Bradley: The keys to victory for Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder

Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder fight for the third time on Saturday in Las Vegas, with the WBC heavyweight title and the lineal championship on the line (ESPN+ PPV, 9 p.m. ET). The first time they fought, Wilder knocked Fury down twice, in Round 9 and Round 12. But after Fury got back to his feet both times, the judges scored the fight a split draw.

The rematch was an entirely different story. Fury walked Wilder down, battered him, and one of Wilder’s cornermen threw in the towel, giving Fury a seventh-round TKO victory and handing Wilder his first career loss.

Ahead of the trilogy fight, ESPN analyst and two-division world champion Timothy Bradley Jr. breaks down key moments from both fights and projects potential difference-makers for Fury-Wilder 3.

The way that Fury pushed the issue with Wilder in their second fight reminded me a lot of what Muhammad Ali did to Ken Norton the second time around. In their first fight, Ali gave up a little bit too much real estate and Norton ended up winning because of his pure aggression, standing on top of Ali and pushing him back. Ali tried to dance around, but Norton was just too strong.

In their rematch Ali came out and decided he’s going to impose his will. He stuck his flag in the center of the ring and said he wasn’t going to back up too often. He’s going to find his spots and move only when he has to. Telling Norton, “You’re gonna know that I’m here.” That’s how he was able to get that victory.

A lot of people say you shouldn’t follow a puncher around, that you shouldn’t go after a puncher. But Norton-Ali 2 and Wilder-Fury 2 proved otherwise. Fury did the right thing by stepping on the gas, and he surprised Wilder — backed him up and put him on his back foot.

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