By Keith Idec
LOS ANGELES – Tyson Fury feels even Deontay Wilder’s nickname indicates his mindset is to be one of the best heavyweights in boxing, not the best.
Fury has ridiculed Wilder for boasting about winning a bronze medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. The gigantic Brit contends he would’ve thrown that bronze medal in the garbage had he won it.
The 30-year-old Fury owned more important hardware once he upset Wladimir Klitschko three years ago. He never defended the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles because he temporarily retired after seeking treatment for alcoholism, cocaine addiction and depression.
The lineal heavyweight champion can win the one heavyweight crown he hasn’t held by beating Wilder for his WBC title Saturday night at Staples Center.
“I’m here to be the best,” Fury said. “If I can’t be the best, then I don’t wanna be the rest. Second place ain’t for me, and third place definitely ain’t for me. But Deontay Wilder is happy to come in the top three. That’s why he calls himself ‘The Bronze Bomber,’ because of his bronze medal in the Olympics. I’d throw that bronze medal in the bin because I didn’t win the gold.
“So for me, it’s about being the best, number one. For other fighters, it’s just about being on the podium, being in the top three. So if he can mix it with the big boys and be mentioned with the best, then no problem.”
Wilder lost to Italy’s Clemente Russo at the 2008 Summer Olympics and settled for a bronze medal.
The Tuscaloosa, Alabama, native’s nickname isn’t merely homage to his Olympic experience. It also alludes to Joe Louis because “The Brown Bomber” was born and raised in Alabama before the legendary heavyweight champion moved to Detroit when he was an adolescent.
The 33-year-old Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) and the 30-year-old Fury (27-0, 19 KOs) will headline a four-fight Showtime Pay-Per-View event ($74.99 in HD).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.