B/R Staff Roundtable: Does Wilder Stand a Chance vs. Fury in 3rd Fight?

Kelsey McCarsonFeatured ColumnistFebruary 25, 2020

B/R Staff Roundtable: Does Wilder Stand a Chance vs. Fury in 3rd Fight?

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    Should Wilder be headed toward a third fight against Fury?
    Should Wilder be headed toward a third fight against Fury?Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

    Deontay Wilder's 45-pound ring-walk costume being too heavy and co-trainer Mark Breland not allowing his fighter to continue getting rag-dolled around the ring were among viewpoints disclosed Monday to The Athletic's Lance Pugmire and Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole as excuses why the American lost to Tyson Fury.

    Wilder, 34, from Tuscaloosa, Ala., is seeking an immediate rematch.

    Wilder is one of the hardest-punching heavyweights in boxing history, but the younger, bigger and better Fury beat him up until his corner wisely threw in the towel on Saturday night at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. 

    So the question on everyone's mind right now is whether Wilder stands a chance in the assumed rematch against Fury that would happen by the end of July, according to SI.com's Chris Mannix.

    Here's what we think about the potential Fury vs. Wilder 3 bout.

Lyle Fitzsimmons: No Way

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    Fitzsimmons thinks the same thing happens in the third fight.
    Fitzsimmons thinks the same thing happens in the third fight.Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

    Turns out I've got a lot more flexibility than I'd ever imagined.

    After all, it was just a few days ago—in a journalistic piece not too dissimilar from this one—that I spent about 300 words suggesting Wilder would stop Fury in their high-profile rematch.

    Of course, that pick was voided the instant Fury's right hand landed behind Wilder's left ear.

    And over the subsequent four rounds, I'd be lying if I said I hadn't uttered phrases like "he's done," "he's about to get knocked out" and "they need to save him from himself" before it finally ended.

    Pretty lithe for a guy who graduated high school in the 1980s, no?

    Anyway, as further proof of my nimbleness, I've gone all-in when it comes to joining Kelsey—yes, the only one among us who picked Fury last time—as a card-carrying member of Team Fury this time.

    Not only do I think he wins the trilogy fight, but I think he does so just as easily as Saturday.

    For all the reasons I was too distracted to stand with last week.

    While I conceded then that the Englishman was a more talented all-around fighter and had won more rounds in the first fight in late 2018, I clung to the notion that the two rounds in which Wilder scored knockdowns were more important than what had occurred across the other 30 minutes.

    But like any other bomber, Bronze or otherwise, the bombs only matter if they land.

    And if Fury fights Wilder the way he did Saturday night—off the front foot, forcing the Alabaman to focus on his evasion and defense at least as much as his offense—they're much less likely to do so.

    Once that playing field is leveled, Fury's advantages become more pronounced. He's bigger, he's longer, he's heavier, he's stronger. And when his blows land, they have a particularly devastating (read: decisive) impact.

    For those reasons, so long as he's in shape and prepared, he'll always have Wilder's number.

    Sorry, Deontay. It's not you, it's me. But I hope we can still be friends.

Jonathan Snowden: Yes Way

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    Snowden believes it all comes down to which fighter lands the first hard punch.
    Snowden believes it all comes down to which fighter lands the first hard punch.Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    I will disagree with my esteemed colleague here. Not when it comes to the specifics—I missed the second Wilder-Fury fight the way I've missed hundreds, even thousands of fights over the years. 

    Who wins the rubber match? That I can't tell you with any degree of confidence.

    What I do know is one of the hidden truths of combat sports when contested at the highest levels: There is a razor-thin margin between success and failure. This is especially true when someone hits with the unworldly, jaw-crumbling power of Wilder. 

    Fury created a template for success, abandoning his typical game plan in favor of an aggressive approach that never gave Wilder, presumably exhausted from wearing a silly costume to the ring, the chance to catch his breath. One assumes he could do that again. 

    But here's the thing: On some level, it doesn't matter if Fury is the better, more skilled technical fighter. I'm not even 100 percent convinced that's entirely the reason he won the fight this weekend. 

    What mattered just as much is the simple fact he landed the first heavy shot of the bout. Once it connected, Wilder never recovered. Had one of the American's early winging haymakers landed an inch closer to Fury's chin instead, we'd be having a very different conversation, one filled with the kind of glorious praise we heaped on Wilder after the first bout.

    It's that thrilling power that makes Wilder so compelling, despite his technical flaws. He has a puncher's chance any time he steps into the ring, and that includes in a potential third bout with Fury.

Kelsey McCarson: Maybe?

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    McCarson is only sure that Wilder deserves the chance.
    McCarson is only sure that Wilder deserves the chance.Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

    Thanks to Wilder's incredible power and amazing athleticism, the former champion always stands a chance inside a boxing ring.

    While Fury won virtually every moment of their second fight in shocking fashion, Wilder's half-decade as champion means the fighter should be given the chance to face the Briton again if he so desires. 

    That being said, there doesn't seem to be much Wilder could do in the short time he'd have to train before their next encounter that might give him any real shot at winning the fight beyond landing his Sunday punch.

    His main problem is that Fury is a much better boxer. That's what wins fights, after all, and Fury being younger, bigger and seemingly as excellent as ever right now means Wilder's best chance to beat him is something just barely above a puncher's chance. 

    So does that qualify as a real chance?

    Regardless, Fury vs. Wilder 3 would probably be the most money Wilder could make inside a boxing ring for his next fight, so it makes sense that he'd want to make it happen.

    As for Fury, while facing Anthony Joshua to crown the first undisputed heavyweight champion in boxing since Lennox Lewis defeated Evander Holyfield in 1999 would be the much bigger fight at this point in his career, the ESPN/Fox Sports pay-per-view machine that just worked together for the first time could probably squeeze enough PPV buys out of a third fight to warrant making the trilogy happen.  

    In short, I'm not sure if Wilder does have a serious chance to beat Fury in an immediate rematch, but I'm definitely down to see the fight.