By: Kirk Jackson
Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KO’s) meets “The Gypsy King” Tyson Fury (29-0-1, 20 KO’s) on Feb. 22 in a highly anticipated heavyweight showdown at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas as part of an first-time Fox and ESPN pay-per-view promotion. The two met in the ring once before to a highly disputed draw in 2018 and finally after a little over a year in waiting, the rematch is upon us.
There’s has been a bunch of build-up from both ESPN, Fox, BTSport Boxing, BBC, Sky Sports, Top Rank and Premier Boxing Champions. Both Wilder and Fury for that matter, have talked the talk, making this highly anticipated rematch must see for even the most casual of observers.
Olympian and former multiple-time light heavyweight world champion Antonio Tarver, believes 2020 will be a big year forthe heavyweight division and the Wilder vs. Fury rematch is just the start.
“Now the heavyweight division is on fire bruh. The things that AJ (Anthony Joshua), the things that Wilder and Fury have been doing to really separate themselves as the best – I think that this can possibly be one of the biggest eras of heavyweight boxing when finally the smoke clears and you got one man standing on top,” said Tarver. “Man I think there is going to be some really good interesting stories, some saga and a lot of things going on to get us there. I am just glad that in 2020 it looks like we will finally have an undisputed champion when all the smoke clears. I am excited. Tyson Fury is a beast. Wilder is a beast and AJ is right there.”
As stated earlier regarding the Wilder-Fury rematch, Fury exudes the impression full throttle confidence heading into the biggest fight of his career.
“I look at Wilder and I don’t see a tough fight. I see a long-legged p-ssy that I’m going to break in. A big 6 feet 7 inchesvirgin that ain’t been rodded before. I’m going to bend him over and scuttle him backwards nice and slowly. I will break him in. I am going to give him his first loss. That’s what I’m going to do to Deontay Wilder,” Fury told UK outlet INews.
“The Gypsy King is going to dethrone him, rip his heart out and feed it to him. It’s Las Vegas. I want to put on a show. Wilder is not going to beat me. His power is not going to hurt me. I want a knockout this time. I’d prefer to go down swinging than outbox him and not get the decision.”
“I’m going to make it so that I’m in control and I take it out of anybody’s hands. I’ll step him up until he can’t go anymore, until he is going to quit or he is knocked out.”
Big, bold words from the “Furious One.” Wilder’s general response to Fury regarding his trash talk and mental warfare is the approach that works for Wilder and keeps him in the proper state leading up to this mega fight. “The Bronze Bomber” said that with this being the second go-round with Fury, he’s not believing a single word the impulsive and at time volatile British boxer is saying.
“He’s (Fury) very nervous. He can’t even stand still. He can’t even talk during the press conferences,” said Wilder. “What else is he going to say? We’ve been hearing his s— over and over again. The fight will be interesting though. He’s a great fighter, we’ll give him that. This is the biggest heavyweight fight in the world.”
“He beat Wladimir Klitschko, but never defended the belt because he was playing with his nose [doing drugs]. Nobody really talks about it though,” said Wilder.
“Every time I talk or say something, when I say I want to put a body on my record and kill a man, that s*** just goes all over. But when these guys are [shooting steroids], I’m the only one getting bad mouthed. My name is being dragged in the dirt. It’s not fair. These are the things that I’m talking about. And people don’t want to talk about race. They don’t want to talk about that s***. They want that to die, know what I’m saying? Why am I still talking about it? Because ain’t s*** getting done about it. Now I have a position, and I’m going to keep it. I see it all. I’m a strong-minded person. I have to be.”
It appears Wilder is the more serious of the two; giving off the impression of strict business with his serious demeanor in comparison to Fury.
For many observers and the contingent of Fury fans no matter how venomous the words released from Fury’s tongue are, there is a comedic element to what he says.
Fury’s recent barrage of insults hurled towards Wilder:
“People go on about his knockout power and him being the biggest puncher in heavyweight history, but it’s who you’ve fought that counts”
“Let’s not make any mistakes here, Deontay Wilder has fought 35 stiffs. Honestly, over here in America they call his level of opposition tomato cans.”
“He has only had probably seven competitive fights, where people have actually tried to fight back.”
“The rest were duck-egg dummies, only there to fall over.”
“I’ve always been in fights that I could lose, that’s the difference between me and Wilder. “Over here fighters get built to 20-0 by beating opponents who don’t fight back.”
“Wilder’s KO power and ratio is padded. If you are fighting and knocking out real opposition, that would impress me.”
“But I look at Wilder’s resume and he has fought a few former football players, a few has-beens and a load of bums.”
“The only good man he’s ever faced was me and I beat him after three years out when I was as weak as a robin at 17st 11oz with two shoulders on me like coat hangers, and he still couldn’t beat me.”
Is this brash talk from Fury a measure of gamesmanship or another level of deception? As Wilder alluded to, Fury could be talking the talk and not necessarily be walking the walk.Because there are weak points to dissect and pick apart while analyzing Fury’s rants.
It’d be hard pressed to see Fury’s statements about Wilder’s list of opposition and not balk at “The Gypsy King’s” opponent selection over the past 10 fights or so. No disrespect intended, but Otto Wallin, Sefer Seferi, Tom Schwarz, Francesco Pianeta, Christian Hammer, do not scream “Murderer’s Row.”
The only world level guys Fury faced were Wilder, in which resulted in a draw and against an aging, 39-year-old Wladimir Klitschko. Not that Klitschko was a bad fighter at the time, because he was still champion and still capable.
Speaking of Klitschko, who believes Fury has a great chance of winning, questions the mental health of Fury heading into this rematch. With Fury speaking about retirement, possibly joining the WWE and UFC in recent months, re-upping on coke upon victory this weekend, it’s easy questioning Fury’s mental state.
Regarding back to Fury’s resume, it can be picked apart and critiqued. Especially if we apply the same logic and argumentscomparatively to Wilder and his parallel fights against an older Luis Ortiz – who looked sharper and more youthful in contrastto Klitschko.
Leading up to the rematch and even immediately post fight of their first encounter, a slew of excuses have sprouted from various media outlets, fans and others from Fury’s camp.
Wilder believes all of these changes and recent antics by Fury are being done to create post-fight excuses when he loses the rematch.
Heading into the rematch however, is all this talk false bravadofrom Fury? Because if the fight was clearly won, why is there a need to announce an excuse? That question can be posed to both sides. The first fight was a close encounter, which is what resulted as a draw.
There was not a clear-cut victor. This is why Wilder and Fury are meeting yet again to find out who is the better man inside the ring. But harping back on this bravado and boasting from Fury, if the fight was easily won according to Fury, why the switch in trainers? Why not the immediate rematch? Did the concussion suffered against Wilder affect the decision?
Does changing trainers in this instance, with such a “Dominant win” suggest a lack of confidence from Fury’s corner?
“A lot of stuff that he’s doing is making me feel like he’s setting up an excuse for when he loses. The weight thing – I don’t wanna hear nothing about being out of shape or, ‘He didn’t have enough time to get in shape.’ All these trainers around – I don’t wanna hear when I knock him out that, ‘If he had Ben it would’ve been better.’ I don’t wanna hear no excuses. I already feel like all this stuff that’s going on is going to be bent around as excuses. We’ll see what happens,” Wilder told Tha BoxingVoice, according to The Mirror.
“I don’t think there’ll be a difference with Steward (Fury’s new trainer). It’s similarities to the Dominic Breazeale camp when they added Virgil Hunter. When you have bad habits, it’s hard to correct. Sometimes it takes years to correct bad habits. And it takes even longer when you ain’t used to that, when you ain’t worked with that person.”
The banter from Fury is exactly that. If he believes Wilder to be the clown he designates to be, he will be in for a surprise Saturday night. The switch of trainers, the trash talk, waiting more than a year to rematch Wilder and subsequently fighting two back to back unknown opponents does not necessarily exude the mark of a confident fighter.
Lack of confidence does not mean he cannot win this weekend, but it’s an illustration that even the strongest of combatant, even those gargantuan in size have insecurities.