If history is any precedent, the third fight between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder (Sat. Oct. 9, 9pm ET PPV) should be one of the best boxing matches of the year. Their first clash in 2018 had such a crazy ending, ESPN produced an oral history on the 12th round alone. Their rematch had a more decisive finish, but it too featured high drama beyond the ring. So yeah, Fury-Wilder III not only sounds like an action movie sequel, it should feel like one.
You can order the pay-per-view here on Sling TV, no subscription required, for $79.99. To get you ready for Saturday night, here’s a look back at their first two fights and more.
The first time these heavyweights collided, on Dec. 1, 2018, both men were undefeated. By the time it was over, they remained undefeated. With all three judges scoring the fight differently—one for Fury, one for Wilder, and one even—the bout ended in a split-decision draw, much to the chagrin of the STAPLES Center crowd. Unsurprisingly, both men declared themselves theoretical victors, but the draw allowed Wilder to hold onto his WBC and lineal heavyweight titles.
The only reason it went to the scorecard in the first place is because Fury got up from a 12th-round knockdown that looked like a finishing blow. Considering where Fury’s career has gone since, those nine-seconds of astonishing perserverance were the most important in his fighting life.
With the first fight ending in a dramatic anticlimax, both fighters (and the public) were eager for a rematch. But due to contractual issues, the fight would have to wait. After each boxer won two more matches, Wilder-Fury II was finally scheduled for Feb. 22, 2020. But if the first fight was too close to call, the second one established Fury as the dominant heavyweight.
Weighing in at 273 pounds, 17 more than his first fight with Wilder, Fury lived up to his name. He knocked down Wilder in the third round, opening up a cut on his ear, and again in the fifth, which bloodied Wilder further. After Fury landed a series of hard-hitting shots in the seventh round, Wilder’s cornerman Mark Breland threw in the towel for his fighter. Just a few years after vacating his heavyweight titles to deal with mental health and addiction issues, Fury was wearing the WBC heavyweight belt, completing one of the most remarkable comebacks in boxing history.
Wilder-Fury II had a trilogy clause built into the contract and it didn’t take Deontay Wilder long to trigger it, as he officially exercised his right to a third fight on March 1. But even though Wilder was undoubtedly eager to return to the ring, the world had other plans in March of 2020. With the COVID-19 pandemic putting the sports world on hold, the fight would have to wait.
In fact, COVID-19 has directly delayed the fight. After scheduling a date in late July, Tyson Fury announced that he had tested positive for the virus, prompting them to reschedule for Oct. 9. Complicating matters is the fact that Anthony Joshua, who Fury was hoping to face ahead of his third fight with Wilder, lost his WBO, WBA, and IBF heavyweight belts to Oleksandr Usyk on Sept. 25. Since Joshua has a rematch clause, it’s likely that he takes on Usyk again before the winner of that fight faces the victor of Fury-Wilder III for a shot at unifying all the title belts.
Who else is on the card?
According to ESPN, which is co-producing the fight alongside Fox Sports, “three other heavyweight bouts will be aired: a battle of unbeatens in Efe “The One and Only” Ajagba versus Frank “The Cuban Flash” Sanchez, a hotly anticipated rematch between Robert “The Nordic Nightmare” Helenius and Adam “Babyface” Kownacki, and rising American superstar Jared “The Real Big Baby” Anderson against fellow unbeaten Vladimir Tereshkin.” A two-bout undercard broadcast will air on both ESPN2 and FS1 beginning at 7pm ET.
As you might expect, the champ is the early favorite. Current DraftKings odds have Fury at -310, with Wilder fetching +240. However, Wilder is widely considered one of the greatest punchers in boxing history, with 41 of his 42 wins coming via knockout. If Wilder connects with a few of his power punches, Fury might not be able to get up this time.
To order Wilder-Fury III on pay-per-view for $79.99, check the “Rentals” tab in the Sling app or search “Fury” and select it from there.