By: Sean Crose
Well, that was interesting. Things are almost guaranteed to get odd when WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder get within a hundred yards of each other. Perhaps no one, however, could have predicted exactly how strange Tuesday’s press conference to kick off the promotion of Fury-Wilder 3 would be. The bout, which is scheduled to go down on July 24th in Las Vegas, has come about courtesy of arbitration, but there is plenty of bad blood to be found between the two fighters – or at least there’s plenty of bad blood to be found on behalf of Wilder.
The first fight between the two men, which went down in late 2018, was ruled a draw, courtesy of Fury, who had been outboxing his man, hitting the mat twice. The rematch, which went down in early 2020, was completely different from the first bout. Fury was the aggressor this time around, a tactic that proved so effective that Wilder was stopped in the seventh. Since that time, however, Wilder has come out with some frankly strange arguments as to why he lost. Whether it’s saying the costume he wore to the ring was too heavy, or accusing Fury of having suspicious gloves, or outright firing co-trainer Mark Breland for disloyalty, Wilder has indicated the loss to Fury wasn’t really his fault.
This sort of thinking can make for some unusual behavior, and Wilder acted in an unusual fashion on Tuesday. After getting up and briefly indicating that he was going to cut Fury’s head off in July, the man known as the Bronze Bomber remained silent for the remainder of the event. Fury then decided to take the reins of the promotional kickoff himself. “Its shows how weak a mental person he is,” Fury said of Wilder’s silence. “I was worried about Deontay Wilder after the defeat I gave him.”
As for the talk of decapitation, Fury didn’t seem to take it too seriously. “Heard it all before, to be fair,” he said. As for doing the talking for both he and Wilder, Fury couldn’t have been more clear. “I’m here to promote a fight,” he said to the media. Fury also made it a point to try to get inside the head of Wilder’s new trainer, Malik Scott, bringing up the fact that Scott was never a great fighter himself, and the fact that they had sparred together at one time. He’s a master of head games, Fury is, a most nuanced of bullies. Perhaps Wilder’s right in remaining silent, in deciding to let his fists do the talking in July. Either way, the Alabama native is most likely going have to give the performance of a lifetime.
Things wrapped up on Tuesday with a faceoff between the two fighters. It lasted almost five full minutes. A strange affair indeed.
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