Deontay Wilder will put his WBC world heavyweight title on the line on Saturday, February 22; when he takes on Tyson Fury in a rematch fans have been clamoring for; ever since the judges came to a split-decision draw in their first fight in December 2018.
That bout was an epic battle that ended with one of the most thrilling rounds in recent years.
Wilder, the hardest puncher in the sport at the moment; clubbed Fury in the 12th round with a hard right followed by a textbook left hook to the skull.
The elusive Fury had outboxed the American for long stretches of the fight and survived an earlier knockdown in the ninth round; but he looked destined to become another one of the Bronze Bomber’s many KO victims.
Incredibly, the Briton picked himself up from the canvas and finished the fight.
It was the first time either man had tasted anything over than victory in a professional boxing match; the two remain undefeated heading into Saturday’s clash at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.
For Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs), a win would represent the culmination of a long and difficult comeback journey after he nearly threw away his career in the two years following his win over then-undisputed champion Wladimir Klitschko in 2015.
The self-styled Gypsy King would once again be a world titleholder with a victory on Saturday, and thanks to his brash persona, he would be able to call the shots in the heavyweight division.
A win for Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KOs) would go a long way toward cementing his legacy as one of the most fearsome and accomplished heavyweights of any era.
In 43 career fights, only Fury and Bermane Stiverne have made it to the final bell.
Wilder has been criticized for his lack of all-around boxing acumen, but his power is undeniable. He’s made a great career out of utilizing a long jab and patiently waiting for opportunities to land his power shots.
A win over Fury would be silence some of his critics.
While the promotional build to the rematch lacked the bombast of the first fight as Fury took on a more serious tone, the two let loose at Wednesday’s press conference featuring multiple shoves and constant trash talk.
“As you can see leading up to this fight, we were very cordial and nice and respectable but this is the time,” Wilder told CBS Sports.
“All of the emotion and preparation for this fight is coming together. We wanted to express ourselves and show that we mean what we have said leading up to this fight.”