Wilder v Fury predictions: George Foreman believes the American to win but boxing greats are split

Deontay Wilder
Deontay Wilder v Tyson Fury
Venue: Staples Center, Los Angeles Date: Saturday, 1 December (local) Time: From 04:00 GMT on Sunday, 2 December
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app

Two-time world heavyweight champion George Foreman believes Deontay Wilder will overcome Tyson Fury in a bout which has divided some of boxing's biggest names.

Wilder, 33, will put his WBC heavyweight title on the line at Los Angeles' Staples Center on Saturday - roughly 04:30 GMT on Sunday in the UK.

Many pundits see Fury's best chance being a points win, with Wilder posing the greater threat of a knockout.

"I can see Fury going 12 rounds with Wilder because of his height and reach," said Foreman. "I think Wilder wins a close decision."

Who do you think will win? Send your predictions to #bbcboxing.

A £70,000 bet and Tyson gives Tyson a chance

Former world middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders has shared footage of himself apparently staking £70,000 on 30-year-old Fury in the bout, which will be broadcast on BBC Radio 5 live.

The bout has split experts on whether Fury - in just his third fight since returning to the sport having battled depression and served a backdated doping ban during more than two and a half years away - can inflict a first defeat of Wilder's career.

Two-time heavyweight champion Mike Tyson said: "Although Wilder's punch is strong, nothing can compare to the mental strength Fury has shown both in and out of the ring. It'll be a close call, but I think Fury's got a true fighting chance."

Events during fight week included Fury and Wilder clashing at a heated news conference. The incident only served to add further intensity to a contest which has been billed as the biggest heavyweight bout on US soil since Lennox Lewis overcame Vitali Klitschko at the same venue in 2003.

"If it goes the distance then it belongs to Tyson Fury," said Lewis. "If it's a short fight it will belong to Deontay Wilder. This is an epic and most unpredictable showdown. I can't wait for this fight."

Lennox Lewis
Lennox Lewis won 41 of his 44 professional fights and held versions of the world heavyweight title from 1992-1994, 1997-2001 and then from 2001 until his retirement in early 2004

Wilder boasts 39 knockouts from his 40 wins and Fury, who has won all 27 of his professional contests, has stated his opponent is possibly the hardest punching heavyweight of all time.

Those backing the American say that while public perception may focus on an occasionally erratic technique, there is no fighter better at closing out a bout when they have their opponent hurt.

His last opponent, Cuba's Luis Ortiz, said: "It's all up to Wilder. If Fury decides he wants to come to the middle of the ring and fight, then it's going to be over quick. Wilder is going to catch him. Prediction: Wilder by KO."

Riddick Bowe, who held world titles at heavyweight between 1992 and 1995, expects Wilder to win with "ease" via a knockout.

And former US heavyweight Gerry Cooney warned Fury he is "barking up the wrong tree" in facing Wilder, describing the American as "a different kind of beast" who will win "inside four or five rounds".

'This is not boxer v KO artist' - analysis

BBC Radio 5 live boxing analyst Steve Bunce

It has to be a fluid boxing, skilful, tactical Tyson Fury if he is to win. However, and this is something people ignore, what if Wilder wants to jab and not commit? Tyson Fury is committed to Wilder over-committing. What if Wilder doesn't play ball? What if he thinks 'I'll throw some jabs and not chase him?' That's interesting.

This is not fighter v puncher, boxer v KO artist. It is far more.

BBC boxing correspondent Mike Costello

This theme that Wilder can't box - look back 10 years ago and he won bronze at the Olympic Games. He reached the semi-finals three years after taking up the sport. He lost to an Italian who in the previous round had beaten Oleksandr Usyk, a man who graced us with a superb display against Tony Bellew this month.

You can't compile that form if you are just a slugger.

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