be difficult for Wilder to do though, since Fury is incredibly hard to hit cleanly. He uses a lot of feints, head movement, and he’s mobile all the time.

Wilder had problems with Fury’s long jab that he was using to setup his combination punching. Fury would throw double and triple jabs before coming forward to hit Wilder with lefts and rights at close range. Wilder’s power wasn’t the same once Fury got within a certain distance. When Wilder did land when Fury was close, his power at the range didn’t hurt ‘The Gypsy King.’

Unless Wilder can catch Fury with one of his big shots while he’s on the outside, he could get out-boxed ike last time. As Fury showed in the first fight, he’s not easy to hit when he’s at range. Wilder missed so often against Fury that he started to decrease the power on his shots.

As a result, when Wilder did land, he wasn’t hurting Fury. At the same time, Wilder was getting countered by Fury often when he’d throw a right hand, and miss by a mile. That obviously factored in to way Wilder wasn’t throwing with full power. He had to be ready for one of Fury’s short counter punches after a missed shot.

Tyson Fury more versatile than Deontay Wilder

“The one thing that we’ve seen is Tyson Fury fight different styles of adversity,” said Thurman. “He was knocked down twice, and got up. And one of his fights [against Otto Wallin], he had a severe cut, and he was able to go through that. So his toughness and his skillset, we’ve seen that. For Wilder, we’ve seen what we’ve always seen, and that’s bombs being dropped.

“I think for most people, they just see the knockouts,” Thurman said about Wilder. “They don’t see much. People say he wasn’t doing much against ‘King Kong’ Ortiz before the knockout, but once he landed the punch, the fight was over,” said Thurman.

Fury is clearly more versatile than Wilder. It goes without saying that Fury can do a lot more things inside the ring than Wilder, and that won’t change in the rematch. Fury will be able to move, box and dominate the action for long stretches. The only thing that we don’t know is how well Fury will take Wilder’s right hand when/if it lands flush with full power.

In the 12th round Wilder knocked Fury out cold last time they fought, and he could be susceptible to getting hurt again. Even if Fury’s punch resistance is still intact, he can’t take Wilder’s right hand power. We saw that last time, and nothing changes in that respect. Unless Fury’s punch resistance has improved since the 14 months since the first fight, he’s going to be just as vulnerable to Wilder’s right hand in their rematch.

Fury has a cut that could reopen says Berto

“I think Deontay Wilder has been doing a great job of setting up that right hand,” said Andre Berto. “And I mean, he has that equalizer, and he has something that no other heavyweight has. I think he’s been trying to perfect setting that right hand up, and like I said, Tyson Fury had a cut in his last fight, and that could re-open,” Berto said.

Fury’s cut is something that few boxing fans and analysts have talked about going into the Wilder-Fury rematch. In Fury’s last fight against Otto Wallin, he suffered a massive cut over his right eye that required 47 stitches to close.

A lot of boxing fans think that fight should have been stopped after the cut first occurred in round 3, but Fury was allowed to continue fighting. As one would expect, the cut worsened to the point where Fury was bleeding all over the place. Fury now has had 4 months for the cut to heal, which isn’t a long time for a cut of that size to heal up.

Wilder plans on targeting Fury’s right eye to open the cut. Even if Wilder doesn’t target the eye purposefully, that cut is likely to open right away from the impact of his shots.

If Fury is blind from blood seeping into his right eye, it’s going to make it difficult for him to get out of the way of Wilder’s right hands. Fury will need to depend more on his punch resistance in the rematch on February 22 unless he can box a masterpiece, and not get hit. The boxing public wants to see an exciting fight. So it could be boring to watch if Fury dances around the ring for 12 rounds to keep from getting hit by Wilder.

Wilder can’t just look for the knockout against Fury

“I don’t think he [Wilder] can take that approach [of not bothering to try and win rounds], but it’s very easy for a fighter like him to just look passed that, because he has such a strong right hand,” said Berto. “Against Tyson Fury, that’s such a skilled heavyweight, he’s going to have to win every round he can,” said Berto.

The way that Wilder was willing to give away rounds in his last fight against Ortiz won’t work for him against Fury. If Wilder let’s Fury build up a huge lead over him through 9 or 10 rounds, it’s going to get the crowd behind him, and he’ll have the energy to win when he gets tired. In the 12th round, cheering from the crowd is what energized Fury to fight hard after he was dropped by Wilder.

It’s not going to be easy for Wilder to win rounds against Fury, because he doesn’t have the jab or the boxing skills to do that. Wilder can box a little, but not to the level of where Fury’s at. Against Ortiz, Wilder looked amateurish through most of the fight.

It was embarrassing to watch how over-matched Wilder looked at times. Ortiz, despite his advanced age, was on another level to Wilder. It was a teacher fighting a pupil. What saved Wilder from defeat in that fight was his power. When he finally did catch Ortiz with a big right hand in the 7th, that was the end of story.

Thurman: Wilder may use “all or nothing” approach to Fury rematch

“He went for the all or nothing the first time. I won’t be surprised if he does it again,” said Thurman about his belief Wilder will only focus on trying for the knockout and forgetting about winning rounds.

Thurman doesn’t believe Wilder will try to box Fury in the rematch, as he thinks he’ll fight the same way he did in the first fight. ‘One Time’ is probably right. When has Wilder ever boxed an opponent for 12 rounds? You can argue the only times the 6’7″ Wilder has focused on boxing was his first fight with Bermane Stiverne in 2015, and in his match against Chris Arreola in 2016.

It’s not a coincidence that Wilder broke his right hand in both of those fights, and was forced to box. Wilder had no choice but to use his left exclusively. Although Wilder did sparingly throw right hands in both fights, he didn’t do it a lot, and the power was missing.

Fury’s boxing skills are so much better than Wilder that it leaves with no other choice but to try and knock him out. It’s easy for Thurman to label Wilder as using the “all or nothing” approach to the Fury fight, but that’s really his only shot. Wilder will never outbox Fury, and he would be foolish to try. It’s clear that Wilder has to use the physical tools that has carried him this far in his professional career, and that’s his power. For Wilder to ignore that, and try and fight Fury’s game by boxing him, it would be a mistake.


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