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Wilder vs Fury betting: Inactivity leaves underdog too much to do

Wilder vs Fury Preview and Predictions

Tyson Fury's fight with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in Los Angeles on Saturday night is widely considered the latest of significance between a boxer and a puncher, writes Declan Warrington.

If the undefeated Fury is to become the first to overcome Wilder, and in doing so win the one world heavyweight title that has so far eluded him, he will do so by using his size, range, mobility and intelligence to negate the champion's attempts to land his heavy hands.

Fight night information

When is it? Sunday 2nd December

What time will it start? 05:00

Where is it? Staples Center, Los Angeles

Which channel is it on? BT Sport Box Office

The explosive Wilder, 33, has so far stopped each of his 39 professional opponents, having last year needed less than a round to win via knockout against Bermane Stiverne, who previously became the only fighter to take him the distance when being outpointed over 12 rounds in 2015 the night Wilder won his title.

If that suggests a reliance on his undoubted power - perhaps the greatest of any active heavyweight - it also shows how much of a consistent threat the American will pose to Fury, regardless of how their fight may be unfolding.

His power was even on display on US television when Wilder floored a mascot wearing a sombrero and moustache during an interview to promote the fight!

Even against Fury at his sharpest, Wilder's intent, speed, power and range - which is still effective, if not to the same extent as Fury's - means that the 30-year-old challenger will require even greater concentration and composure than that demonstrated when producing his shock victory over Wladimir Klitschko in 2015.

That night Fury's unorthodox style and mobility unsettled the great Klitschko - unbeaten for the previous 11 years and still the finest heavyweight of the modern era - to the extent that he became cautious and inactive, ultimately reluctant to throw the punches required to control their fight and earn the decision from the judges, who rightly scored the "away" fighter the winner.

Fury has only fought 14 unremarkable rounds since then, when he became the IBF, WBA and WBO champion (Anthony Joshua has since won each of those titles), and consequently it is the sharpness that was then such a strength that remains a doubt against a less rounded but more dangerous opponent - the most dangerous of his career.

During an absence of over two-and-a-half years - during which Wilder consistently fought, won, and improved - Fury vacated his titles to concentrate on his struggles with mental health, and admitted to contemplating suicide and taking cocaine as his lifestyle led to him eventually weighing 27 stones.

If it is impressive that he has since fought his way back into such a lucrative position, there remains significant doubt over whether he can ever again perform to the same level he demonstrated against Klitschko - and which he will require on Saturday night.

The ring-rust that will have accumulated during such inactivity, and the extent to which he punished his body during that period, is highly unlikely to have been overcome against the unthreatening, little-known opposition of Sefer Seferi and Francesco Pianeta, his two opponents since launching his comeback.

This weekend's fight will also be only his third under inexperienced trainer Ben Davison, who has succeeded Fury's uncle Peter, credited with inspiring the impressive performance against Klitschko and a previously-absent discipline.

Where there has been stability, a steady upward trajectory and a career-best victory over Luis Ortiz for Wilder, there has been chaos for Fury, whose greatest chance of success would have come with several further fights, and gradually against superior opposition.

It cannot be overlooked that he succeeded despite being the significant underdog against Klitschko, and that he at least once possessed the qualities required to beat a fighter with Wilder's strengths. But given he will have had so much working against him, it is the champion who is rightly the 8/13 favourite in the Wilder vs Fury betting.

Fury may well be leading Saturday's fight from the opening bell at the Staples Center, but his inactivity will begin to show in its final rounds, making him an easier target for the driven Wilder.

As well as taking the American to win, we're also adding Wilder to win in the ninth round at a tempting 22/1 as the more ambitious of our Wilder vs Fury predictions.

Wilder vs Fury Betting Tips

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Andrew McDermott
@a_mcdermott in Boxing