Tony Bellew believes Deontay Wilder will knock Tyson Fury out when they meet on Saturday night in LA.
The former WBC cruiserweight champion and two-time heavyweight conqueror of David Haye insists he hopes the British challenger can shock the world, but ultimately thinks America’s ruler will retain his world title.
“When the fight was first made I gave him absolutely no chance,” Bellew admitted to Jim White on talkSPORT, “But the more I’ve seen him, I’ve spoke to him and he’s in fantastic shape. He mentally looks like he’s on it.
“I’ve never wanted to be so wrong in all my life, I really hope he does it. I’m praying for him, I’ll be screaming for him, cheering him on.
“I just hope that inactive three-year period out of the ring doesn’t come back to haunt him. And it could do because an inactive fighter isn’t as effective as he usually would be. It’s tough and worrying going into this fight.
“He’s had two fights back-to-back, but the opposition was absolutely woeful and they in no way, shape or form can get you ready for a man like Deontay Wilder.
“But listen, if anyone can, Tyson Fury can.”
Regarding the bout itself, the Scouser proclaimed that Fury can get on top if he makes it through Wilder’s dangerous early spell.
The WBC king finished all of his first 32 bouts inside the first four rounds and is now 40-0 with 39 KOs.
“If he gets past three or four rounds, then this fight can be a real tussle,” Bellew continued, “He can make his weight advantage count, he can make himself awkward.
“I believe he could exhaust him, but it would be very hard to see him knocking Deontay Wilder out with one punch.
“Deontay Wilder’s got a fantastic chin and is also a very fit fighter himself.”
When pushed for a final prediction, Tony Bellew insisted that he does see a way in which Tyson Fury could win.
However, Deontay Wilder remains firm favourite in his mind due to his recent form, activity and power-punching ability.
“Do I think he [Fury] can do it? Absolutely yes, I think he can make a fool of Deontay Wilder and outbox him.
“Yes, he can do that, but do I think he will? I’m not so sure.
“I just think at some in this fight he’s gonna get caught with that big right hand.
“You put a gun to my head and I’m gonna have to say Deontay Wilder by knockout, but my heart’s saying Tyson Fury can get this done.”