THE MAGNITUDE of Saturday’s world heavyweight title rematch between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury is such that no catchy tagline is needed for the fight posters and promotional bluster. If it was, it would be obvious: ‘Unfinished Business’.
Both men have used the term since that night in December 2018 and it applies equally to each of them. Wilder, having been frustrated by Fury’s superb boxing for 34 minutes of their 36-minute fight, did manage to floor the challenger twice thanks to his renowned, devastating power.
Yet somehow it was not quite enough; Fury got to his feet. The second occasion, when he was briefly out cold, was otherworldly.
That startling recovery ensured the fight went the distance and surely earned Fury a deserved points victory.
Only it didn’t. The scorecards were calculated and to the shock of many observers, the bout was declared a draw.
Champion and challenger do it all over again in Las Vegas on Saturday with opinion naturally split over who will prevail second time around.
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“This is unfinished business,” Wilder stated. “I’m picking up where I left off. I knocked him out the first time. I didn’t get (the victory), but I’m going to knock him out this time again and this time he’s not getting up, that’s for sure. I promise you that.
“So I’m looking forward to it. This is an electrifying fight, I’m looking for electrifying energy on the night.
“The first fight was an amazing fight. It was a very controversial fight. We left people confused about what happened or who won. This is where we come and settle everything.
“This is judgment day. This is the moment where everyone will have a clear conscience about who actually won the first fight.”
Fury echoes the sentiment in his own unique way.
He said: “The judging in the first fight is a massive reason behind me focusing on knocking Wilder out this time.
“It made me uncomfortable.
“But when we’re taken out of our comfort zone and pressed and pressed and pressed, then we become better.
“So it was almost like a blessing in disguise that I didn’t get the decision because I would have kept working on my boxing and just box, box, box, box.
“I believe I can outbox Deontay Wilder very, very comfortably, but the fact of the matter is I believe I outboxed him comfortably last time. But it’s no good me believing it. The judges have to believe it, and to guarantee a victory, I’ve got to get a knockout because I don’t want to leave anything unturned this time.
“I don’t want another controversial decision. I don’t want people to say, ‘oh well he won’ and ‘no, he won’ or whatever.”
“I want it to be a defining win either way. I’m not a judge and these guys see what they see.
“That’s their opinion. That’s what they get paid to do, so yeah, but in order to guarantee a victory, I think you’ve got to take it out of anybody else’s hands. My own destiny lies in my own two fists.”
Worrying rumours surrounding Fury’s preparation suggest the inevitability of a third fight renders this weekend’s events less important in the Briton’s mind.
Wilder, meanwhile, seems personally affronted by the fact Fury is the only opponent he has ever failed to knock out. He knows, however, that if he can channel that frustration rather than let it run wild, then he can put that right.
When he does, it could be both emphatic and quick.
Additional Reporting by PA Media