When Deontay Wilder steps between the ropes to face Tyson Fury for the third time on the night of July 24th in Las Vegas, there will be one major difference from their previous encounters.
Wilder, known as the Bronze Bomber in homage to boxing legend Joe Louis, steps into the ring as a challenger rather than a champion.
This is Wilder’s first fight in six-and-a-half years without the WBC heavyweight title belt around his waist. He lost the gold fair and square to his British rival last year. If the Fury v Wilder odds for their third fight are any indicator, then spectators should expect the same outcome with Fury currently at odds of -350 to be declared the winner. Few experts put Wilder forward as gaining revenge in their boxing tips on the bout with the status and pressure of being favorite all on Fury. That’s nothing new to the Brit, who remains undefeated since turning professional, yet wounded pride could make the former champ dangerous.
The Bronze Bomber is the underdog in the betting on this bout, and that’s as strange as the walk to the ring without a championship may feel for him.
Wilder’s fights with Fury, nicknamed the Gypsy King, have had a bit of everything. The drama of their first two dustups may prove tough to follow, yet this final act of their three-part saga should settle things once and for all. In fact, the pay-per-view poster goes with that exact tagline.
At no point in his illustrious career inside the squared circle has Wilder ever looked like a desperate man. It took a legally binding arbitration ruling by an American judge to assert his rights to a rematch following the seventh-round stoppage inflicted on the Bronze Bomber by Fury in February 2020.
Neutrals see Wilder’s lack of willingness to step aside and give boxing fans the undisputed world heavyweight championship clash between Fury and fellow British fighter Anthony Joshua as him playing spoiler. All the Bronze Bomber has done, in truth, is to make sure he got what was promised to him in the contract signed and agreed to between all parties.
Fury and Joshua can still happen somewhere down the line, and there’s nothing to stop that from taking place regardless of the outcome between the Gypsy King and Wilder. It’s not exactly a free hit for the American, but he has far less to lose and what he sees as his title to regain.
Given what has transpired between Wilder and Fury inside the ring already, a final twist in the tale certainly cannot be ruled out. These are two men at the pinnacle of heavyweight boxing that have lost just one fight in the paid ranks between them.
Their controversial draw, when first facing off in 2018, split the judges and is the stuff of legend. Wilder then had the humbling experience of succumbing to heavy-hitting tactics that he had so successfully employed throughout his own career.
One loss doesn’t necessarily make him a lesser fighter, however, Wilder must accept the diminished status of being the one with most to prove when he steps back in against Fury for the third and final time.