WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury were ready to go at it earlier on Wednesday in their final press conference for their fight this Saturday, December 1 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Showtime PPV telecast starts at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
(Photo credit: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME)
The undercard is loaded with talent. The fights on card might not be the greatest, but there are some highly talented fighters like Luis ‘King King’ Ortiz, Joe Joyce, Julian ‘J-Rock’ Williams, Chris Arreola, and Mark Anthony Barriga. Those are good fighters. Their opponents on the card are clearly weak B-side guys, but the fights will be interesting enough to let the boxing fans see a little action before the main event starts between Wilder and Fury.
The two were on their best behavior until they got in front of each other for a face off at the end of the press conference. What originally started out as some good-natured verbal jabs at each turned into a shouting match that culminated with teams of the two fighters collapsing forward to keep Wilder and Fury from exchanging punches.
In the middle of it all, Fury tore off his shirt, which seemed to make things worse. It was like pouring gasoline onto a fire. Things looked like they were about to die out until Fury took his shirt off, as if he was ready to slug it out with all comers. That was obviously the wrong thing for Fury to do.
“I’m gonna knock you the f— out, I promise you,” Wilder said to Fury’s face when the two of them stood for the face off.
Fury didn’t say much in response to Wilder’s predictions. Fury was mostly smiling and clowning around, and this seemed to get Wilder hopping mad. I think he wanted Fury to trash talk him back, but he wasn’t interested in doing so.
Whether today’s scuffle at the final press conference by Wilder and Fury was a staged event is difficult to know. Since all big fights now have a perfunctory altercation during the face offs at the final news conference and weigh-in, it’s now considered the norm for these things to take place. If they don’t take place, the boxing fans wonder what’s going on. It looked to this writer that Wilder came into the press conference ready to explode on Fury, who has been chummy with him throughout. The two giant heavyweights like each other, and it’s hard to miss that. Fury is someone that is hard to be mad at, as he doesn’t have an ego, and he’s willing his faults openly. Criticizing Fury for his flaws winds up with him agreeing with the person doing the criticizing. Unlike most fighters, Fury doesn’t take himself seriously.
I think Wilder is very nervous,” Fury said to ESPN. “He felt that he needed to scream and shout at me and do all that sort of stuff to try start a bit of a tussle.”
Wilder needs to sell the fight, and one of doing that is to create buzz by going after Fury at the final press conference. Wilder wants a unification fight against Anthony Joshua, but his promoter Eddie Hearn said that he’s not going to offer him a big purse split for the fight unless the Wilder-Fury fight brings in a lot of PPV buys. Hearn says he’ll give Wilder a 50-50 split if his fight with Fury brings in 1 million buys. That’s going to be a tough task for Wilder to do, considering that Fury isn’t well known with the casual boxing fans in the U.S. The last few weeks, the hype surrounding the Wilder-Fury fight has introduced a lot of casual fans to Fury. They’re now curious and finding out more about him. Wilder exploding on Fury today was a good thing for publicity. Wilder is not British like Fury, so he absolutely needs to bring in a lot of buys for this fight to have a chance of getting the Joshua fight negotiated.
“I’m going to show you domination. I’m going to show you my boxing skill,” Wilder said. “I’m going to beat him, then knock him out. He’s going to have to back up everything he’s said to promote this fight.”