Mike Tyson: Wilder and Fury BOTH have something to prove

Former IBF/WBA/WBC heavyweight champion Mike Tyson is really looking forward to next Saturday’s rematch between WBC heavyweight champion Deontay ‘The Bronze Bomber Wilder and Tyson ‘The Gypsy King’ Fury on February 22.

As far Tyson is concerned, both fighters have a lot to prove to fans in showing which of them is the better fighter from the last time they battled in December 2018.

Although Tyson (50-6, 44 KOs) admits that he naturally pulls for Fury to win his fights based on him being named after him, he just wants to see a good fight with a clear winner. Last time they fought, it ended in a disappointing 12 round draw, which had boxing fans split down the middle in who they believed deserved the ‘W’ that night.

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Fury wants to take the judges out of it

This time, Fury wants to take the judges out of it by knocking Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KOs) out. Fury is so committed to making that goal a reality that he’s changed trainers from Ben Davison to Sugar Hill Steward, and has been highly disciplined with his training and diet.

Fury looks slimmer than he did in the first fight, but he also appears a little worn from a hard camp. In Wilder’s case, he’s expected to come in 10 to 15 lbs heavier than the 212 lbs he weight for the first Fury fight. He’s already shown improvement with his punching power in his last two fights against Luis Ortiz and Dominic Breazeale.

In a fight that was played differently last Friday between lightweights Ryan Garcia and Francisco Fonseca, the referee immediately stopped the fight when Francisco was knocked down by Ryan in the 1st round. There was no difference between that knockdown and the Fury knockdown against Wilder. The referee was willing to give a count to Fury while he was unconscious.

Mike Tyson: I always pull for Fury because of his name

“This is a dream come true for both of the fighters,” said Mike Tyson to BT Sport. “Both of these guys came from nothing, and accomplished being heavyweight champions. I respect that, and I had their position at one time. And I was hoping for Tyson Fury.

“I always pull for him because he was named after me. So that’s the natural thing to do, right? Yes, he is a knockout artist,” said Tyson on Wilder. “He did really well. I thought Fury was handling him well, and he was boxing him well.

“I didn’t know that Tyson Fury was that good of a boxer. Because he’s tall, and he’s awkward, he doesn’t look like he’d be that good of a boxer, but he’s very effective. He doesn’t even look like he’s moving well, because he’s awkward, but he does really well. Tyson is really likeable,” said Mike.

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Wilder looked ineffectual for the most part during the first Fury fight. Deontay was waiting a long time before letting his shots go, as he was thrown off by Fury’s constant jab that he shot in his face, and the many feints that he used. Wilder was waiting a lot for Fury to stop jabbing before he’d throw something.

Fury seemed to know that when he would let off with his jabs, Wilder would move in quickly to try and nail him with a right. This made it easy for Fury to back away out of range to keep Wilder from landing his right. Later in the fight, Fury got a little lazy and chose to stay in place, and that’s when Wilder was able to capitalize by dropping him in rounds 9 and 12.

Fury’s toughness against Wilder impressed Mike

“He’s a really nice person. That surprised me. I never understood Tyson Fury. He kept beating guys that were decent fighters. I was going, ‘Are these guys washed up? Are they guys throwing the fight? What’s the problem?’ This guy doesn’t look like he should be beating these guys, and laughing at them.

“So I became a fan. He’s so much better than what he appears to be, and what he looks like. I’m sure by the time they face each other in the ring, those fears and nerves will be gone. This is fighting now. Probably adrenalin [takes over] and the high stakes sparring match. It’s like going to the gym.

“It’s not over until it’s over. I don’t care how hard a puncher you are or how great a fighter. It’s hard to beat somebody that doesn’t want to quit. Absolutely,” said Tyson when asked if he was cheering for Fury. “It was almost like a fairytale. He went back down, he got back up, and he looked like he was finished and he got back up,” said Tyson.

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It was incredible the way Fury got back up from the knockdown in the 12th, but it’s also a sign that Wilder didn’t land his right hand in a clean enough manner. He threw it with a slight arc to it, and didn’t have as much power on it compared to the straight rights that he knocked Breazeale and Ortiz out with.

Tyson doesn’t dislike Deontay Wilder

“I thought he was a bit of a clown, but that’s his way of fighting. I can’t judge that,” said Tyson on Fury taunting Wilder with his hands behind his back and above his head. “He amazed a lot of people by getting back up. Well, he’s [Fury] tough, and he’s able to take hard punches and get up and come back and win the round.

“It’s not that I dislike Deontay Wilder. I think he’s a wonderful man too. I’d like to get to know him, but I never got to know him like I got to know Tyson. I said, ‘Oh man, it’s over,’ and then he got up,” said Tyson when asked what his thoughts were when Fury was dropped in the 12th by Wilder. “It was almost like a Rocky scenario with everybody going crazy. He fought back. He did.

“It was just amazing. I’m a fan. I like him, and I’m going to be interested in seeing the outcome of this fight as well. And I didn’t know. I had no idea what he was going to do. I just thought that it appeared Tyson Fury was over. It appeared that way,” said Tyson when asked what his thoughts were when Wilder dropped Fury in the 12th. “The appearance was wrong. Pretty much, yes [it looked like game over for Fury],” said Tyson.

It did look very much like it was game over with Wilder knocked Fury out cold in the 12th. The referee Jack Reiss played it differently than the way fights normally go. He was willing to give Fury a count despite him being knocked out.

Mike Tyson: Wilder and Fury have something to prove

“It takes a great deal of intestinal fortitude, and self belief in yourself, and confidence that you can overcome the situation. It’s just an illusion. It’s not as bad as it appears. Hey, I don’t know. I like the fact that he thinks that way, because that’s what I would say as well,” said Tyson when told that Wilder thinks he would have beaten him if they had fought in his prime.

“He’s supposed to think that way, because he’s the heavyweight champion of the world. That’s something very special, and I hope he never forgets that. Listen, regardless of if they are or aren’t, they’re champions, and they deserve the respect of a champion,” said Tyson when asked if Wilder and Fury are on part with him, Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield.

“It’s going to be a really interesting fight because both guys have something to prove.  A great deal to prove, and I just wish the best for Tyson Fury. I’m always a Tyson fan,” said Mike.

There’s got to be a clear winner this time for the Wilder vs. Fury rematch. The fans won’t stand for two consecutive draws, and hopefully the judges can come up with a consensus winner.

If it’s another draw, it’s likely that both fighters will move on rather than facing each other a third time and risking even more anger from fans. It’s doubtful that a third fight would be successful in terms of PPV buys if this Saturday’s rematch ends in a draw.