Wilder And Fury Trade Barbs At Press Conference
By: Sean Crose
“Everyone came together,” said Todd DeBuff during a Monday press conference in Las Angeles to kick off the pre fight hype for February’s heavyweight title rematch between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder. The bout came together when PBC, Top Rank, ESPN and Fox Sports decided to work in tandem, making the press conference – and the Febrary 22nd rematch – a possibility. Fury came out, tossed a chair in favor of a chair he apparently found more suitable, then danced to hip hop, all while wearing a colorful suit and a green baseball turned backward.
Wilder, on the other hand, smoothly sauntered onto the stage with the WBC belt casually flung over his shoulder. Both men jawed during the subsequent standoff which, frankly, is now part of their routine. “This fight here, this is one of those fights that you don’t want to miss,” said Fury’s trainer, Javan “Sugar” Hill. “On February 22nd, the score will be settled.” Rather than smack talk, the veteran trainer became somewhat thoughtful. “The division has changed a bit,” he said. “It’s an incredible time for boxing to have all these guys here…making the heavyweight division again what it used to be.”
Hill’s fighter, Fury, was at first a bit more subdued than usual. Still, the man had things he wanted to say. “I can’t remember a bigger heavyweight fight in a long time,” he stated. “Maybe Lennox Lewis versus Mike Tyson.” Fury then brought up the enormity of the matchup. “For the first time in my boxing career,” he said. “I don’t need to sell a fight.” Fury being Fury, he had to take a shot at Wilder. “Deontay Wilder hasn’t been returning my calls,” he said, “or messages or texts after I beat him last time.” Not that Wilder didn’t have his own things to say.
“I can’t wait,” the Alabama native told the gathered media. Like Fury, Wilder feels he won their first showdown. “I knocked him out the first time,” he said of his opponent. “This time around, it’s a different story. This time around, it’s called unfinished business.” Wilder then went on to criticize Fury for frequently changing trainers. “Why so many trainers?” he asked rhetorically. “Still to this day, I’ve got the same people.” Wilder also referenced Fury’s foray into pro wrestling. “No belt on him,” said Wilder, “than the one that holds his pants up now.”
“When you have power there’s no way around it,” he added. “You can’t prepare for that.” Fury, of course, disagreed. “I’m going to be super slippery,” the Englishman declared during the Q&A portion of the card.” Fury then went on to state he wants to make the fight a war. “If I’m stupid enough to get hit by that big stupid right hand, then I deserve to get knocked out,” he said. “I want to meet him head on. Let’s make it a Tommy Hearns-Marvin Hagler type of fight.”
“You’re going to sleep into rounds,” he said to Wilder, who responded that Fury didn’t believe his own words.
There was a second faceoff, then the two fighters shook hands.