What If? – Wilder v Fury: Will the loser exercise the trilogy rematch clause?
By Tom Boyce: It seems strange to pose this question and talk about a third fight before the second fight between WBC champion Deontay Wilder (42-0-1) and former unified WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO, The Ring magazine, and lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury ( 29-0-1) has even happened, but it got me thinking after Fury made a reference to it at their media conference in Los Angeles last week.
As it currently stands the fight purse is split 50-50 which is fair as they both fought to a draw in their first fight on December 1st 2018. Frank Warren, head of Queensbury promotions and Fury’s British promoter stated on December 18th 2019 that a contract for a third fight between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder had already been signed, and the fight will take place in the summer.
However, 10 days later, Top Rank’s Bob Arum and Fury’s US Promoter clarified that although a contract for a trilogy had been signed, the fight still might not happen.
The reason why is the trilogy can only happen if the loser exercises the rematch clause for a lower percentage, (40% of the fight purse). In other words, if the loser doesn’t want a rematch – there will be no trilogy.
Again, people may think I am jumping the gun and wondering why I am talking about the third fight when the second fight between them is 5 weeks out, however I think I am justified to do so and I will explain why.
Although many thought Fury won their epic first fight, which ended in a draw, both of their unique boxing styles were displayed to the world that night, with Fury often dancing round and out jabbing Wilder, making him miss and utilizing all his skills. Whilst Wilder demonstrated his ferocious power by knocking Fury down twice and rendering him unconscious for a few seconds before Fury miraculously got to his feet and then outboxed him for the rest of the 12th round.
I love their totally different boxing styles, and it’s why I can’t wait for the rematch. It makes their bout even more intriguing with their clash of styles, which is also enhanced by both boxers being the very best at what they do. When you look at it like that, it really isn’t inconceivable for a draw to happen again.
And if that is the case a trilogy will certainly happen.
The only reason why it may not happen is if Fury again believes he has been robbed by the judges for the second time, then I’m sure he will either refuse to fight Wilder in the US again and demand a rematch in the UK or there will be no rematch at all.
My second point is, they are both undefeated, top quality fighters at the top of their game. This in itself shows that it will be a very close fight again, that could go either way by a split decision. Maybe Fury is miles ahead on the scorecards and gets stopped late by a powerful Wilder swing? Fury may feel he wasn’t given the same opportunity to recover as he did in their first encounter and knows he was easily winning the fight and wants to exercise the trilogy to get revenge.
Which loser would more likely exercise the trilogy?
I think this is a difficult question to answer, I think it all depends on how the fights ends. My opinion is if the fight is a draw or it comes down a split decision, whoever the loser is I think would feel aggrieved enough to want a third fight. Even if it was a close unanimous decision, I think they will both want to fight again.
However, if Fury puts on a boxing masterclass and schooled Wilder for 12 rounds, barely letting Wilder lay a glove on him, would Wilder want a repeat of that? Fury is doing his best to get under his skin by using psychological tactics, which may unsettle Wilder, so if Fury then emphatically boxes him all over the ring, then it will cause far more damage to Wilder’s ego than it would his body.
Although on the flip side there is an argument to say that he was behind on the scorecards in both fights with Luis Ortiz and Artur Szpilka, then he landed his right haymaker and knocked them clean out, and if there was a third fight he could do it again. This is entirely plausible because he is the hardest hitting heavyweight in the world or possibly ever.
Apart from his frightening power, one of Wilder’s other qualities is his patience. As aforementioned he has been behind on all 3 judges’ scores cards going into the backend of a fight and then pulled the rabbit out the hat with his explosive power and got the knockout. Wilder knows he has this in his locker as he recently said “My opponents need to perfect for 36 minutes, I need to be perfect for 2 seconds” – when you know this, it will give you unbelievable confidence so he may fancy another 12 rounds where he only needs to land one punch.
In the case of Fury, I think if he feels like he was on the wrong end of a decision be it a loss or draw he won’t want the trilogy, especially in the United States. He may think “what’s the point in doing it a third time if I have clearly beat him twice and not got the victory?”
Another scenario I can envisage Fury not wanting a rematch is if he gets brutally knocked out by Wilder, especially if it was very early in the fight like the second round (the round Fury predicted he would knock out Wilder in).
Again, there is a chance Fury will put it down to a lucky punch or wrong tactics as he claims he wants to (trade with Wilder in the middle of the ring), therefore he may seek a trilogy using different tactics.
But I think if Fury schools Wilder over 12 rounds, then Wilder will not exercise the rematch clause, likewise, if Fury gets brutally knocked out he also won’t want the trilogy.
At this stage, I will put it to around 70% chance we will see a trilogy in the summer.