Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury Prepared for Epic Rematch

WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder will defend the title against Tyson Fury this Saturday in Las Vegas.

Updated: Feb. 20, 2020 • 12:47 PM ET

Tyson Fury is looking to keep his unblemished record this weekend.

The heavyweight fight everyone has waited for is finally here. In a rematch from December 2018, undefeated WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder will defend the belt against undefeated lineal champion Tyson Fury this Saturday at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Since fighting to a controversial split decision, both fighters have stayed busy leading up to the rematch. Wilder viciously knocked out Dominic Breazeale in the first round of a fight in May and most recently finished Luis Ortiz in the seventh round of a rematch in November. Wilder was behind on the judges scorecards in the fight with Ortiz, but showed great resolve and patience leading up to the knockout.

In 43 fights, the 34-year-old Wilder is 42-0-1 with 41 knockouts. With a win on Saturday, Wilder will have successfully defended the WBC belt 11 times, joining an elite list of nine fighters who have defended a heavyweight belt nine or more times. The other nine names on that list are Tommy Burns, Joe Louis, Joe Frazier, Muhammad Ali, Larry Holmes, Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, Vitali Klitschko and Vladimir Klitschko.

Wilder knows the importance of being an American heavyweight champion.

"There has been a long line of great American heavyweight champions who represented our country with pride, strength and honor in the ring,” Wilder recently said via Premier Boxing Champions. “I take the responsibility very seriously to pick up where they left off and continue to show every young fighter who looks up to me, that they one day can be the heavyweight champion of the world.

"I'm a champion of the world, but I represent for the entire country and everyone in it. I’ve fought challengers from all around the world, knowing in my mind how important it was to keep this title in the U.S.”

Wilder’s only other non-finish in a fight besides the one with Fury was when he won the belt by unanimous decision over Bermane Stiverne in 2015. He then destroyed Stiverne in the first round of a rematch in 2017, and the Tuscaloosa native wants to join elite company in boxing history by having a dominant win over Fury.

"Being the heavyweight champion and holding that title on the American sports landscape is a huge deal,” Wilder said. “There was a time where that person was as well-known as the president. I'm going to keep leaving a path of destruction inside the ring, so that everyone knows I am the one name and one face of the heavyweight division.”

Fury has also fought twice since the split draw with Wilder, first defeating German Tom Schwarz by second-round TKO in June and Otto Wallin by unanimous decision in September. In the fight against Wallin, Fury suffered a large cut and didn’t look as dominant as he had in his previous fight, bringing up many questions about his durability heading into a second fight with Wilder.

The 31-year-old Fury won the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO titles when he defeated longtime champion Wladimir Klitschko by unanimous decision in 2015. The British fighter then spent more than two years away from boxing while battling depression and addiction.

A big story leading up to the first fight with Wilder was how Fury overcame his demons. Recently, however, he said a win could spell a return to his old ways.

"After this fight, I'm going to binge on cocaine and hookers,” Fury recently told the Daily Caller. "Is there anything better than cocaine and hookers?”

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Whether Fury was poking fun at his past or not, he may decide to retire once his current contract expires.

"I've not got an age, but I've got three fights left on my contract with ESPN," Fury said on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show. "And after that, I will seriously think about walking away."

When asked why he will think about walking away, Fury said, "Because I don't need to fight anymore. What is the point?

“What am I going to gain from it? When I beat Wilder on Saturday, I'll have completed the game. The game will be completed. I'll have won every single belt there is to win in the game, from minor to major, and I'll have won The Ring magazine belt twice, becoming only the second man in history to do that, me and Muhammad Ali.”

In the first fight, Wilder knocked down Fury in Round 9 and again in Round 12. It was a shock to many that Fury rose from the second knockdown and not only survived the round, but outboxed Wilder to the final bell.

Fury controlled the first fight and if not for the 10-8 Round 12, he likely would have walked away with the decision. Wilder is expected to be more aggressive earlier in the second fight, but it could open him up to Fury’s counterpunching. Should the fight make it to a decision again, the expectation is that Fury’s superior footwork, mobility and reach will get him the win.

It has taken Wilder two fights with Fury to reach superstar status in his own country, despite being a long-running American champion. Media attention, however, has focused on Fury leading up to both fights. Perhaps a victory over Fury will finally gain Wilder the respect he deserves from boxing pundits in his own country.

• Start time/how to watch - The main card can be seen on ESPN+ at 7 p.m. this Saturday

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