Deontay Wilder didn’t yell “Bomb Squad” on Tuesday, like he had done during every pre-fight press conference in recent years.
The former WBC heavyweight champion didn’t say much of anything, actually, other than his brief remarks when he stepped to the podium at The Novo by Microsoft at L.A. Live in Los Angeles. Wilder refused to answer any questions from moderator Crystina Poncher during the press conference to promote his ESPN/FOX Sports pay-per-view main event versus Tyson Fury on July 24 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“I asked him about answering questions,” Poncher explained to Malik Scott, Wilder’s new head trainer. “He said, ‘The talking is done. It’s just time to do business and to put in work.’ ”
The 35-year-old Wilder instead listened to music from his headphones and bobbed his head as the press conference unfolded. England’s Fury took Wilder’s silence and indifference as an opportunity to question the knockout artist’s psyche 15 months after Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) stopped him in the seventh round of their rematch at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
“It shows how weak of a mental person he is and how much of the beatin’ from the last fight has took an emotional, physical effect on his life,” Fury said. “I was worried about Deontay Wilder for quite a while, um, after the defeat that I gave him. And obviously he’s doing his little thing with his earphones on, and doesn’t wanna answer any questions. That’s up to him, but I’m here to promote a fight and talk to the press, the way I always do. So, if Deontay Wilder doesn’t wanna commit to this press conference, let’s me take Deontay Wilder’s part. So, I’ll play double character, if you want. Yeah, I’m quite good at doing these role-playing stuff. So, I’ll be Deontay Wilder and I’ll be Tyson Fury, and we’ll play a little game.”
Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) offered a wide range of excuses following Fury’s convincing victory in February 2020. The Tuscaloosa, Alabama, native contended that the 40-plus-pound costume he wore for his long ring walk impacted his performance, accused Fury of doctoring his gloves before their rematch and suggested that “disloyal” former assistant trainer Mark Breland conspired with Fury’s team.
Wilder fired Breland after the former WBA welterweight champion threw a towel into the ring during the seventh round to prevent Wilder from taking more punishment. Fury had knocked Wilder to the canvas twice, once apiece in the third and fifth rounds, before the stoppage.
Scott, a retired heavyweight Wilder knocked out in the first round seven years ago, stated that stubbornness prevented Wilder from answering questions at the press conference.
“Well, number one, he’s very stubborn,” Scott said. “You know what I mean? Even though he’s rededicated his life and everything to the craft, he’s very stubborn. But like most legends or like most gifted people, they have they things with them. Like even Fury, he has his things with him. A lot of people think he’s crazy. Most people that are like that – Marvin Gaye is one of my favorite artists of all time, musician-wise. He had his thing with him. Michael Jackson, he’s got … these people have they thing with them. But what I do – as long Deontay give me what I want in the gym, as long as he give me what I’m asking for when he’s sparring, I don’t care about the stubbornness. As long as we gonna get this work done, because we got a big task ahead and it’s my job and his job to make sure it get done.”
Earlier in the press conference, Wilder indicated that he wouldn’t have much to say Tuesday.
“I’d love to thank my lord and savior, Jesus Christ,” Wilder said. “I’d like to thank my amazing team. And I’d like to thank my strong legal team as well. Look, enough said. Time to cut off his head. And come July the 24th, there will be bloodshed. Get your tickets now. I’ll see you soon.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.