Tomorrow night from Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena, streaming live on ESPN+, Tyson Fury returns in the main event against Otto Wallin.
Our staffers make their picks.
Otto Wallin seems like an incredibly nice guy and I’m not mad that he’s getting his crack at Tyson Fury. He’s had a couple of rough breaks in 2019, as he’s looked to break out in the US. His first fight on Showtime in April was a no-contest after one round due to an accidental headbutt, and then when he was slated to get another shot on Showtime, the commission in Washington wouldn’t allow opponent BJ Flores to fight.
Wallin is going to try his best here, and at 6’5” and as a southpaw, he has some qualities you have to like on paper. But Fury is 6’9”, will have an eight-inch reach advantage, and he’s Tyson Fury — when he’s on his game, and Tyson’s on his game these days, I don’t think there’s a heavyweight in the world other than Deontay Wilder with his shocking power who really has much of a chance at beating Fury. I expect Fury to come out and dominate much as he did with Tom Schwarz in June. Maybe he’ll box safe and take it the distance, but if he feels Wallin can’t do anything with him, he’ll look to close the show so that Joe Tessitore can scream his head off about “entertainment” and “lineal.” Fury TKO-5
Oh look, Tyson Fury is in against another obscure fighter for the fourth time in his last five fights. Now, understanding that Fury had battled some personal demons which caused him to be away from the sport for a couple of years, I thought it was perfectly fine and reasonable for him to take a couple of tune-up fights. After that he went into a big fight against Deontay Wilder, a fight I scored for him on the cards, though he officially only wound up with a draw. But with as good as Fury looked (for the most part) in that fight, it seemed like he was ready and able to keep things in high gear. Unfortunately he’s since jumped way back down the competition ladder for a fight against Tom Schwarz over the summer and now Otto Wallin.
Underwhelming would probably be an understatement here.
So what’s the deal with Fury? At age 31, and with his personal life seemingly in order, nobody really wants to watch Fury waste his best years fighting opponents that don’t move the needle. If you ask Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn, he’ll tell you it’s because Top Rank overpaid for Fury’s services so much that they don’t have the budget to bring in a real credible opponent on their ESPN platform. Whether or not there’s any validity to that statement, the fan inside me really doesn’t care. This fight should be another one Fury wins easily, and God willing we’ll finally get to the Deontay Wilder rematch without any more delays. Fury UD-12
Patrick L. Stumberg
I feel like the best way to objectively look at a mismatch like this, as opposed to just going “one guy is way the hell better than the other guy,” is to ask yourself what the underdog offers that could conceivably trouble the favorite. In this case, the answer is “not much.” Wallin is a functional, technically sound southpaw without a single perceivable X-factor that could drag Fury out of cruise control.
As with Tom Schwarz, the point of intrigue isn’t whether Fury will win, but whether he’ll extend himself in pursuit of the finish. Personally, I think Wallin’s good enough to at least survive longer than Schwarz. Fury TKO-7
Hand-picked Wallin is the perfect opponent for Tyson Fury at this stage of his career. 6ft 6”, unbeaten, English-speaking and ranked with the WBA – the big Swedish southpaw will provide the ‘Gypsy King’ the perfect opportunity to build his American fanbase ahead of the Wilder rematch. That’s all this fight will end up manifesting into. Fury putting on a show over Mexican Independence Day Weekend with an eye to blast Wallin out of there within the first half of the fight. Wallin is too stiff and too slow to give someone with the frame and agility of Fury any problems.
I can’t imagine we will learn anything from inside the T-Mobile Arena this weekend. Patience with Fury’s opposition will soon wear thin, with Last December’s Wilder bout acting as the meat in the middle of an underwhelming sandwich of fights since his return. Fury TKO-4