By Keith Idec
Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury finally admitted during a press conference Wednesday what was fairly obvious since they began their three-day, three-city media tour Monday in London.
There isn’t any genuine animosity among these huge heavyweights as they head toward their Showtime Pay-Per-View showdown December 1 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. They actually like each other, which isn’t typically the tact taken when opponents promote a pay-per-view fight.
“I like him a little bit, just a little bit,” a smiling Wilder said as he sat on stage at The Novo at LA Live in Los Angeles. “Just a little bit.”
Fury took their mutual admiration even a step further.
“I don’t like him – I love him,” Fury said. “I love the guy, but I just wanna rip them plaits out of his hair for some reason. I don’t know why, but I’ve been thinking about it for a couple of days. I just wanna grab ‘em and pull ‘em out.”
Showtime’s Jim Gray asked Fury how he would be able to “flip the switch” come fight night, when it’s so clear they respect and like one another.
“Listen, it’s a fight,” Fury explained. “We can do all this stuff on stage. I can walk around here and I can talk as good as any man in the country. But when it comes to the actual fight, it’s gonna be a hell of a fight. Deontay Wilder, massive puncher. Me, skillful boxer. It’s gonna be an epic night, you know? Like he said before, this is a legacy fight and I do believe that’s true. And after I beat him, I’m gonna get him to hire me as his publicist. Because I do believe I’ll promote Deontay Wilder back to being heavyweight champion of the world in no time.
“But it’s no shame in losing to me, because I am the greatest boxer of my generation. And I can’t be beat, especially not by him. No disrespect to him, but him, another three men or another 50 others like him could never beat ‘The Gypsy King.’ There’s been many, many fighters before like Deontay Wilder, but there’s never been a Tyson Fury before in the history of boxing. I know that because I’ve studied the game and I know there’s never been another Tyson Fury before – ever – or anyone even remotely close.”
Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs), of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Fury (27-0, 19 KOs), of Manchester, England, eventually got in each other’s faces Wednesday, just as they had done Tuesday in New York and Monday in London. They even exchanged shoves before they were separated by a large group of people on stage.
What they said earlier in the press conference, however, was an indication that those theatrics were all just an obligatory portion of promoting their 12-round fight for Wilder’s WBC heavyweight title.
“What I respect about Tyson Fury is he’s great for the heavyweight division,” Wilder said. “You know, he’s charismatic, he can talk. As you can see, I’ve got a great dancing partner. Like I said, he’s fearless in the ring. He’s got a background in boxing in his blood. He’s named after Mike Tyson. All that is great, you know? It’s great that he’s from another country. He’s not of the same country, so you get to see different cultures, different personalities from the two. You’ve got one from America and you’ve got one from Great Britain.
“So that, even more, [is] gonna make it more pleasurable for me when I knock him out, to be able to – all this adds up, you know? This is exciting for me and I can’t wait. So I’m telling him, ‘Welcome to L.A.’ It already seems like he visited one of the dispensaries because he don’t understand what I’m saying when I say I’m gonna knock him out.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.