Well that escalated quickly. If you haven’t seen the press conference that descended in to utter madness in a damn hurry, do yourself a favor and check it out. The highly anticipated Heavyweight Championship bout between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury is just days away, and the champ is putting his 40-fight win streak on the line against the Gypsy King himself. Whomever wins earns the right to target Anthony Joshua, but both are using this bout as a platform to legitimize their careers.

Wilder submitted one of the most memorable knockouts in recent memory when he blasted Luis Ortiz in to another universe in March during a fight that was nothing short of a war. That was Wilder’s 7th title defense. He has been the WBC Heavyweight Champion since ripping the belt from Bermane Stiverne in 2015. Ever a fighting champion, Wilder knows that the only way to make a life changing clash with Anthony Joshua ever happen is by outlasting the underdog of underdogs.

Deontay Wilder (40-0) vs. Tyson Fury (27-0)
Saturday, December 1st – Staples Center, Los Angeles – 9pm ET on PPV
Heavyweight Championship Odds: Wilder -205 / Fury +120

Tyson Fury could very well be considered a people’s champion for how much he’s adored by boxing fans across the world. His divisive, likable personality aside, Fury has been on a comeback tour since being stripped of the unified Heavyweight Championship two years ago after a series of personal issues which included addiction. He’s followed up his devastating upset of Wladimir Klitschko and returned to retire Sefer Seferi in the fourth round, while winning a sound fight on points against Francesco Pianeta. Neither of those guys are anywhere near the level of Wilder, but they served their roles as tune-ups that got tuned up.

The lax, easy-going Tyson Fury may still exist outside the ring, but we’ve also seen a jarring physical transformation from the Gypsy King over the last year. He’s most definitely learned from his personal mistakes. His boxing may not be underrated since beating Klitschko, but everyone is undervaluing his mental toughness. The once seemingly sloppy Brit is a tactful strategist in the ring, who bides his time well and has long picked his spots with precision. He’s clearly in the best shape of his life both between bells and between the ears. On paper, Wilder is slightly better than a 1-to-2 favorite, but the odds on Fury giving him a serious run for his money are so tempting given that he ticks so many boxes in the intangibles department.

Even the oddsmakers respect Wilder’s power, favoring “Wilder by KO, TKO or Disqualification” at +125 in the Fight Outcomes prop market for this fight.

The pundits generally favor Deontay Wilder, and for good reason. He is, after all, the champ. Plus he boasts knockout power that has devastated every single one of his opponents outside of his first fight with Stiverne. The type of power that Wilder exhibits is from another planet, and his confidence has never been higher. Even the oddsmakers respect Wilder’s power, favoring “Wilder by KO, TKO or Disqualification” at +125 in the Fight Outcomes prop market for this fight.

Still, Tyson Fury is (literally and figuratively) no small man. He has the finesse to engineer a knockout of his own, and a proven gas tank to get to the later rounds. This is a make-or-break type of bout for Fury as well, and he knows it. He still has to prove his win over Klitschko wasn’t a fluke. There’s so much rehab he still has to go through to reshape a damaged image. This fight would punctuate his renaissance and return him to the top of a mountain he was forced to abandon while battling personal demons two years ago.

A man like Tyson Fury can’t be taken lightly, especially when he has so much on the line. He is as big of an underdog darling as they get, and his value in this fight is obvious. Wilder is a great champion, and the smarter play, but I’m leading with my heart in this one. You can go either way, but it will cost you more to win money on the reigning champ. In the end, there are very few underdogs like Tyson Fury, and I’m more than willing to take my chances with his side of this line.