It’s one of the boxing events of the year, and this weekend, boxing fans will finally get the answer to the question: who is the better heavyweight fighter: Deonte Wilder or Tyson Fury? The first fight, in December 2018, finished as a draw, while Fury was a decisive winner of Wilder-Fury II in 2020. So who will prevail this time? Read on for your complete betting guide to the big bout at the T-Mobile Arena.
Generally, the bookies have given Wilder a chance in this fight, but not a great one. Fury is generally rated around the -280 mark, with Wilder available at +200 and higher. Still, given how the Wilder–Fury II turned out, those odds could be said to be generous, although Wilder’s power always gives him hope.
Fury was also the strong favorite for the second fight, through most of the build-up, before the odds flipped in the final week. This was largely down to rumors about the extra weight both men were carrying, which it was felt might help Wilder’s power and hamper Fury’s footwork. There were also rumors of Wilder contracting flu and Fury having picked up an ankle injury.
As it turned out, Fury made the bookies look foolish, giving bettors the chance to bet on him as an underdog, something that definitely won’t be the case this time.
How did we get here?
The heavyweight division was not supposed to develop in this way in 2021. In fact, the world of boxing had been looking forward to what could have been one of the fights of the century, with Tyson Fury taking on fellow Brit Anthony Joshua in a unification bout.
Instead, we have this rematch of a rematch, which was made possible by some small print in the previous contract and a few weeks of legal argument, leading to a US court deciding that Wilder was entitled to his third shot at Fury. Joshua’s subsequent defeat against Oleksandr Usyk has blown that unification clash out of the water and Wilder v Fury III in the T-Mobile Arena, Nevada is now the big show in boxing.
The first edition of this rivalry showcased a genuine clash of style between the traditional boxing skill of Fury and Wilder’s awesome power punching. Fury was generally judged the unofficial winner of the bout, which ended in a draw, but there were many unanswered questions.
Most of those were answered emphatically in Wilder-Fury II. Changing his style and going on the offensive, Fury gave us a boxing masterclass, eventually stopping Wilder in the seventh after twice putting him on the canvas. There seemed to be little way back for Wilder, but he has another chance. So is it worth betting on the challenger one last time?
Wilder’s sheer power means he will have his share of supporters ahead of this fight, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see his odds shorten by the day of the bout. Yes, he has twice been outboxed by Fury, but he did land some big hits in the first fight, which ultimately prevented Fury from picking up a points victory. With plenty of US support likely to develop in the hours ahead of the fight, if you are planning on betting on Wilder, it is probably a good idea to do it sooner rather than later.
But you should be betting on him at all? ‘Puncher’s chance’ is a handy cliché but not always a great betting strategy, particularly when, as in this case, his opponent has shown clear improvement at countering that approach. In Wilder-Fury II, the man from the UK aimed to close the distance between the two fighters, taking some of Wilder’s power out of play and putting him on the back foot.
Sure, Wilder could have spent the intervening months working on his jab and his ability to circle away and keep his opponent at an optimal punching distance. But it is a tough ask to expect a fighter at his age and experience level to develop the tricky skill of throwing knock-out punches while on the back foot. Essentially, Wilder bettors are pinning all their hopes on a major reinvention or a stroke of luck.
It could happen, but logic suggests it is unlikely and with the technical and style match-up so clearly favoring Fury, this doesn’t look like a time to go with the underdog.
The various round betting markets are always popular, but in a fight between two pretty explosive contenders like Wilder and Fury, that can be a lottery. A better option if you’re looking to step outside the basic outright market is Total Knockdowns.
Fury has the power to generate his share of knockdowns, while 41 of Wilder’s 42 wins have come through a KO or TKO. Both previous fights paid out on the Over 1.5 knockdown bets and with both fighters talking about ending their opponent’s challenge within the distance, betting on two or more knockdowns could represent a solid bet.