Tyson Fury has a plan, and it will inevitably involve getting punched in the face.
The former world heavyweight champion is facing a tune-up opponent in Otto Wallin (20-0, 13 KOs) on Saturday night in Las Vegas. While he maintains he's not looking past the undefeated Wallin, Fury (28-0-1, 20 KOs) has already mapped out his dream fight schedule for 2020.
TalkSport.com's Michael Benson provided the details:
Fury is intent on getting back in the ring with Deontay Wilder after the two fought to a memorable draw in December 2018. In fact, he wants to face the Bronze Bomber twice, even though Wilder nearly handed him his first loss with a 12th-round knockdown that would have likely kept 99 out of 100 fighters stuck to the canvas.
It's the kind of ambition everyone likes to see out of the top fighters, especially in an era where so many dream matchups exist only in the imaginations of fight fans.
For the dreams to come to fruition, Fury will have to take care of Wallin, his second-straight underwhelming opponent since facing Wilder. Earlier in the year, the 31-year-old made quick work of the dreadfully overmatched Tom Schwarz with a second-round TKO, though he did pack in plenty of entertainment in a short period of time.
Fans tuning in on Saturday night will be hoping for a similar show to justify ponying up for what appears to be another mismatch.
Tyson Fury vs. Otto Wallin Fight Info
When: Saturday, Sep. 14 at 11 p.m. ET
Where: T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas
TV: BT Sports Box Office (UK, pay-per-view)
Live stream: ESPN+
Odds: Fury -2500 (bet $2,500 to win $100, Wallin +1100 (bet $100 to win $1,100)
Odds courtesy of Caesars and updated as of Thursday, Sep. 12 at 7 a.m. ET.
Fury might not necessarily be on top of the heavyweight boxing world—that distinction probably goes to Andy Ruiz Jr. or Wilder—but you wouldn't know it from the way he acts.
After a couple of years of struggling with mental illness, drugs and alcohol following his famous win over then-undisputed heavyweight champ Wladimir Klitschko in 2015, Fury is clearly in a better place.
He's constantly clowning around, both on his own time and at his pre-fight press conferences. Fury could be seen cracking jokes and eliciting big smiles from Wallin just days before they are supposed to pummel each other with their fists.
He's a big, rich man who makes his living in a nasty, brutal sport, but in interviews, he comes off as someone who is trying to stay on the narrow road to enlightenment.
Fury recently told BBC Sport's Luke Reddy he has found "happiness within himself" and is no longer looking for satisfaction in material things:
"I have really found out that happiness doesn't come from achievements or assets. It comes from within, with contentment of who you are. I can't be happier. If I had another 10 zeros on my bank balance it couldn't make me happier. I can only wear these shoes and sleep in one bed. You can only drive one car—if it's a Rolls Royce or piece of rubbish, they all do the same thing."
The fun-loving, peaceful demeanor is not an act, nor is it a sign Fury has lost his edge. He was just as silly in the buildup to the Schwarz fight, and he was utterly dominant. Fury has also credited his training with saving him, per Reddy, so the process of becoming one of the sport's top fighters is inextricably linked to his newfound happiness.
When Fury is on his game, he's incredible to watch, with long, rubbery limbs, great head movement, tricky combinations and a flair for the dramatic.
This compilation from Boxing on BT Sport does a good job of showcasing how much fun Fury can be, even when he's on the defensive:
The 6'9" behemoth with an 89-inch reach is going to be tough for Wallin, a 28-year-old from Sweden who hasn't fought anyone of note in his career and is fighting in the U.S. for just the second time.
His last bout was a no-contest against Nick Kisner in April. There's little to suggest Wallin is primed for an upset on Saturday, though Bloody Elbow's Fraser Coffeen noted his southpaw stance could give Fury something to think about:
"Fury doesn't have a tremendous amount of experience against southpaw fighters; in recent fights, Francesco Pianeta is the only one. Of course, Fury dominated him, but from a technical standpoint, you take what you can get if you're in the Wallin camp."
So maybe the southpaw strategy gives Fury one too many things to think about, and he eats a life-changing punch. That's what Wallin is hoping for here. He needs a distracted, unfocused Fury on Saturday night. Unfortunately for him, Fury appears plenty capable of flipping the switch when he needs to and buckling down on fight night.
The hope here is that Fury can put on a show against another overmatched opponent on his way to picking up the victory—a necessary precursor to fighting Wilder in 2020. Then, Fury can settle his score with the most dangerous hitter in the sport, proving his claim to the lineal heavyweight title is more than self-promotion. That's a plan both Fury and boxing fans can be happy with.