WITH the rematch between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury now confirmed for February 22, what we can expect to see for six or seven weeks are a host of wildly conflicting predictions on the outcome based on the pair’s initial fight in December 2018 and all that has happened since.

The first fight, as if you need reminding, ended in a draw – a disputed one. Plenty felt Fury deserved the nod after 12 rounds, having seemingly outboxed Wilder for the most part, yet Wilder and his supporters point to two heavy knockdowns as an indication he made the greater impression and caused the greater damage on the night.

Since then, Fury has gone through the motions against the likes of Tom Schwarz and Otto Wallin, while Wilder has continued to demonstrate his incredible punch power with one-shot slayings of first Dominic Breazeale and then Luis Ortiz.

Now, with the rematch wonderfully poised, it’s time for them to do it again. It’s time, we hope, for matters to be settled more conclusively. It’s time, also, for the experts to start chiming in with breakdowns and predictions.

First up is Monte ‘Two Gunz’ Barrett, a former heavyweight contender from New York who once shared the ring with Wladimir Klitschko, Hasim Rahman, David Tua, Luis Ortiz, Nikolay Valuev and David Haye. He never boxed Fury or Wilder but came very closer to meeting the former and has monitored the progress of both since ending his own pro career in 2014.

“I was at the first fight between Wilder and Ortiz and I’ve been in the ring with Ortiz so know he’s a beast,” Barrett, 35-11-2 (20), told Boxing News. “Back then I didn’t really believe in Deontay Wilder. I was one of his critics. But when I saw what he did to Ortiz that night it sent chills through my body.

“In the seventh round that boy was out on his feet. All Ortiz had to do was step back, take a deep breath and just go to the body and come back to the head. He just had to do something very simple to win the fight.

“But what Wilder did that night shows me he believes in himself and his power and you cannot teach a man that sort of self-belief and grit. He has to be born with it. The others don’t have it. You can see that now. I’m a Wilder fan now. Wilder can damn near break everybody.

Deontay Wilder
Deontay Wilder breaks Luis Ortiz (Stephanie Trapp/TGB)

“As for Fury, the guy talks junk. He tried getting a fight with me after I beat David Tua (in 2011). I talked to his people, but they were clowns. He’s good for boxing and a big personality and he can fight, but he’s not exciting for a heavyweight. He can’t punch at all. He couldn’t crack an egg.

“Nobody wants to see no wannabe Floyd Mayweather at heavyweight. They want to see people get knocked out, hurt and demolished. He’s doing all that rope-a-dope stuff and he’s got those pretty little fast hands of his, but Christy Martin probably hit harder than him.

“That being said, I respect him as a boxer. I respect anybody who gets in there. But as far as style goes, he is not built for heavyweight boxing. He’s got a big mouth, he’s undefeated, and he’s good for boxing. But I don’t like watching him.”

Though Barrett, now 48, doesn’t enjoy watching Fury go about his work, he will no doubt watch him try to once again defuse Wilder on February 22 in Las Vegas. He believes, too, that Fury must do more than just repeat the clever performance he produced in December 2018 to come away with Wilder’s WBC heavyweight title.

“He lost that fight to Deontay Wilder, no question in my mind,” said Monte. “Wilder is the champ and you cannot expect to pitty-pat the champion and get the benefit of the doubt. He outboxed him a little bit but he got dropped badly – twice – and this is what heavyweights do. They look to go out there and use their size to do damage and erase all doubt.

“Fury didn’t do that. He moved a lot and never looked to make a dent in Wilder, let alone knock him out. Tyson Fury was named after Mike Tyson but fights like your momma.”

Tyson Fury
Fury lands a jab on Wilder in the pair’s first fight