By Charles Brun: Andre Ward thinks it would be wise for Tyson Fury to delay his scheduled February 22 rematch with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder until a little later next year. Ward wants heavyweight lineal champion Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs) to have more time for his damaged right eye to heal before he faces Wilder a second time. But get this: Ward doesn’t believe that Fury’s damaged right eye will ever be the same again.

This is how it goes in sports. Once the injuries start, it’s all downhill from there. Who can forget the great football quarterback Joe Namath. Once his knees went, he was never the same.  He still had a great arm, but his mobility was gone.

That’s bad news for Fury is he has to face the most devastating puncher in all of boxing next in Deontay Wilder . He’s vowing to reopen up Fury’s cut straightaway.

Should the fight have been stopped after first cut?

Fury suffered a huge cut last Saturday night against Otto Wallin in Las Vegas, Nevada. The cut needed 47 stitches to close. That’s a lot of stitches for any fighter, but what makes thing worse for Fury is he’s signed to face in just five months. The fight should have arguably been stopped as soon Fury was cut in the third round by Wallin.

It’s unknown many extra stitches Fury needed due to the fight not being stopped after the first cut. Maybe it would have been far fewer, but we jut can’t know. What Ward is saying is Fury’s eye will never be the same. That’s not good.  Fury’s promoter Bob Arum doesn’t want to wait and delay the rematch. He still wants to let Fury fight Wilder on February 22. This could go badly for Fury if he’s cut again, and has to fight with one eye.  Poor Fury. Whatever chance he had of winning the rematch with Wilder, it may have gone out the window.

Ward wants Fury’s eye to have time to heal

“It’s never going to be the same, but it’s going to be better,” said Ward to Max on Boxing. “The scar tissue will have formed, and he won’t have the softness and the redness around his eye that he would have if he tried to come back too soon, because we don’t want any excuses.

Both guys feel like they got jobbed in the first fight. Wilder feels like it wasn’t a draw. Fury feels like he eked it out. We don’t want that kind of conversation after the rematch. Give the eye time to heal. Take a couple of extra months so we can give the fans, and the media what they want to see in the rematch.

Ward: Wilder has too much power to be hitting on Fury’s recently cut eye

“I’ve been screaming about the rematch as much as anybody,” said Ward about the Wilder vs. Fury rematch. “The fighters need it for their legacy, but I’m not as optimistic as a lot of people right now who are saying the cut is a foregone conclusion. Tyson is going to get cleared. That cut took 47 stitches. He may be cleared by a Commission, but that cut is going to be soft, and it’s going to be red.

You’re going up against probably the hardest puncher in boxing in Deontay Wilder. That’s not a guy that you want hitting on that eye that just got cut several months prior. Personally, even though it’s not ideal, and even though it makes people wait even longer, I would like to see this fight pushed back a little bit more just to make sure Tyson Fury’s eye is ready to go. It’s never going to be perfect,” said Ward.

It doesn’t look like it’s in Fury’s hands whether to delay the Wilder rematch or not. Top Rank Boxing promoter Bob Arum is calling the shots, and he wants the rematch in February. It doesn’t look good for Fury. Ideally, Fury should be able to speak with Arum to get him to postpone the Wilder rematch until October or November 2020. By that time, Fury’s eye should be as good as it ever will be. But as Ward says, Fury’s will never be the same. What a shame.