LAS VEGAS – Eddie Hearn prefaced his prediction by noting that Deontay Wilder remains a pulverizing puncher who can change the course of a fight in a split second.
The British promoter still doesn’t give the hard-hitting former WBC heavyweight champion much of a chance to defeat Tyson Fury in their third fight next month. Hearn has entirely too many questions about Wilder’s psyche to believe he can avenge his lopsided loss last year when he faces Fury on July 24 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“I think [Fury will win], but anything can happen,” Hearn told a group of reporters recently. “I mean, I think Wilder is so limited, but hits very hard and he’s always live and can beat anyone, for the fact that he has tremendous power. But he’s so limited, so limited. And I think his confidence must be absolutely shot to pieces because he came out with 642 excuses [for] why he lost the second fight. He now has a completely different training team, and I don’t know what‘s going through his head.”
Hearn is also concerned, though to a lesser degree, that Fury won’t be able to get up for his third pay-per-view fight with Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) following the disappointment of his lucrative showdown with Anthony Joshua falling apart. Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) hoped to challenge Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) in a heavyweight title unification fight August 14 in Saudi Arabia, but an arbitrator ruled May 17 that Fury is contractually obligated to fight Wilder next.
“Listen, Fury may, and I don’t know if you saw John Fury’s interview [recently] – it was quite good,” Hearn said, “where he sort of said, ‘It’s very difficult. You’ve been training for an AJ fight and then, all of a sudden, you’re told in eight weeks you’re fighting this other person that you actually don’t wanna fight, you already beat twice.’ We made that mistake against Andy Ruiz. AJ wanted to tear Jarrell Miller to pieces. And then, when it all fell through, I think we felt that he was invincible at that stage and we looked to the options, we all agreed, ‘Andy Ruiz, great fight. Let’s do it.’ And it was 3½ weeks [away]. And we switched the sparring. And when I look back now, I think, ‘I can’t believe we did that.’
“Whereas now, the good thing AJ’s learned from that is when the Fury fight fell through, rather than making a fight again for end of July or early August, he just wanted a couple of weeks to reset mentally and reset camp. Because you’ve gone from this 6-foot-9, orthodox guy who’s, you know, running around everywhere, to a 6-foot-1 southpaw in Usyk that boxes in a completely different style. So, that’s why the fight will happen a little bit later [probably September 25] … because he says, ‘No, this is a serious fight. I’m not taking this fight and f------ it up. I’m gonna make sure I’ve prepared properly for this fight.’ Whereas Fury’s just gone crash, bang, wallop, straight in. And, you know, it all seems to be happening too quickly. I don’t know.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.